I know, you are thinking we’ve been there done that with this. When I posed the question on facebook about whether to breastfeed or bottle feed your infant I didn’t realize how often it comes up with new moms. So how do you decide what to do?
1. Research, not too much though. Knowledge is power but sometimes people educate themselves so much with what I like to refer to as “book knowledge” that they loose their common sense.
2. Poll for opinions. You’ve heard the old saying, “opinions are like butt-holes, everyone has one” (LOL, I love that it’s my blog and I could use that phrase. It makes me giggle every time.) Ask people, ask your own mother, your sister, friends. Ask the nursing staff. They see a lot of babies. You will find a broad spectrum of answers.
3. Go with your gut. If your gut is telling you that your baby would do better bottle feeding, then do it. If your gut tells you that YOU would do better bottle feeding your baby. Do it!
There are three things I don’t want you to do.
1. DON’T ask lactation! If you need help with breastfeeding then ask them for help but if you want their opinion on the best way to feed. Don’t ask. If everyone bottle fed their baby then surely these gals would be out of a job. Although some of them would tell you very honestly that if your babies blood sugar is low or your baby is loosing a lot of weight quickly that you would be better off to supplement with some formula after you breastfeed.
2. DON’T feel like if you give a little formula that you won’t ever be able to breastfeed. No baby is gonna want a cold rubber nipple with formula over a warm, soft mommy with sweet breast milk. (unless you are my baby and then you LOVE formula cause you’ll never get breast milk.)
3. DON’T feel guilty!
So, you’ve taken the steps, made the decision and you decide to BOTTLE FEED! J Now what? Are all formula’s created equal? How will your baby take to the bottle. The good news is that now days all formula’s are made to be as similar to breast milk as possible. The FDA regulates how little and how much of the essential nutrients that babies need that the companies must put in the formula. Some companies are adding DHA and ARA to their formulas. These are essential Omega-3 Fatty Acids found in breast milk. The companies state that adding DHA and ARA to the formula help infant eyesight and brain development. Do I have an opinion as to which kind is best? Well OF COURSE I do. I feed probably no less than 6-8 babies a week at my job. Of the formula’s that are used Nestle Goodstart is my current favorite due to the whey protein they use. It is made to break down into smaller pieces and are easier for your baby to digest. Typically with babies we have that are bottle feeding for the night with Goodstart are less spitty than those taking Similac and Enfamil.
Bonding with a baby who is bottle fed is the same as bonding with a baby who is breastfed. You can still do skin to skin. Hold the baby against your skin when you feed her. Open up your shirt and allow baby that close sensation. This helps your newborn learn to regulate her own temperature, feel and smell you and is all around comforting to them. Always hold your baby when you are feeding it a bottle. Never prop the bottle. I am guilty of doing it and it seems so easy to hurry and do the dishes while the baby eats but you are not only depriving yourself and baby from some very important snuggle and bonding time you are also putting your baby at risk for choking, ear infections, and tooth decay. Take it slow and don't always feed baby on the same side. Don't rush the feeding. Sometimes with bottle feeding babies eat much faster than a breastfed baby. If you take it slow you can enjoy the parent/infant bonding. Feeding baby on different sides allows baby to develop muscles on both sides and to see the world from a different perspective.Enjoy these first few weeks with baby. Before you know it she will be holding her bottle independently and you will be missing all the snuggles and bonding you had before. They get big so fast. No matter how you feed your baby take time to smell the baby lotion.