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Do you think you’re totally on top of the breastfeeding vs. formula feeding debate? Have you researched all your options thoroughly, and think you can tell fact from fiction?
Test your smarts with our Fact or Fiction: Breastfeeding & Formula Feeding Quiz!
Breastfeeding is the best way for Mom and baby to bond.
There are lots of ways for moms and babies to bond, no matter how baby’s fed! Close cuddling, talking to your baby during a feed, making eye contact, and gentle touch are all great ways for you to bond with your baby during a feeding, whether you’re breastfeeding or formula feeding. What matters is that you’re spending one-on-one time with your baby, providing nourishment and comfort.
It can take several days for your milk to come in once your baby’s born.
On average, it takes 3 to 4 days for most moms to get their milk in after their baby is born, but it can take longer. Until your milk comes in, your baby is getting rich colostrum, which is all he needs in the first few days of life. Newborn stomachs are tiny, only about the size of a cherry for the first few days, so frequent feeding is completely normal and not a sign that you aren’t producing enough milk. For a good indication of whether your baby is receiving enough nutrition, focus on the amount of wet and dirty diapers produced daily (6 or more wet diapers per day after Day 4 and 3-4 dirty diapers per day after Day 4), as well as whether your baby regains birth weight by 10 to 14 days after birth.
You shouldn’t mix breastfeeding and bottle or formula feeding, as it can cause nipple confusion.
Babies can successfully be fed from a combination of breast and bottle with little issue. Whether you’re supplementing with formula, or need to pump breast milk and have your baby fed from a bottle, making sure bottle feeding sessions closely mimic breastfeeding sessions is one of the main ways to help make the transitions easier. Hold your baby in the same position as you would when breastfeeding, and switch sides part way through feeding a bottle. Because the tongue and jaw are in different positions for bottle feeding than they are for breastfeeding, some babies can come to prefer one type of nipple over another. If possible, delay introducing a bottle until the breastfeeding relationship is solidly established and your baby has learned a comfortable latching technique.
Frequent feeding or fussiness is a sign that my baby isn’t getting enough milk from me.
Babies nurse frequently for a variety of reasons.
Based on your baby’s age, frequent feeding could mean your baby is experiencing a growth spurt, teething, has gas or other intestinal issues, or just needs some extra comfort. Frequent feeding alone isn’t a sign that there’s anything wrong with the amount of milk your baby is getting.
If you really are concerned about your baby’s frequent feeding, or your baby’s diaper output has declined, contact your pediatrician or a lactation specialist to do a weighted feed. Your baby will be weighed before he’s fed, then again immediately after to give an idea of how much milk he is receiving.
Formula doesn’t have the complete nutrition my baby requires.
Modern formulas are designed with babies’ specific nutritional needs in mind. There are even special formulas for specific dietary needs, such as sensitive stomach or lactose-free.
As long as your baby isn’t overly fussy and is growing and reaching milestones according to your doctor’s recommendations, that’s a good sign that he’s getting all the nutrients he needs from formula or breast milk.
I can still drink caffeine and eat spicy foods if I’m breastfeeding.
For the most part, what Mom eats isn’t going to have that big of an impact on the baby, as food undergoes a lot of digestion before it becomes breast milk. However, if you notice your baby is more fussy or gassy after you’ve eaten certain meals, or after you’ve had a few cups of coffee, it may be a good idea to discuss with your doctor a plan of limiting or eliminating certain foods to see if that makes a difference.
Exclusively breastfed, exclusively formula-fed, or a mixture of both, it doesn’t matter - What matters most is that my baby is fed and loved.
As long as you’re listening to your baby’s needs, following doctor’s recommendations, and doing what works best for your family’s lifestyle, your baby can grow healthy and strong on breast milk, formula, or a mixture of both!