Feeding: Breast, Bottle, or Both?
Although breastfeeding has the upside of passing your antibodies on to your baby, a formula-fed baby will still grow and thrive without this benefit. Of course breastfeeding is natural, healthy and optimal, so it would be wonderful if we lived in a world where it was easy for everyone to do so; but let’s be honest: There are obstacles and road blocks (like work schedules, health complications and a rare inability to produce milk), that can sometimes make breastfeeding impossible. As long as you make the decision based on what best fits your lifestyle and ultimately benefits your baby, there’s no need for guilt or shame.
No matter what you decide to feed the baby:
- Feeding skin-to-skin will benefit your newborn’s development and help to foster an emotional bond – whether the milk is coming from a breast or a bottle, a man or a woman.
- Follow your baby’s lead on how much he or she wants.
- When your baby momentarily takes a break and unlatches, allow them to suckle on your breast or a bottle before ending the feeding session.
- Your baby will most likely have growth spurts between 7 and 10 days, 3 to 6 weeks and 3 to 6 months. He or she will want to eat more often, and it’s important to oblige. Don’t worry, his or her normal eating pattern will resume soon enough.
- Make sure that your baby is frequently burped during and after a feeding. Find whichever way works best for your baby, but the most common burping methods are:
- Over your shoulder
- With the baby belly-down on your lap
- Sitting him or her upright in your lap while supporting his or her chin
Wanting to switch from the breast to the bottle
The beginning of breastfeeding can be trying for sure, and many women contemplate throwing in the towel (especially when extreme exhaustion and baby blues are thrown in the mix.) If the thought of continuing feels impossible, know that the beginning breastfeeding bumps are almost always smoothed by six weeks, and being in contact with a local lactation consultant and/or support group can be monumentally helpful. However, if you still decide to quit after giving it a go, make whatever decision feels right for you and your family.
5 Tips to Reduce Milk Production:
If you’re opting out of breastfeeding, you’ll once again experience the joys of engorgement until your body takes the hint to stop producing milk. To cope during this uncomfortable time:
- Apply cold compresses, either with cold cabbage leaves or a cold gel pack.
- Do not pump. The more milk your body releases, the more it will make.
- Do not bind your breasts. Keep circulation flowing with a well-fitting, supportive bra (most likely in a much bigger size than normal). Binding your breasts could lead to a painful breast infection or clogged milk ducts.
- Reduce swelling with ice for 15 minutes, 3-4 times a day. Check with your doctor about taking ibuprofen or another pain reliever.