Bottle or breast?

Bottle or breast?

Breastfeed if you can. Breast milk has wonderful immune factors to lessen infections and doctor's visits. Breast milk may even helps other conditions such as asthma, diabetes, obesity, and spitting up. You'll also lose your baby weight faster and decrease your risk for breast, ovarian and uterine cancers.

In those first days after birth, put the baby to the breast often to help your milk come in. The baby isn't going to take much because his stomach is only the size of a small marble. Let the skin-to-skin contact help stimulate your flow and enjoy bonding with your baby.

Breastfeeding can be challenging for some moms. Try not to give up. Ask for help if you need it–from your husband, partner, lactation nurse or baby's doctor. Not all babies are good feeders and there may be solutions that others can assist you with. 

Breastfeed as long as you like. I recommend at least 6 months if possible. The longer you continue, the more you may help to reduce allergies and increase the baby's intellectual and social development.

 Make sure you eat fish 2-3 times a week to increase your supply of DHA, a type of omega 3 fatty acid that will cross to the baby. DHA optimizes the baby's brain and visual development, beginning in the last trimester of pregnancy through the second year of life. Avoid fish with high levels of mercury, like swordfish, tilefish, king mackerel, shark . If you're allergic to fish, you can take DHA supplements or get it from other DHA-enriched sources (eggs, for example).

Continue your prenatal vitamins and consider taking extra vitamin D<<how much?>> You can also give your baby vitamin D drops. Unless you are taking high levels of vitamin D yourself <<how high>>, the baby won't be getting enough from breast milk.

Don't let all of the emphasis on breastfeeding cause any guilt if you are unable to breastfeed or choose not to. Infant formulas are quite healthy. They are designed to be just like breast milk.

Watch for early hunger cues. Like when your baby is smacking his lips, sucking or rooting for your breast. It's much easier to initiate a feeding before the baby is crying with hunger.

Neither breast nor bottle fed babies need to have a rigid feeding schedule. Nor do they need to finish a bottle just because you prepared it. Overfeeding can make the baby uncomfortable or cause spitting up.

What to Feed Your Baby is a ready resource if your baby isn't tolerating breast milk or the formula you started. The book will help you sort through all those formulas confusing you on the grocery aisles and it will answer your questions about when and how to begin infant foods. And as the subtitle, Cost-Conscious Nutrition for Your Infant, indicates, What to Feed Your Baby will can save money for families.