One of the most important things that you need to decide is how you are going to feed your child. You can either choose to feed your child breast milk or formula. Breast milk is the best choice for your child, but sometimes this choice is taken from you by either your body or your child’s needs. As long as your child is getting fed the right amount and thriving, it does not ultimately matter which option you choose as long as your child is getting the adequate nutrition. As a newborn, your child’s sole source of nutrition will come from either one of these options.
It is widely considered that breast milk is the best option for your child. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that a baby should be fed breast milk exclusively for the first 6 months of their life. As amazing as this option is for your child, sometimes it is just not possible. Some women do not actually produce enough milk to give their newborn the food that it needs. Some babies have problems latching on and cannot learn to nurse properly. If that latter scenario is what you are experiencing, you do have the option of pumping full-time to bottle feed breast milk for your child. This can be an onerous task, but it is worth it for your child if you are able to do this.
Breast milk is perfectly formulated and the most natural way to feed your child and it is very easy on the digestive tract as well as having all of the nutrients that your child will need. Probably most importantly, breast milk actually contains antibodies. This can help protect your child from a wide variety of illnesses and breastfed babies may also be less likely to develop other medical problems, including asthma and allergies. If you nurse your child, there is no need to wait for a bottle to warm up and it is much cheaper and more convenient than formula.
However, breast milk is not always an option for a family. Sometimes women just do not produce an adequate amount of milk to breastfeed or they are not comfortable or work too much to be able to nurse their child. Your pediatrician can recommend the right type of formula for your child if you need help picking the right option. Be on the lookout for symptoms of your child being lactose intolerant. Sometimes infants suffer from this, which will require you to switch to a soy based formula instead.
At the end of the day, there is no wrong way to feed your child as long as they are thriving and getting the nutrients that they need. You should not feel bad if you are unable to nurse your child. If you have the means and the milk supply, you do have the option of pumping and bottle feeding breast milk. Formula is better today than it was in the past; making it much closer to breast milk than ever though it is still not quite the same. Feeding your child is a personal choice and one that only you can make because you know what will work best for your family.