Whether you choose to nurse your newborn or start on formula right away, you know that you are providing the best nutrition for your little one. Mothers who breastfeed are confident about the antibodies, immunity boosters, and wholesome nourishment they provide. They also cherish that special bonding time that only they can share.
After a few weeks, some mothers start to doubt their decision to breastfeed exclusively. The idea of falling back on baby formula to supplement their healthy baby's diet becomes more appealing.
Before you make any changes to your baby's diet, talk to your pediatrician. If you want to supplement because of your supply or challenges in nursing, be sure to speak with a lactation consultant if breastfeeding is important to you.
When it comes to making the transition, experts will tell you that to take it slow. Start by making a breast milk/formula combination. Some babies need to adjust to the texture and taste. They also need to get used to a new nipple if you haven't been expressing your breast milk for the times that you are away. This is not a process that happens overnight.
During the adjustment period, you may see some differences in your child that are completely normal. One of the differences that many mothers talk about is the excess gas. As much as it is made to be easy on your baby's delicate digestive system, some babies find that it is harder to digest cow's milk. It may take a few days to about a week to work itself out. Since you are introducing something new, keep an eye out for major changes in temperament and in the diaper.
If you are introducing your baby to the bottle for the first time, look for a nipple that has flow control and a more natural shape. Some babies prefer the bottle because it is easier to get their food. Moms who want to continue to breast feed may find that their plan backfires when the baby wants the bottle exclusively. You still have every opportunity to bond when you feed your child even though the process has changed.
Be sure to pump your milk even if your child is only having one bottle of formula. You want to still provide all of that nutrition, and you can. Expressing your milk allows you to have a small stockpile for those days that you are tired and feeling worn down. Breast milk lasts in the refrigerator for 24 hours and six months in the freezer.
Breastfeeding is the best way to provide your child with the proper nutrition as well as develop a strong bond between mom and baby. Baby formula is great to have on hand when breast milk is not available. It also allows moms an extra moment for themselves when they find that their baby is sleeping longer, stays fuller longer, or is satisfied feeding with a different caregiver. The transition toward formula supplementation needs to be slow so that you and your baby can make the change more smoothly. You don't have to give up breastfeeding altogether if you don't want to, and you can be confident in your choice to supplement as well as the process.