Breast Milk or Baby Bottles
Even before your baby is born you have to think of how you’re planning to feed! Many women have very definitive views on the benefits of breastfeeding since they have been influenced by what they have seen and read, by their culture, family and friends; while many others cannot, or would prefer not to breastfeed.
Most health care professionals recommend breastfeeding for your baby’s first 6 months, since breast milk is the best source of nutrition, it is easily digested and absorbed, and it provides your baby with valuable antibodies that protect from respiratory and ear infections, asthma, allergies and diabetes. In addition to the health benefits for the baby, mothers who breastfeed benefit too, since breastfeeding can help them loose weight easily, and may help lower the risk of breast cancer, high blood pressure, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.
With all these advantages of breast milk, should you feel guilty if you choose not to breastfeed? Absolutely not! In fact, infant formulas have gotten better and better at matching their ingredients and proportions to that of human milk, so you can be sure that your baby’s nutritional needs will be met.
In all cases, choosing how and what to feed your baby is a personal decision that deserves careful and thorough consideration. And remember:
If you choose to breastfeed your baby, you should:
- Maintain adequate nutrition.
- Drink plenty of fluids, especially water every day.
- Get plenty of rest.
- Take good care of your nipples and breasts.
- Relax and enjoy the experience.
If you choose baby bottles, you should:
- Select an iron-fortified formula since there is a lot of evidence that iron deficiency in the first years adversely
affects brain development.
- Know that there is no need to heat the formula for your baby; drinking it at room temperature is fine.
- Sterilize the bottles after each use
- Clean very well all utensils that are needed before preparation.