D is a new mother (Congratulations!) and writes in to ask about bottle feeding vs. breastfeeding - she is concerned because it appears she may not be able to breastfeed, and is afraid she will not be giving her baby all her little one needs.
D, please don't worry. You can still provide your baby healthy nutrition through bottle feeding with well-chosen formulas (your doctor should help you make these choices).
Yes, breastfeeding is preferable because it provides babies with the best natural mix of nutrients as well as enhanced immunity. Some studies suggest that breastfeeding also helps prevent the development of certain illnesses later in a child's life. Benefits for moms include preventive effects against premenopausal breast cancer and easier post-delivery weight loss.
Let me address one other point about breastfeeding, which is the bonding that occurs between mother and baby. It's important and wonderful, AND if you can't breastfeed please don't feel you can't bond with your baby as well - you can! You can also provide adequate nutrition to the new addition to your family.
There are many different types of baby formula available on the market - again, your doctor will help you determine which is right for your baby. Some things to keep in mind:
- don't microwave baby formula (microwaving heats the fluid non-uniformly - even though the top of the liquid feels cool to touch other parts may be extremely hot and could burn your baby's throat)
- use either glass (be careful) or truly BPA-free plastic baby bottles - be aware that some bottles labeled "BPA-free" may not be, so do some homework to find bottles that are truly BPA-free (BPA is found in many plastic products and may possess hormonal activity within the body)
- powdered baby formula is probably a better choice than is pre-made formula
- ask your doctor about using a formula that contains DHA, an essential fatty acid that appears to be important for the proper development of brain cells
I hope this is of help to you, D. May you and your baby be well.
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