You’ve been feeding Baby for months now with the placenta, but it’s been a pretty hands-off process. While your body can feed Baby on its own while they are growing in your womb, it’s a whole different story once they are born. You may not know yet if you’ll be breastfeeding, pumping, using formula (or a combination), so here’s some information about a few of your options!
Whether they’re bigger, sore, itchy, leaky, or just different, breasts change over the course of pregnancy as the body’s natural way of preparing to produce milk and breastfeed Baby. When you’re pregnant, your breasts start to produce a thick yellowish substance known as colostrum that will make up Baby’s first few meals. Colostrum helps build up their immune system, and is very rich in nutrients. Colostrum will be replaced by regular breast milk within a week of Baby‘s birth. This mature breast milk contains the right contents of water, protein, fat, and lactose to help them grow big and strong, and can also help protect them against many illnesses and challenges, including:
- Ear infections
Breastfeeding may also help prevent against long-term disorders, like diabetes, Crohn’s, and obesity, as well as Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). And it will continue to strengthen Baby’s immune system.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends breastfeeding for at least one year, but there is no set timetable for when you should stop – it all depends on how comfortable you and Baby are with the arrangement. However, breastfeeding isn’t the best fit for all families for many reasons, including timing constraints, discomfort, or low milk production. Luckily, there are other ways to get Baby the nutrients they crave during them first few years.
Most people know that breast milk is the best food for Baby to grow and stay healthy, but breastfeeding is simply not an option for everybody. Those who still want their baby to drink their breast milk, but do not wish to breastfeed or are having difficulty doing so, can use a breast pump to store nutrient-rich milk, and feed it to baby through a bottle. This is a great way for working parents to get baby the same super-healthy milk in an easier, more convenient way.
For some people though, neither breastfeeding nor breast pumping is a viable option for feeding. Although some benefits of breast milk can not be replicated, there are many baby formulas that will help your little one grow happily and healthily.
Scientists have developed a number of baby formulas that contain high quantities of the nutrients that Baby needs to grow big and strong, like DHA, Vitamin D, calcium and more. Most formulas come as either a powder, or liquid concentrate, which then need to be mixed with water before becoming Baby’s 5-star entree. Some families will choose to use formula from the day baby is born, while others will make the switch after a few months or years. Some babies might even switch right from breastfeeding to steak dinners – you never know!
Reviewed by Dr. Jamie Lo
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- “What are the benefits of breastfeeding?” Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, 12/9/2013. Web.
- Liesbeth Duijts, MD, PhD, Vincent W. V. Jaddoe, MD, PhD, Albert Hofman, MD, PhD, Henriëtte A. Moll, MD, PhDb. “Prolonged and Exclusive Breastfeeding Reduces the Risk of Infectious Diseases in Infancy.” Pediatrics. American Academy of Pediatrics, 6/21/2010. Web.
- “Infant formula: Your questions answered.” Mayo Clinic. Mayo Clinic, 1/19/2013. Web.