Babies are born to breastfeed and breast milk is perfect not only for baby nutrition, but also for disease protection, immune system development and brain growth. It is important to know how feeding your baby formula can interfere with your breastfeeding success.
There are many factors that contribute to a woman’s decision to breastfeed. If you opt for breastfeeding over formula, there are many health benefits for you and your baby. And, of course, breastfeeding saves you a lot of money.
The World Health Organization (WHO) and other organisations recommend feeding your baby breast milk exclusively for the first six months, if possible, unless there is a medical reason for you to supplement. Your body was made to sustain your baby’s life. You grew your baby for nine months and now you can nourish them with your breast milk, the one and only natural and complete nutrition for human babies. No formula can duplicate the unique properties of breast milk.
Breastfeeding in the first two weeks
In the first few days after birth, some mums worry that their babies are not getting enough breast milk. Well-meaning friends and family may suggest that your baby be fed formula until your milk ‘comes in’. But in fact, a newborn’s stomach is so tiny (about the size of a marble) that it can only hold about a teaspoon of fluid at a time. That is the approximate amount of colostrum (first milk) that is available at each feed and exactly what babies need in those first days.
A few days after delivery, the colostrum will change into transitional milk (referred to as ‘milk coming in’) and then into mature milk, over a period of seven to ten days. Feeding the baby with a bottle or feeding formula can interfere with your milk production and, ultimately, with your breastfeeding success.
If you have questions about your supply, do not hesitate to contact your healthcare provider or a lactation consultant.