Formula feeding – A good alternative?

Formula Feeding

Every mother wants the best for their baby. The choice between breastfeeding and formula feeding is a difficult one to make, especially when there is so much evidence on the benefits of breastfeeding. Many medical professionals believe that breast milk is the best nutritional choice for babies. However, breastfeeding is not a possible choice for many mothers. Many mothers are bound by specific medical situations, their comfort levels, and their lifestyle. Dr Clara Guru, our development expert says that infant formula is an extremely healthy alternative for new moms who can’t breastfeed or who decide not to. Let’s know more about formula feeding.

Understanding the formula feeding

Commercially prepared infant formulas are a nutritious and healthy choice for the baby. It is a beneficial alternative to breast milk as it contains a combination of proteins, sugars, fats, and vitamins that replicate the mother’s milk. Some formula milk even contains some vitamins and nutrients that are not available in breast milk but are important for babies.

While breast milk is undeniably rich in essential nutrients and antibodies, modern baby formulas are formulated to provide a balanced and nutritionally complete diet for growing infants. Manufacturers adhere to strict regulations and quality standards to ensure that infant formulas contain the necessary nutrients for healthy development.

Formula feeding also allows for precise measurement and control of nutrient intake, making it easier to monitor a baby’s growth and ensure they’re receiving adequate nutrition. 

reasons to choose formula milk

Lactational complications

  • Inadequate milk supply
  • Baby not satisfied by nursing
  • Pumping is painful and difficult

Medical issues (babies)

  • If the baby is not gaining weight
  • Extensive neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) stay

Medical issues (mothers)

  • Starting birth control or other prescription medications
  • Breast hypoplasia or glandular dysfunction
  • Some other medical concerns 

Personal conflicts

  • It is too difficult and stressful
  • Working mother 
  • Negative experience with breastfeeding 

Nutritional contents in formula milk

Most commercial formulas are made from cow’s milk. They are fortified to make them resemble breast milk and to give babies all the nutrients they require for healthy development. These nutrients are:

  • Carbohydrates, in the form of the milk sugar “lactose”
  • Iron
  • Protein
  • Minerals, such as calcium and zinc
  • Vitamins, including A, C, D, E, and the B vitamins
  • Essential fatty acids like ARA and DHA are important for the baby’s brain and vision.
  • Nucleotides are the building blocks of RNA and DNA are also found in breast milk. These are also added to some formulas to make it a healthy alternative for breastmilk. Nucleotides boost the baby’s immune system and help the digestive organs develop.
  • Prebiotics and probiotics – The probiotics are the “good” bacteria that fight against the “bad” bacteria that cause infection. Prebiotics promote the growth of these good bacteria in the gut. It also prevents babies from getting the skin condition eczema.

When and how much is to be given?

Formula feeding should be done as per the baby’s needs, not on a predetermined schedule. Look for hunger and fullness signs that your baby gives, such as taking the fist or fingers to the mouth, smacking, or licking lips. These cues are helpful to understand when and how much to feed.

Usually, most healthy formula-fed newborns feed about every 2–3 hours. As they grow, they usually consume formula milk about every 3–4 hours. Slowly, they will follow a more predictable feeding routine and go longer stretches at night without needing a feed.

1 month baby should be given around 56 grams to 120 grams of formula per feeding. The baby should be fed 6 to 8 times in 24 hours.

At the age of 2 months, a baby should be given around 140 to 170 grams of formula per feeding. The baby should be fed 5 to 6 times in 24 hours.

From 3 to 6 months, a baby should be given around 170 to 200 grams of formula per feeding. The baby should be fed 5 to 6 times in 24 hours.

The amount of formula milk that the baby consumes will decrease as the infant increases intake of solid foods after 6 months. But formula milk should be given in the first year of life as it is a significant source of calories, protein, calcium, and vitamin D.

Are homemade formulas safe?

The answer is simply, NO. Commercial formulae, manufactured under sterile conditions, aim to replicate mother’s milk by combining complex proteins, carbohydrates, fats, and vitamins that cannot be produced at home, fulfilling the requirement of babies for a balanced and particular set of nutrients. So, if you use formula, it is important to use only commercially made formula and avoid making your own at home.

Will my baby become less attached?

No, attachment is an emotional bonding that can be achieved in many different ways. Breastfeeding is not the only way to achieve that. Here are a few ways that you can build a secure attachment with your baby without breastfeeding:

  1. Skin-to-skin contact
  2. Holding the baby face to face, making eye contact, and smiling at your baby
  3. Talking or singing to your baby in a soft voice 
  4. Holding your baby, or babywearing 
  5. Talk to your baby while formula-feeding 

Disadvantages that come with formula feeding

  • Lack of antibodies in formula, which are only present in mother’s milk
  • Is expensive 
  • May cause constipation or gastric issue in baby

Combination feeding

Some pediatricians may recommend a mixture of both breastfeeding and baby formula. supplementing with formula can help ensure that infants receive adequate nutrition while alleviating the stress and pressure associated with exclusive breastfeeding.

Formula feeding is also recommended by pediatricians along with breastmilk for better growth and weight gain. It has positive results in term of weight gain when compared to breast milk in preterm and low birthweight infants.

Additionally, combination feeding allows parents to address specific concerns or medical conditions that may impact breastfeeding. For example, mothers taking certain medications or undergoing medical treatments may opt to supplement with formula to reduce any potential risks to their infants.

Final thoughts by Dr. Clara Guru

In the ongoing confusion regarding infant feeding practices, Dr Clara Guru states that it is important to recognize the benefits of formula feeding. Formula feeding is a practical, necessary, and valuable option for many families. While breastfeeding undoubtedly offers unique benefits, formula feeding provides accessibility, convenience, and nutritional consistency, making it a practical choice for diverse parenting circumstances. 

Remember, what matters most is not the method of feeding but the love, care, and nurturing that parents provide to their children, regardless of how they choose to nourish them.

Explore UpTodd luminary pathway to unleash hidden abilities of the baby

faq

  1. Is formula milk good for babies when compared to breastmilk?
  2. When should I give my baby formula milk?
  3. Does baby formula contain the essential nutrients?
  4. How many times in a day should I give formula milk to my baby?
  5. Does formula feeding result in less attachment with the baby?
  6. Can I make formula milk at home?
  7. What are some challenges of formula feeding
  8. Can I give both breastmilk and formula milk to my baby?

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