As has often been said, "breast is best."  God gave women breasts to feed her baby, and they do a remarkable job.  Only a very few women are not capable of breastfeeding and this is VERY rare.  Another select group of women shouldn't breastfeed because of medical conditions or essential medications which are dangerous to the child or dry up her milk.  They are still good mothers because they are doing what they feel is best for their baby and for themselves. More than likely, you are completely capable of breastfeeding, or at least pumping/expressing enough milk to feed your baby at least until 6 months.  The American Acadamy of Pediatrics, however, recommends breastfeeding for at least one year.  The decision is up to you, whether you'll breastfeed, pump, and/or formula feed.


You have not "failed" your child by not being able to breastfeed.  It does take a lot of time obligation, but I feel the bonding and closeness is worth it.  Plus, knowing that you are giving your baby the best possible milk with all the great benefits is rewarding.

However, I am obligated to state the risks associated with formula feeding.  Some agencies will try to advocate the "benefits" of breastfeeding, but we don't tell people the benefits of NOT smoking, we tell them the RISKS of smoking.  

If we wanted to order the "best" ways to feed your baby we would place them something like this:

1) Breastfeeding (skin-to-skin)

2) Feeding your own expressed breastmilk with a bottle, cup, etc

3) Feeding breastmilk from a milk bank with a bottle, cup, etc

4) Formula feeding--definitely a distant choice from breastfeeding, but better than offering milk from a different species (such as cow's milk, which was meant for feeding calves, not children)

Breastmilk is able to adjust to the needs of the baby, because that's the way God created your body.  Premature infants have special needs, and your body recognizes that.  Newborns need more anti-infection agents, so you produce colostrum.  Your breastmilk changes from the start of a feeding to the end, offering the fattier stuff in the "hindmilk" to add more weight to your baby.  The list goes on and on how breastmilk changes, while formula stays the same at all times. 

Okay, enough preaching.  Here are some of the risks to your baby that are greatly increased due to formula feeding:

Respiratory Illnesses, such as bronchitis, pneumonia, RSV

Ear infections, possibly leading to insertion of tubes in the ears or deafness

Dental problems including cavities and need for braces

Speech problems

Certain types of cancers

Obesity (mostly due to overeating)





Poor Immunity


Vomiting (often diagnosed as GERD)

Longer recovery time in hospital (especially premature infants)

Other risks due to manufacturer defects or typographical errors such as, mislabeling the appropriate amount of formula to mix with the appropriate amount of water (can cause sodium imbalance and death), improper addition of certain heavy metals, bacterial contamination by E. coli or Salmonella.

All of these risks are dramatically decreased, but by no means eliminated, when the baby is exclusively breastfed.  This means no water, formula, juice, or solid food until about 6 months--you should talk to your pediatrician or nutritionist about the best time to start introducing solids.  For those moms who can't for one reason or another, breastfeed exclusively, even offering the breast as much as possible gives your child anti-infection agents from your milk to help stave off sicknesses, especially during cold and flu season.

Also, if you breastfeed, you (the mother) will return to your pre-pregnancy weight faster; will likely have a longer time until your next menstrual cycle; and have a lower risk of breast cancer, ovarian cancer, and cervical cancer (and this risk continues to decrease the longer you breastfeed).  As an added perk to diabetic moms, breastfeeding helps better control your blood sugar levels.

It's your choice and I WILL support your choice.  If you choose to breastfeed, I will offer great support and resources to make your experience wonderful and fulfilling and give your baby the best possible start.  If you choose to formula feed, I will offer just as much support in helping you attach and bond with your baby during this short time of their infancy, since the skin-on-skin contact is decreased during bottlefeeding.

For those mothers who do choose to formula feed, there are also some rules to follow. 

1. ALWAYS follow the manufacturers directions on how to much formula and how much water to use.  

2. NEVER use "nursery water" or other forms of bottled water to mix your formula because of the risk of too much of certain minerals including fluoride.  

3. Some places require that you boil the water that will be used in the bottles.  Others do not. To be safe, it is probably best to always boil your water.

4. ALWAYS hold your baby as close to "skin-on-skin" as possible to try and duplicate the closeness and bonding which occurs during normal breastfeeding. 

5. NEVER put your baby to sleep with a bottle in his/her mouth.  Doing so not only increases the chance that s/he could choke, but it also contributes to tooth decay in your baby's developing teeth. 

6. It is very easy to over-feed a baby while bottlefeeding.  With this in mind, follow your doctor's or nutritionists directions on how much formula to feed in a 24 hour period.  Make up for your baby's in-born need to suckle by using a pacifier or allowing him/her to suck on your finger.

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