Feed Your New Baby Breast Milk, If Possible
Both breast milk and infant formula will help your baby grow.
But breast milk is the best first food for babies.
Either way, mealtime is more than just feeding your baby. It’s a time to cuddle and comfort your baby, too.
Breast-Feeding Is Best For Your Baby
Breast milk provides sugars, fats, protein, and vitamins that are just right for your baby.
Breast milk may help keep your baby from getting sick. Sucking on the breast is good for your baby’s jaw.
It helps future teeth grow straight.
Breast-Feeding Is Best For You
When you breast-feed, you don’t have to sterilize bottles.
You don’t have to buy, measure, and mix formula.
Breast-feeding lets you rest every few hours while you feed your baby.
Feedings at night are easy. You don’t have to get a bottle and warm it up.
You can breast-feed while lying down.
Breast-feeding helps you recover from childbirth and appears to improve your long-term health.
For Breast-Feeding Success, Follow These Tips
- If you can, breast-feed within an hour after your baby’s birth.
- Put your nipple as far back in your baby’s mouth as possible. This will make you more comfortable.
- Breast-feed your baby regularly and frequently, even as often as every two hours and at least eight times in a 24-hour period.
- Your baby should have at least six wet diapers a day.
- Don’t give your baby sugar water or formula unless your doctor or nurse tells you to do so. Your baby usually will not need extra sugar water or formula.
- Air dry your nipples to prevent cracking and soreness.
- Eat a healthy diet. Rest as much as you can. Drink plenty of fluids, including water.
- Ask for help with other children, housework, and cooking. Your most important job is taking care of your new baby and you.
- Be patient. It will take time for you and your baby to learn how to breast-feed.
Women who are HIV-positive should not breast-feed! Your breast milk could pass the HIV infection to your baby.
If You Choose Infant Formula
The FDA makes sure that the infant formula you buy at the store is safe and has all the nutrients your baby needs.
Babies can drink formula made from cow’s milk or soybeans. Ask the doctor what formula to give your baby.
Formula comes three ways: powder, liquid concentrate, and ready-to-feed. Powder costs the least. Ready-to-feed costs the most.
Prepare Formula Safely
Sterilize bottles and nipples in a dishwasher or in a pot of boiling water for five minutes.
Boil the water before adding it to powder formula or liquid concentrate. Bring it to a very bubbly boil. Keep boiling it for a minute or two, then let it cool.
Mix powder formula and liquid concentrate with the exact amount of water stated on the label. Too little water can upset your baby’s stomach or hurt the kidneys. Too much water keeps your baby from getting enough to eat.
Use only approved infant formulas. Homemade formula may not have all the nutrients your baby needs to be healthy.
Store Formula Safely
Keep the prepared formula in the refrigerator until you use it.
Cover an opened can of ready-to-feed or liquid concentrate formula and keep it in the refrigerator. Use it within 48 hours after opening.
To warm a bottle of formula, place it in a pot of water and heat the pot on the stove.
Don’t heat bottles in a microwave oven! Microwaves make hot spots that could burn your baby’s mouth.
When Can You Switch To Whole Milk?
You can stop feeding formula and start whole milk around your baby’s first birthday. But do not give your 1-year-old reduced-fat or no-fat milk. These kinds of milk don’t have enough fat and calories for your growing toddler.
Or you can continue feeding your child breast milk for as long as you want.
Don’t give your 1-year-old reduced-fat or no-fat milk!
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