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Breast or Bottle Feeding

Even though your delivery is months away, this is a good time to think about how you’re going to feed your baby during the early months. Will you use breast milk or formula?

Waukesha Memorial Hospital has lactation consultants on staff to assist with the learning process of breastfeeding. They are also able to assist with any problems that may arise while in the hospital. The labor and delivery and postpartum nurses are also an excellent resource to assist with breastfeeding, should you need any.

*Due to COVID-19 restrictions, classes are not held in person, but virtual options are available.
There is also a free support group held weekly in the Childbirth Ed room on the 3rd floor, check the website for dates and time. Breastfeeding classes are also offered, for a small fee, check the ProHealth website for dates and times.

What are the advantages of breastfeeding?
  • Breastfeeding or nursing is unquestionably an excellent way to feed your baby. It can give you much pleasure to have your child in close contact with you during feedings, and, of course, this contact gives much pleasure to your little one.
  • Breast milk is the most easily digestible food that a baby can consume. In other words, it is very agreeable and is unlikely to cause spitting up or any stomach problems.
  • No special preparation is needed such as measuring and sterilizing and it’s definitely cheaper than formulas.
  • If asthma or allergies run in the family, it seems that breastfeeding can cut down the chances of these happening in the baby. Nursing babies have a lower risk of crib death (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome – SIDS).
  • Breast milk contains antibodies that protect young babies against infections. They are made in your body and passed to your child in the breast milk.
  • Breastfeeding helps your body get back to its normal size and shape. The baby’s sucking stimulates the muscles of your uterus (which got stretched out during pregnancy) to return to normal.
  • Breastfeeding can help prevent overfeeding. Breastfed infants usually get just what they need during each feeding. There is sometimes a problem of bottle-fed babies getting too many calories and gaining too much weight. Overweight babies often grow up to have weight problems.
What are the concerns with breastfeeding?
  • Almost any mother can breastfeed her baby. Women with certain diseases or those taking certain medicines may be told that they should not nurse. Your doctor will discuss this with you.
  • One of the greatest concerns of breastfeeding is a mother’s fear that she can’t do it. This is common, but with a little help and instruction, these fears can be removed. If you think you want to breastfeed, someone at the office here will help you and give you information on how to prepare for it and how to handle problems that can come up during nursing.
  • Some mothers think their breast size is too small. The part of the breast that makes milk has little to do with the breast size. Women with any size breasts or nipples should be able to nurse their children.
  • Some mothers fear that breastfeeding limits their freedom. Many women have gone back to full-time jobs after having a baby and continued to nurse when at home. There are ways to save breast milk so it can be put into a bottle for use when the mother is not home.
  • If you have certain infections (such as HIV/AIDS and untreated TB) the germs can be passed to the baby through breast milk. If you have a herpes infection on the nipple area you should not breastfeed on the nipple that has the rash. Bottle-feeding will probably be a better choice (see the section below on bottle-feeding).
  • If you smoke, use street drugs, or drink alcohol regularly, you need to talk to your medical provider about stopping these habits if you plan to breastfeed since they can be dangerous to your baby. If after talking to your doctor you do decide to drink alcohol, please wait 2 hours after the drink before you nurse.
  • There is a drug called domperidone that is produced in foreign countries used to improve milk production in nursing mothers. Some women have been able to purchase this drug overseas or from certain shops in this country. It is not approved in the United States because it may be dangerous. It is possible that it can cause heart problems, including death. DO NOT USE THIS DRUG.
What about bottle feeding?

Some women may choose not to nurse their baby and, instead, desire to give them formula. Formula is safe and healthy.

It is easy to buy. Most supermarkets and drugstores sell it. Formulas are easy to prepare. In fact, some are already premixed so no preparation is needed. If you choose to bottle-feed, it is important to remember a few things:

  • Keep bottles and nipples clean so germs don’t get into the baby’s milk.
  • Try to hold the baby close to you while giving the formula. This can help you and the baby build a closer relationship. Propping a bottle on a blanket, so the baby lies alone and drinks is not a good habit and can be dangerous. Babies need and like close contact.
  • Always use formula for the entire 1st year of your baby’s life. Using regular or low-fat homogenized milk before your baby is a year old is not recommended and can lead to anemia or a low blood count in the baby.
  • Later during your pregnancy, more information will be given to you regarding the feeding of your baby.

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