Breast is Best
No one can argue that breast milk isn't best for your baby.
My son said the other day, that one of his learnings from his Yr. 12 health studies was ‘Breast is Best’!
Mother nature is very smart and when all is working well, our babies thrive on breast milk.
The World Health Organisation (WHO), the infant Nutrition Council of Australia and the
Breast Feeding Association of Australia all recommend breastfeeding exclusively until 6
months and then until 2 years combining with solid foods. We totally support this, it’s the easiest and healthiest approach you can offer
your baby. No sterilizing equipment or late night runs to the supermarket!
So why offer infant formula?
The truth is breastfeeding doesn’t always pan out the way we’d like and we need a back-up plan for our hungry little ones.
As parents we can get to this point of needing formula from many different paths, perhaps low on milk supply, work commitments,
fussy attachment, illness …. we all have our story.
I can still remember the day when I sat down with my son to feed one evening, and after a few minutes of unfulfilled feeding he pulled
of my breast and looked at me as though he was saying “Are these suckers on!” We had made it to 13 months and I knew it was time to get
some extra support and find a formula that would work for him.
Of course this is the important part, what works best? We recommend that you consult your doctor or health worker for advice when you
are considering bottle feeding, and remember every child’s development is different, so be sure to consult with your health care
professional if you have any concerns.
Also remember a decision not to breast-feed, or to introduce partial bottle-feeding, could reduce the supply of your breast-milk. Once
reduced, it is difficult to re-establish your production. We also suggest you consider the social and financial implications of your choice,
remembering the preparation requirements and the cost of providing formula until 12 months of age.
A final really important reminder.
Colostrum is the first breast milk produced between days 1-7. Although it is only produced in small amounts, colostrum is rich in protein
and antibodies (immune system proteins), which are important in protecting your baby against infection. Colostrum is also a rich source of
fat-soluble vitamins such as vitamins A and E and minerals and assists in the maturation of the gut to improve overall digestion. These first
few days of breastfeeding can be really tricky. Sore nipples, waiting for your full production to kick in! However, do try to persevere, so
you can give your baby this early stage colostrum, you will be giving your baby a great start.
Cuddle up and Connect
All the science aside, one of the great benefits of breastfeeding is that it slows you down. Often we as mothers we have an ability to be multi-taskers, focusing in many different areas at once. So being forced to stop and sit is a blessing.
I remember falling deeply in love with my children as I feed them… Watching their little noses move as they drank.
There is no question that this is a highly important time of emotional ‘attachment’ and development. Did you know that the connections we make with our children in these early years, creates the foundations for all of their relationships in the future ….. NO PRESSURE!
So if you’ve chosen to bottle feed for whatever reason, slow down, enjoy the cuddle while feeding, fall asleep together (carefully), play and connect.
This phase will pass so quickly, enjoy it Mums and Dads.