How Will We Feed Our Baby?

 

Among the many decisions you need to make is simply, "how will we feed our baby?" The choice is best made before the baby arrives: breastfeeding or bottle-feeding or both?

Every couple must decide which feeding method best suits their needs and the needs of their baby. Here are some of the reasons many mothers choose to breastfeed: Breast milk has been found to contain over 100 components-antibodies and antiallergens-that protect babies from illness and allergies and cannot be duplicated in formulas. Breastfeeding seems the more "natural" choice. Feeding equipment and formula can be expensive.

Women who bottle-feed also have their reasons: It was the way their mother probably fed them. They want to return to work soon after the baby is born. This method also allows the father to participate in feedings.

All of these reasons are valid, and each couple must decide which are most important to them (and not their parents or friends). You should gather information about both feeding methods, consider what is compatible with your feelings and way of life, and then decide what aspects of each method suit your needs. Consulting the baby's prospective pediatrician, other mothers and fathers, and books may help you decide which option is right for you.

Another source of information is the "Basics of Breastfeeding" class offered here at Trinity Medical Center. The class is designed for mothers who plan to breastfeed, mothers who are breastfeeding and those who are gathering information to make a decision on whether breastfeeding is a viable option for them. Trinity Medical Center also employs a lactation counselor who can answer any questions you might have about breastfeeding.

Whatever method parents choose, feeding a baby is more than a matter of nutrition. It is dynamic method of communication, an experience that makes the baby feel secure, safe, and loved-an experience that both breast and bottle-feeding mothers provide through their touch, their look, their voice. Parents need to remember that it is their decision to choose the feeding method that is best for them and their baby. Mother, father, and baby-and they alone must be comfortable and happy with their choice.

 

FRED CREUTZMANN, M.D. CARROLLTON

972-394-7277 or www.DrCmd.com