In this day and age, you’d be hard pressed to find someone, especially a parent, who isn’t aware of at least some of the health, development, and emotional benefits of nursing.
While nursing is certainly ideal, it is not always possible for a myriad of possible reasons. When this happens, a common question is: What can I do for my baby to give them the next best thing or to reduce the negative effects of being unable to nurse?
The following suggestions are common solutions that can help to negate some of the risks of alternate methods of feeding.
1. Pumping. Most parents are aware of this option. Clearly, it is ideal for a baby to consume human milk, even if it is through a bottle. If this isn’t an option for whatever reason, have no fear…there are more options for you!
2. Use donor milk. There are many safe options for obtaining human milk for your baby. Some hospitals have milk banks where donors are thoroughly screened and the milk is usually pasteurized. Other organizations are also available to help coordinate safe milk sharing between donors and recipients. Most reputable organizations for milk sharing will not charge you for using their services, and neither will most donors. They may ask you to purchase or cover the cost of milk storage bags and such, but they typically will not make a profit on true milk sharing. Some milk banks may charge for milk, especially if your infant is not considered "high risk" (often meaning premature or suffering from certain health conditions).
3. Use formula. Yes, human milk is ideal and considered the holy grail of infant feeding. However, if neither of the above two options are available or usable in your situation, there are still things you can do to offset some of the negatives commonly associated with formula feeding. One big downside to formula feeding is that the baby doesn’t usually get any probiotics (aka “flora” or “good bacteria”) that they do from human milk. If a baby’s intestinal flora is upset, they can experience constipation and other abdominal discomfort. To remedy this, many parents simply opt to find a baby-friendly probiotic supplement and add the proper amount to the baby’s bottle during one or two feeds per day. This is a relatively simple fix with huge benefits.
Another often-overlooked downside to bottle-feeding is the tendency to feed the baby in the exact same position every time, never alternating sides, which can cause asymmetrical postural development in the baby. A simple remedy is to alternate sides every time you feed the baby or during each feeding…mimicking the natural positional variety of nursing.
Nursing, bottle feeding, and formula feeding can be sensitive topics for a variety of reasons. It is important to remember to never be afraid to ask for advice if you need it, regardless of how you are feeding your baby. Your team at Precision Chiropractic will never judge your choice of how you’re feeding your baby. We are here to offer you advice and help you do what’s best for you and your family.