I know that doctors recommend breastfeeding over formula, but
I'm having a hard time with it. I've worked with a lactation
consultant, but it's still not happening. I feel like a failure and
am afraid to admit that I've been giving my baby formula! What
can I do?
Breast milk is pediatricians' first choice for newborns. In
an ideal world, breastfeeding would be easy and the right fit for
all moms. But the reality is that breastfeeding doesn't
work for every new mom. Ultimately you've got to make the
choice that's right for you and your family.
Many new moms can't breastfeed due to medical
conditions, medications they're taking, or work, travel, and
scheduling issues that make it impractical. And while some find
breastfeeding easy from the get-go, it's extremely challenging
for others. Even with the help of a lactation consultant, it can
feel like the baby just isn't taking to it!
The stress of wanting to breastfeed but struggling with it can
be too much, especially with the tidal wave of other life changes
that come with a baby. Some new moms find it helpful to pump breast
milk and deliver it from a bottle. But in some cases, formula may
be the right choice.
Rest assured, commercially prepared infant formula is a
nutritious alternative for babies. And bottle feeding offers its
own benefits - it allows fathers, grandparents, and other
caregivers to get involved with feeding the baby and enjoy
quality bonding time. Because formula digests more slowly than
breast milk, formula-fed babies usually need to eat less often than
do breastfed babies.
With everything that's now known about the benefits of
breastfeeding, it can be easy to feel like you're somehow
shortchanging your baby if you use formula. But you're not.
Giving your baby formula is nothing to be ashamed of.
You're not the only mom doing so, and you're doing
everything you can to help your baby thrive.
If you continue to have questions or concerns, talk with your
For more information, check out these articles:
Formula Feeding vs. Breastfeeding
Formula Feeding FAQs: Getting Started
Breastfeeding FAQs: Getting Started
Larissa Hirsch, MD
Date Reviewed: June 2007
Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice,
diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
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