Deciding How to Feed Your Baby

How you feed your baby will be one of the most important decisions you make as a parent.  To help make the best choices for you and your baby, you will need quality information from reliable sources. 

pregnant lady holding ultrasound image

The Breastfeeding Matters Booklet from Best Start Resource Centre is a good source of information about feeding your baby.

Research has shown that:

  • Breastfeeding is the natural food for newborns.
  • Breastfeeding has proven benefits to mothers, babies, families and the community. 
  • Breast milk is all that a baby needs for the first 6 months of life.  At 6 months of age, babies can begin healthy solid foods while they continue to breastfeed for up to 2 years and beyond.

When making a decision about how to feed your baby, it is also important to consider:

Breastfeeding

Infant Formula

Breastfeeding matters to your baby, because breastfeeding:

  • Decreases the risk of ear, chest and stomach infections
  • Helps to prevent diarrhea
  • Decreases the risk of digestive diseases such as Crohn’s and colitis
  • Decreases the risk of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome)
  • Decreases the risk of obesity
  • Promotes proper jaw and tooth development
  • Promotes healthy brain development

Infant formula does not change to meet your baby’s growing needs.  Formula fed infants are more at risk for:

  • Ear, chest and urinary tract infections
  • Diarrhea
  • Inflammation of the stomach and intestines
  • SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome)
  • Obesity
  • Tooth decay
  • Some childhood cancers

Breastfeeding matters to mothers, because breastfeeding:

  • Controls postpartum bleeding
  • Protects against osteoporosis
  • Lowers the risk of getting breast, uterine and ovarian cancers
  • Assists with child spacing

For mothers, NOT breastfeeding increases their risk of:

  • Postpartum bleeding
  • Cancer of the breast, ovaries, and uterus
  • Brittle bones

Breastfeeding also promotes closeness and bonding of mom and baby.

There is also a risk for error in formula preparation or contamination.  Powdered formula is not sterile.

Adapted with permission from the Best Start Resource Centre

If you have questions about infant feeding or need more information, contact us to discuss your questions and concerns. We can give you information and resources to support infant feeding at different ages and stages.

If you have made an informed decision to feed your baby infant formula, please look over our information about Infant Formula.   Elgin St. Thomas Public Health supports all families with infant feeding.  Please contact us so we can discuss your questions and support you with information based on your family’s needs.

 

References: 

Best Start Resource Centre. (2014). Breastfeeding matters: An important guide to breastfeeding for women and their families. Retrieved from https://www.beststart.org/resources/breastfeeding/pdf/BreastfeedingMatte…

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