By: Andrew Ashworth
Breast-feeding is not for everyone. If you can't breast-feed or choose not to (for example, if you take certain medications or develop a severe breast infection), a variety of nutritious formulas are available. Infant formulas are designed to resemble the nutritional content of breast milk as closely as possible. Ask your pediatrician which formula he or she recommends. Bottle-feeding has several advantages. It frees the mother from her baby; other family members, especially dad, get a chance to be more involved with feeding. With a bottle, you know exactly how much your baby is taking at each feeding. A bottle-fed baby still gets the needed cuddling and closeness at mealtime. But avoid propping the bottle up so you won't have to hold your baby during a feeding. You will deny yourself and your baby important opportunities for closeness and bonding. Propping a bottle can also increase a baby's risk of choking and make him or her more susceptible to ear infections.
Your doctor will probably recommend a formula based on cow's milk, fortified with iron, and that comes in a powder or liquid concentrate that you mix with water or in a ready-to-feed form. Babies under 1 year of age should not get regular cow's milk because the unprocessed protein it contains is hard to digest and the high protein and salt content can strain immature kidneys. All types of formula are basically the same in nutritional content; they differ only in price. The most convenient, ready-to-feed formula costs the most. Never try to make your own formula at home-your baby might not get the nutrients needed for growth, development, and good health.
Whatever type of formula you use, follow these preparation and refrigeration guidelines:
The major advantage that bottle-feeding has over breast-feeding is that dad doesn't get left out. Make each feeding session a chance to bond and get close to your baby. While dad is bottle feeding the child, he will have time to bond with it. Many times, when new couples get a child, Dad's are typically felt left out or sometimes try to look for opportunities to help his wife with the new born child. Having the dad bottle feed the child, will give mom a good resting time.
Another great advantage of bottle feeding is convenience. Bottle feeding gives the mom an opportunity for her not to feel pressured to feed her child when her circumstances are not convenient. All she has to do is to get her child's formula and give the bottle to her baby. This is extremely convenient especially if the mom is traveling or in public.
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