Nourishing your newborn- Breastfeeding or Formula feeding

  • Feeding time is for both nutrition and nurturing. Enjoy these quiet moments nourishing your newborn, whether you choose to breastfeed or formula-feed.
  • Discuss your options for breastfeeding or formula feeding with your family and friends, your baby’s pediatrician, Certified Lactation Consultant or Registered Dietitian who specializes in infant feeding.
  • Skin-to-skin contact while breast- or formula-feeding immediately after birth builds a strong bond between you and your baby.
  • You should let the hospital’s nursery and baby’s pediatrician know your decision of breastfeeding or formula feeding before the big day.

Soon you’ll be cradling your new baby in your arms, comforting her face-to-face and sharing her first meal. Snuggle in close; mealtime is for nurturing and bonding as well as nourishing your newborn. Whether you plan to breastfeed or formula feed, be sure to talk about the feeding plan with your spouse and immediate family to help give the best start to you and your wonderful new baby.

Planning for a successful breastfeeding experience

Experts agree that breastmilk is the best nutrition for your baby. Having a feeding plan in place ahead of time makes life more organized for you, and everyone else, as the due date gets close. Here are some helpful ways to make breastfeeding and nourishing your newborn easier:

  1. Get a support system lined up. Talk to a Gerber Certified Lactation Consultant or one in your community to help you prepare for a successful experience. A few girlfriends with breastfeeding experience on standby, willing to guide you once at home will be invaluable.
  2. If you’re involved in childbirth classes or during the hospital nursery orientation ask about their breastfeeding procedures for newborns. Find out if the hospital has a Certified Lactation Consultant that can visit with you, or schedule a free appointment with ours online.
  3. Let the nursing staff at your hospital know you want to breastfeed immediately after birth. Immediate skin-to-skin contact can help increase milk supply and keep baby’s temperature and breathing normal. Asking to breastfeed before baby’s tests are done is a reasonable request. Even with a C-section, try to breastfeed, skin-to-skin, within two hours.
  4. Speak up to be sure your baby is not given formula or water while in the hospital. No bottles or pacifiers until at least four weeks, after breastfeeding has been well established.
  5. Once at home, breastfeed, skin-to-skin. Keep your baby within hearing range so you can quickly learn and respond to her early feeding cues. Ask if your health insurance policy provides a Certified Lactation Consultant for follow-up at home.

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Planning for a successful formula feeding experience

If you’ve decided to nourish your newborn with an infant formula, learn as much as possible about how infant formulas differ and why the first formula you choose may make a difference. Choosing your infant formula brand before the big day will make for a successful and enjoyable feeding experience. Here are some helpful ways to make formula feeding and nourishing your newborn easier:

  1. Infant formula is the next best choice to breast milk and offers a complete source of nutrition for your baby during the first year. Infant formula is patterned after breast milk, but not all formulas are the same.
  2. When packing for your trip to the hospital, pack for your baby too. It’s best to bring a supply of 3 fl. oz. ready-to-feed infant formula nursers to the hospital to ensure you’re able to give and stay with your formula choice once you go home. Some hospitals may only carry one brand of formula, or not stock the brand you have chosen to nourish your newborn.
  3. Before delivery day, learn how to prepare and store formula. Be sure to have at least a two-week supply of formula at home to get started. Having at least six small bottles on hand is a good idea, since your baby will be feeding about 12 times in a 24-hour period.
  4. Let the nursing staff at your hospital know you would like to feed as soon as possible after birth. Immediate skin-to-skin contact builds a strong bond with your baby and helps keep her temperature and breathing normal. Even with a C-section, try to feed, skin-to-skin, within two hours. 
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