What to expect if you’re not planning to breastfeed?

Most people on Earth know that the foundation for healthy adults is laid in childhood. Therefore, providing a nutritious diet adequate for the child’s age needs and functional maturity should be considered one of the top priorities in helping children at all stages of their development.

The best nutrition for the health of the newborn and the child in the first year of life is exclusively natural feeding for at least 6 months. Breast milk has the optimal composition (both quantity and quality) of all nutrients – proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals necessary to ensure the intensive growth of the baby, given the immature digestive system. It has unique protective properties, protects against bacterial and viral infections, prevents allergies, has a positive effect on the maturation and functioning of many organs and systems, including the immune and digestive systems.

planning to breastfeed

However, despite all the advantages of breastfeeding, sometimes it is necessary to transfer the child to mixed or artificial feeding. In each case, such a transition should be justified by a doctor and can be made only with the use of all attempts to increase the level of lactation. In addition, we should remember that the transition of the baby, especially in the first months of life, to mixed or artificial feeding, is a stressful situation for him, accompanied by changes in digestion, metabolism, and intestinal microflora.

What are the contraindications to breastfeeding?

Doctors identify several cases where it is recommended to feed the baby with artificial substitutes, in particular: when the mother is HIV-positive, being treated for cancer with concentrated chemotherapy. Also, if she has Covid and is on a ventilator. But if she is only a carrier of the infection, she can breastfeed. Self-feeding is contraindicated when the mother is taking sedative psychotherapy medications and epileptic drugs.

Artificial infant feeding

Breastfeeding, when in the first six months of life a child does not receive breast milk at all or its amount is less than 1/5 of the required daily ration, is called artificial feeding. To organize correct mixed or artificial feeding, it is necessary to use modern industrially produced milk formulae (breast milk substitutes), whose composition, according to international requirements, satisfies the basic nutrient and energy requirements of children, depending on their period of development. Most of these formulas are prepared based on high-quality cow’s milk (sometimes goat’s milk), using high-quality non-dairy raw materials – vegetable oil and polysaccharides, and vitamins. Thus, the task of adaptation of cow or goat milk consists first in reduction of the contents of protein and calcium salts, in the change of structure of lipid fractions due to the introduction of a certain quantity of irreplaceable fatty acids, and also an increase in the contents of sugar – lactose which has a stimulating influence on the development of useful intestinal microflora.

It should be noted that manufacturers are constantly improving the composition of these products through the use of special technological methods and the selection of necessary food ingredients, bringing it closer to the composition of breast milk.

Nevertheless, none of these products can completely replace the breast milk of the mother, which the child receives sterile from the mammary gland.

Two types can be distinguished among mother’s milk substitutes. The first type – “starter” – is used during the first two months of a baby’s life. They are similar in composition to mother’s milk and are adapted to the digestive and metabolic peculiarities of children of this age. The second type of formula – “next” – is designed for further feeding of children after 4-6 months of age.

Therefore, when choosing a formula, the most important thing is to consider the age and weight of the child. Each manufacturer indicates on the packaging the age category for which a particular product is intended, pay attention to these restrictions. Also, when choosing a formula, you need to pay attention to the following factors:

  • what raw materials are used in the composition (organic or inorganic);
  • whether there are probiotics and prebiotics, which are very important for the still unstable baby’s microflora;
  • sugar must not be present in children’s formula;
  • the expiration date;
  • a proven and certified manufacturer with experience in the field.

An example of such milk powder is the organic Holle Formula. It is mostly made based on goat’s milk, which has a lower allergy threshold. It contains nucleotides, polyunsaturated fatty acids, and all necessary microelements. This formula is produced in Germany and has many fans among young parents. After all, when the baby is well with digestion, he sleeps peacefully, and this makes the parents very happy.

Signs that the formula is suitable for your baby:

  • Your baby is gaining weight normally
  • Psychomotor development corresponds to the age,
  • The baby has a normal color of skin and mucous membranes,
  • The natural elasticity of the skin and muscle tone,
  • Timely eruption of teeth,
  • The normal functioning of the stomach and intestines.

If something is wrong with these indicators, or if you have problems with artificial feeding, consult your pediatrician.

Remember: babies fed on an artificial formula do not differ in their physical and psychomotor development from breastfed children. Therefore, artificial feeding may be the norm and in some cases a necessity.

Psychological factors are very important

Constantly being close to the mother and getting mother’s milk, the baby feels protected and learns to trust the world. When a baby is fed artificially, it is necessary to take him in the arms more often, to hold the breast. Because she wants warmth and protection. When she gets tactile, she calms down. It’s not just about breastfeeding, but about the special contact between mom and baby. Over time, the baby will begin to feel safe in the knowledge that his desires will be met because his mom is always there for him. As your baby’s trust in you grows, your confidence in your abilities grows. A mother who is responsive and attentive to her own child’s needs can influence not only her baby’s behavior but also the child’s entire learning process because she understands her child and intuitively senses what is necessary for his or her normal development. Emotional and tactile contact with the child plays a big role here. In the arms of Mom or Dad, the baby feels cozy and safe and has the opportunity to comfortably observe and get to know the world around him or her and to receive from it vivid impressions and pleasures. In the first days and weeks, the bond of love between parents and baby is strengthened. This warm and affectionate relationship will be the baby’s first lesson in love. Throughout her life, she will draw energy from them and build on them her relationship with the world around her.

Consequently, parenthood is an important stage in the life of every person who needs appropriate preparation. A positive psychological attitude and awareness of exactly what and how will happen before, during, and after childbirth are of great importance.

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Photo by Adele Morris