Breastfeeding Versus Formula: What and When Should You Feed Your Baby?

Although the breastfeeding-versus-formula debate will probably continue as long as there are new moms, the good news is, your newborn will do well with either formula or breast milk. There are pros and cons with either choice, so you should decide which option works best for you and your baby based on your life circumstances and personal preferences.

Breastfeeding Newborn Babies
Breastfeeding may provide emotional or physical comfort to both mother and baby, and many women choose breastfeeding for this reason. If you choose to breastfeed, estimate the amount of milk your baby is taking in and make sure your baby is taking vitamin D supplements to help his or her body absorb calcium and develop strong bones (check with your pediatrician for information about dosage and recommended brands). Additionally, be careful when taking medications yourself that may be passed through breast milk.

Formula-Feeding Newborn Babies
Formula-feeding newborn babies may be the best option for moms who are working or who have difficulty with breastfeeding. If this is your choice, you’ll want to use a standard iron-supplemented formula.

Feeding Schedule Newborn Babies
Most babies feed eight to 12 times a day or about every two to three hours. As your baby gets older, he or she will gradually take in more milk in less time per feeding and will be happy with fewer feedings. Don’t worry too much about how much or how often your baby eats; your baby will usually know how much to eat. When your baby stops feeding, he or she may be full or just taking a break. Try burping your baby or waiting a few minutes before offering breast or bottle again.

If you’re concerned about whether your baby is getting sufficient food, check for signs of hunger: moving, stretching, sucking and lip movements, fussing and/or crying. Also, note if your baby looks content, alert and is gaining weight – about four to seven ounces per week for the first month. Your pediatrician will weigh your baby regularly at your well-baby checkups, so make sure to keep your appointments.

Feeding and Bonding with Newborn Babies
Whether you choose breast milk or formula, your baby will be getting the food and nutrition he or she needs, so enjoy feeding time. Although feeding is a nutritional activity, feeding is also a time to bond with your baby. Don’t be afraid to hold your baby close during feedings or look at and talk to your baby. If you’re giving your baby a bottle, don’t prop it in your baby’s mouth and leave to do something else. This could lead to choking or tooth decay. But even worse, it could lead to a missed opportunity to relax, bond with and enjoy your baby!

For more information on feeding your baby, or to find a pediatrician, visit

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