For many, the decision on how they plan to feed their baby is far from easy to make. Many expectant parents will know, and have known forever, how they plan to feed their babies once they arrive. Yet for others, the decision is far from straightforward. Our resident midwife, Louise Broadbridge, from Let’s Talk Birth and Baby, is a big fan of both breast and formula feeding believing that the choice is as individual as falling snowflakes as no two parents have the same circumstances. In her own words, “I have two children and I breastfed the first for three weeks and then switched to formula and then four years later, breastfed my second baby until she was 2 years of age. What is important to note is that both decisions were right for me and my family at the time.” She also adds that both are happy and healthy children.
However, you plan to feed your baby, preparation is key. With formula feeding you will need to get all your ducks in a row and arm yourself with the necessary paraphernalia such as sterilising equipment, formula and bottles. Over the years guidance on the best way to prepare bottles has changed, so, for the latest advice, having a read of the NHS advice page will get you off to a great start.
If you are planning to breastfeed the advice is similar because you will find certain products very useful - especially in the early days. Breast pads, nipple cream, nursing bras, muslin cloths are all designed to make your breastfeeding days more comfortable and manageable. However, Louise also stresses the importance of a little bit of homework before your baby arrives.
“One of the main reasons women report having such a miserable time breastfeeding is due to a lack of understanding of the physiology of breast milk production. Through no fault of their own women can easily mistake the natural timetable of events for poor milk supply and, worrying that their baby is not getting what it needs, provide supplements of formula. This in turn can really impact milk supply and the worry of low volume becomes a self fulfilling prophecy.”
Louise is also a massive fan of Colostrum Harvesting and explained in a recent interview that this preparation, although not essential, can help in the early weeks to calm the anxiety of new parents and provide an alternative to formula top ups. Collecting and storing colostrum can start from 37 weeks (not before as it is proven that nipple stimulation can promote contractions). Once collected the colostrum can be stored in a clean freezer bag for use later on.
If you would like to learn more about both breast and formula feeding in preparation for the arrival of your baby why not sign up to Louise’s 5 Star Google rated Infant Feeding class where she will really get you ready for however you choose to feed your baby.