Babies can get all their nutrition from breastfeeding for the first six months. Even as you introduce complementary foods, it's recommended to keep breastfeeding until your child is two years or older.
To support successful breastfeeding, avoid supplementing with formula.
Supplementing is not recommended because it interrupts supply and demand, a natural cycle that develops with moms and their babies:
The more a baby demands by feeding, the more milk the mother makes. If babies fill up on other foods, such as formula, they don't breastfeed enough (less demand) and the mother’s body will respond by making less milk (supply).
When babies don't breastfeed enough, breasts can become hard and uncomfortable. This is called engorgement.
Watch a video on other feeding methods.If you decide to supplement with formula, consult your health provider for more information on your options. Store-bought formula comes in powdered form, liquid concentrate, and ready-to-feed forms. If you choose powdered or liquid concentrate, it must be mixed with sterile water. You can sterilize water by boiling it for two minutes. Allow the water to cool to 70°C before mixing with formula.
Never give your baby formula mixed with well water unless it’s been tested by a laboratory and found to be safe. For more information, see the HealthLink BC file Should I Get My Well Water Tested?
For more information on safely preparing infant formula, visit the Health Canada website.
Talk to your Healthcare Provider
Some moms may feel pressured to use formula rather than breastfeed. If you’re having difficulty breastfeeding, talk to your healthcare professional and seek out support in your local community.
Resources & Links:
HealthLink BC: Breastfeeding
HealthLink BC: Bottle-Feeding
HealthLink BC: Combining Breast-Feeding and Bottle-Feeding
HealthLink BC: Choosing Baby Bottles and Nipples
Healthlink BC: Formula Feeding Your Baby - Safely Preparing and Storing Formula
VIDEO: Admission to Postpartum - Keeping Your Baby Skin-to-Skin
VIDEO: Baby's Feeding Cues and Behaviours
VIDEO: Breastfeeding Positions
VIDEO: Cup Feeding and Other Feeding Methods
VIDEO: Hand Expressing Milk
VIDEO: Latching Your Baby