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Is “Breast Plus Formula” ideal?

Here’s a question from Narinder in Brampton:

Q: My baby is due next month. Some of my friends say that they combined breastfeeding and formula feeding and that this gave them the best of both worlds – what do you think?

A: I know that this is a popular notion, Narinder, but it is not the best option. Breastmilk is superior in every way to formula, and there is no need for babies to have any other kind of feeding unless in a rare situations and as advised by your lactation consultant – even water is amply supplied by breastmilk. Women who combine breast and formula are much more likely to wean before the recommended 12 months, thus depriving baby of the ideal balance of nutrients and of antibodies. Research has also shown that exclusive breastfeeding also protects the baby by colonizing the baby’s digestive system with healthy bacteria, and that even one bottle of formula upsets this balance and unhealthy bacteria are no longer inhibited. Even when exclusive breastfeeding resumes, it can take weeks for the healthy bacteria to return to their former level.

The only “advantage” of formula is that someone else can give a bottle when you’re away from your baby. In the first 4 -6 weeks, this can cause nipple confusion as the baby sucks very differently from a bottle than they do from the breast, which increases the risk of early weaning. After 4 -6 weeks, you can easily pump your milk and leave this for a caregiver to give when you are out, and this way the baby will receive the “gold star” milk all the time and never has to receive second-best.

The familiar saying, “Breast is Best!” is so true, and research is revealing more reasons to affirm this all the time!

Nancy Lahn RN

Developer of the Cozy Cuddles Nursing Pillow

Originally posted 2016-02-10 14:09:29.

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