If You Aren't Breastfeeding

Many women choose to feed formula to their babies in bottles instead of breastfeeding. A small percentage of women are unable to breastfeed due to a health condition.

When breastfeeding is not possible or you choose not to breastfeed, you can still gain many of its benefits:

  • Breastfed babies are held, often skin-to-skin, and make eye contact with their mothers while nursing. A formula-fed baby can also be held during feeding, receiving the same close contact and socialization.

  • Breastfed babies eat according to their appetite, rather than on a schedule. Doing so may have long-term benefits in controlling appetite and preventing obesity. You can also feed your formula-fed baby when she is hungry and only as much as she wants, rather than pushing her to finish a bottle of formula after she's already full. Learning to eat according to individual appetite, rather than beyond a full feeling, may help develop healthy eating habits.

If you do feed formula to your baby, don't fret that you didn't breastfeed. The vast majority of babies, formula-fed and breastfed, grow up healthy.

There are 2 types of formula: cows-milk formula (such as Enfamil) and protein-hydrolysate formula (such as Nutramigen).

A 2011-published study found that cows-milk-formula babies had higher weight gain and greater length than average for their age, while the hydrolysate-formula group gained weight at the average rate. Babies fed hydrolysate formula also seemed satisfied after drinking less. However, hydrolysate formulas are more expensive.

This message is not intended to provide individual medical advice. Always seek the advice of a physician or qualified healthcare provider for any questions you have about your health or medical condition, your breastfeeding issues and your infant's health. Never disregard, avoid or delay contacting a doctor or other qualified professional because of something you have read in our emails, webpages or other electronic communications.

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