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.

Disclaimer: This page is not intended to provide individual medical advice. Always personally seek the advice of a physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you have related to your health or medical condition. Never disregard, avoid or delay contacting a doctor or other qualified healthcare provider because of something you read here.

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