Breastfeeding

Choosing between breastfeeding and formula feeding can be a difficult choice for many parents. Whatever you decide, a fed baby is the best baby.

If you decide to breastfeed, there are a few things you should know that can help make it easier and more enjoyable for you and the baby:

  • The mother’s body is constantly producing the perfect milk for the baby. The nutritional profile of your milk changes as the baby grows (milk produced for a 3 month-old is different than that made for a 9 month-old). Milk can even change day-to-day; For example, water content may increase during times of hot weather to provide extra hydration for the baby.
  • Breastfeeding reduces a mother’s risk of ovarian and breast cancer, heart disease, and osteoporosis. The longer you breastfeed, the larger the benefit.
  • Identify the people around you who are supportive of your decision to breastfeed (family, friends, professionals) and do not hesitate to contact them during your breastfeeding adventure for support.
  • Learn what is “normal” for a breastfeeding baby’s feeding schedule. When we think about how often we (as adults) either have a drink of any liquid or eat any food during the course of the day, it’s not surprising a newborn baby (who is growing and trying to gain weight) will want and need to nurse fairly often, especially before sleeping periods. “Cluster feeding” (feeding a lot all at one time) is a very normal for a breastfed baby.
  • The amount a child needs changes from child-to-child and varies with age. A newborn may eat very little and often, and the amount they eat may change every day or so. It is more important to look for signs that indicate when they are hungry, and when they are full.

Some signs that your baby may be hungry:

  • They bring their hands to their mouth.
  • They make sucking motions or sounds.
  • They are rooting; turning their head towards the person holding them with their mouth open.
  • They make fists over their chest or belly.

You will know your child is getting enough food if they are putting on weight, if they have enough wet diapers in a day, and if they start showing some of the following signs:

  • Closing their mouth.
  • Sucking less.
  • Turning away from the breast.
  • Relaxing their body, looking sleepy, or falling asleep.

For information on the province’s Breastfeeding Friendly Places Initiative, visit this link:

http://www2.gnb.ca/content/gnb/en/departments/health/services/services_renderer.201370.Breastfeeding_Friendly_Places_Initiative_.html

For a list of local businesses who have signed on to this Initiative, visit this link:

http://www2.gnb.ca/content/dam/gnb/Departments/h-s/pdf/en/HealthyPeople/BFI/friendlyplaces/MonctonSouthEast.pdf

Infant Feeding Formula

Choosing between breastfeeding and formula feeding can be a difficult choice for many parents. Whatever you decide, a fed baby is the best baby.

If you decide to use infant formula, make sure it is store-bought (commercial) infant formula, as homemade ones do not give your baby the nutrients they need and can be harmful. Next, you must determine whether you will feed your child ready-to-feed, concentrated or powdered formula. There are practical and financial benefits and disadvantages to each, so consider your preference, your budget, and what will work best for you.

If your child is at high risk of health complications, speak to your healthcare professional about the best formula choice.

The amount a child needs varies from child to child and changes based on their age. A newborn may eat often but in the very small portions, and the amount they eat may change every day or so. It is more important to look for signs that indicate when they are hungry and when they are full.

Some signs that your baby may be hungry:

  • They bring their hands to their mouth
  • They make sucking motions or sounds
  • They are rooting; turning their head towards the person holding them with their mouth open
  • They make fists over their chest or belly

You will know if your child is getting enough food if they are putting on weight, if they have enough wet diapers in a day, and if they start showing some of the following signs:

  • Closing their mouth
  • Sucking less
  • Turning away from the bottle or arching their back
  • Pushing away from the bottle or the person feeding
  • Relaxing their body, looking sleepy or falling asleep

The most important things that you will need for formula feeding are:

  • Safe drinking water
  • Bottles (with nipples)
  • Pot for boiling water
  • Fridge

If you are pre-preparing formula, it has to be stored in a fridge at 4°C and can be kept for up to 24 hours. Any bottle that has either been started by your baby, or that you did not store in the fridge right away should be used within 2 hours or thrown out.

Toddler Meals and Snacks

As a parent or care taker you know that it’s important to give your child a good start to healthy eating, but deciding how much food and what to give an often fussy toddler can be difficult at times.

It is important to remember that every child is unique and that they are born knowing when they are hungry and when they are full. As long as your child is active and growing they are getting enough to eat.

An easy and fun way to decide what to feed your child and find out which healthy foods they enjoy the most is simply to follow Canada’s Food Guide, which you can find here: http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/fn-an/food-guide-aliment/index-eng.php

For more information on how to use the Food Guide based on age and activity level, visit this link: http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/fn-an/food-guide-aliment/choose-choix/advice-conseil/child-enfant-eng.php