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The Basics

Feeding your baby is most likely to be one of the most daunting parts of being a new mum.  Questions in your many mothers minds can be?  Will I be able to breastfeed?  Is breastfeeding really better than formula?  Everyone says I should breastfeed but am not sure I want to.

The recommendation by WHO and UNICEF is that babies have their first breastfeed within the first hour of birth and that they are exclusively breastfed for the first 6 months meaning no other foods or liquids are provided including water.

This is the ideal but not always possible.  There may be reasons that a mother can not try her first breasfeed within the first hour after birth including having had a C-section or medical complications that possibly arose with either you or your baby or both.  In cases where a mother underwent a General anaesthetic this also not enable this first feeding within the first hour.  Do not let this worry you.  If it can not happen as soon as then it just needs to happen as soon as it can.

With regards to whether breast milk is better than formula milk this has been confirmed by countless research to be the case hence why recommended by WHO and UNICEF.  But there may be personal reasons that you want to go straight to Formula and everyone has the right to choose whether they would like to exclusively breastfeed, do a combination of breastfeeding and formula or just Formula.

If you have made the decision to do a combination of breastmilk and formula just try and keep to breastmilk only for at least the first couple of weeks as it is widely known that breastfeeding needs consistency to work and a baby given a bottle may only want a bottle after first initiating making breastfeeding or returning to breastfeeding very hard.

Whatever method you choose make sure to adhere to the recommendations of WHO and UNICEF to not given anything other than Breastmilk of Formula to your baby before 6 months.   This includes watering down expressed breastmilk or formula.  Breastmilk and formula contain enough water within to meet a baby’s hydration needs.   By replacing any of the expressed milk or formula with additional water your baby may not receive the nutrients that it needs. And even more alarming a lot of water can can actually lead to Hyponatremia (too much dilution lowering the concentration of electrolytes like sodium) – at its most dangerous Hyponatremia can cause brain swelling and even death.

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