Feeding your newborn: Baby's gotta eat

You’ve been feeding Baby for months now with the placenta as the delivery person, but it’s been a pretty hands-off process (and weight on). Your body is smart enough to feed Baby on its own while she is growing in your womb, but it’s a whole different story once she is born. Whether you breastfeed naturally, pump your breast milk, or use formula, there is a perfect way for every mom to feed her baby.


Whether they're bigger, sore, itchy, leaky, or just different, breasts change over the course of pregnancy as the body’s natural way of preparing to produce milk and breastfeed Baby. When you’re pregnant, your breasts start to produce a thick yellowish substance known as colostrum that will make up Baby’s first few meals. Colostrum helps build up her immune system, and is very rich in nutrients. Colostrum will surrender to regular breast milk within a week of Baby's birth. This mature breast milk contains the right contents of water, protein, fat, and lactose to help her grow big and strong, and can also help protect her against many illnesses and woes, including:

  • Asthma
  • Diarrhea
  • Ear infections

Breastfeeding may also help prevent against long-term disorders, like diabetes, Crohn’s, and obesity, as well as Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), and will continue to strengthen Baby’s immune system.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends breastfeeding for at least one year, but there is no set timetable for when moms should stop - it all depends on how comfortable you and she are with the arrangement. However, breastfeeding naturally isn’t the best fit for all women and babies whether due to unavailability, discomfort, or any other reason. Luckily, there are other ways to get Baby the nutrients she craves during her first few years.

Breast pumps

Most moms know that breast milk is the best food for Baby to grow and stay healthy, but natural breastfeeding is simply not an option for everybody. Those who still want their baby to drink their breast milk, but do not wish to breastfeed or are having difficulty doing so, can utilize breast pumps to store their own nutrient-rich milk, and feed it to baby through a bottle. This is a great way for working moms to get baby the same super-healthy milk in an easier, more convenient way.

For some women though, neither breastfeeding nor breast pumping is a viable option for feeding baby. Although some benefits of breast milk can not be replicated, there are many baby formulas that baby can take to grow happily and healthily.


For some women, both breastfeeding and breast pumping are simply not options. Luckily, scientists have developed a number of baby formulas that contain high quantities of the nutrients that Baby needs to grow big and strong, like DHA, Vitamin D, calcium and more. Most formulas come as either a powder, or liquid concentrate, which then need to be mixed with water before becoming baby’s 5-star entree. Some moms will choose to use formula from the day baby is born, while others will make the switch after a few months or years. Some babies might even switch right from breastfeeding to steak dinners - you never know!

Reviewed by Dr. Jamie Lo
Read more
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    • Liesbeth Duijts, MD, PhD, Vincent W. V. Jaddoe, MD, PhD, Albert Hofman, MD, PhD, Henriëtte A. Moll, MD, PhDb. "Prolonged and Exclusive Breastfeeding Reduces the Risk of Infectious Diseases in Infancy." Pediatrics. American Academy of Pediatrics, 6/21/2010. Web.
    • "Infant formula: Your questions answered." Mayo Clinic. Mayo Clinic, 1/19/2013. Web.
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