|The Royal Women's Hospital is committed to promoting and supporting breastfeeding. |
Breast milk is the best food for babies and the use of supplementary feeds is not necessary for healthy, full-term breastfed infants. It is normal for babies to have unsettled periods and to feed between 8-12 times in 24 hours. Supplementary feeds are classified as fluids other than breast milk, such as artificial formula or water, that could be given to your baby after a breastfeed or instead of a breastfeed.
|This information sheet will help mothers be more informed when they are considering a supplementary formula feed and where there is no medical reason for introducing infant formula.|
|To enable you to make an informed choice with regards to feeding your baby we believe it is important for you to have the following information.|
|Introducing supplementary feeds may have the following effects:|
- Breastfeeding works on a demand and supply basis. The more your baby suckles at the breast, the more milk your breasts make. When your baby is given supplementary feeds your breasts have less stimulation. This in turn means less milk may be made.
- If feeds are missed or replaced by a supplementary feed your breasts can become full and painful. This is called engorgement. If your breasts are engorged you may make less milk and you may develop mastitis. It is important that your baby feeds frequently.
- Infants who are given infant formula are more likely to develop an allergy to cows' milk protein than infants fed only breast milk.
- Giving supplementary feeds may make it more difficult for you to establish or continue breastfeeding. We will continue to help you establish full breastfeeding, should you wish to do so.
- The sucking action on a bottle is different to how a baby suckles at the breast.
|If you do introduce supplementary artificial formula feeds, problems can be reduced by:|
- Expressing regularly to maintain supply and to prevent engorgement.
- Using expressed breast milk instead of formula where possible.
|The Royal Women's Hospital does not endorse any particular brand of infant formula. The composition of each brand is basically the same - one is not necessarily better than another. If you require further information about infant formula, we recommend that you speak to your Maternal & Child Health Nurse once you get home.|
|Adapted from Infant Feeding Guidelines for Health Workers - NHMRC.|
|The Royal Women’s Hospital does not accept any liability to any person for the information or advice (or use of such information or advice) which is provided in this fact sheet or incorporated into it by reference. We provide this information on the understanding that all persons accessing it take responsibility for assessing its relevance and accuracy. Women are encouraged to discuss their health needs with a health practitioner. If you have concerns about your health, you should seek advice from your health care provider or if you require urgent care you should go to the nearest Emergency Dept.|
|Last updated October 2009|