Published Mon, 2010-08-02 11:35; updated 35 weeks ago.
How you feed your baby will depend on what works best for you, but evidence shows that breastfeeding is better for your baby's health.
Breastfeeding is the best way to boost your baby's development, protect them against infections and help you lost the weight you gained in pregnancy.Breast milk is the perfect food for a baby and contains protective antibodies, so breastfed babies get fewer ear, chest and urine infections, less diarrhoea and fewer tummy upsets.
If you have a family history of allergies, such as hay fever, eczema or asthma, breastfeeding can help to cut the risk of your baby developing them.
Breastfeeding can also help you to lose weight (it uses up 500 calories a day), help your womb shrink back to its normal size, and give some protection against pre-menopausal breast and ovarian cancer.
Breast milk is free, on tap when your baby needs it, and you don’t have to make up feeds or sterilise bottles.
It is possible to express breast milk using your hands or a special breast pump, and to feed this to your baby using a sterilised bottle. Some women choose to do this at times when they can't or don't want to breastfeed.
Bottle feeding your baby with expressed breast milk or infant formula milk can sometimes be a useful option.
To bottle feed, you will need four bottles and teats, a bottle brush and a steriliser. There are various types of steriliser: microwave or electric, or one that uses cold water and sterilising tablets.
Before sterilising, wash and rinse everything thoroughly to remove every trace of milk and ensure the teat holes flow freely. Wash your hands with soap and warm water before making up feeds. If you’re using a cold-water steriliser, rinse the bottles in cooled, boiled water.
Infant formula milk
Infant formula milk can be used as an alternative to breast milk.
When making up formula feeds, follow the manufacturer's instructions exactly. Never make milk thinner or thicker, and always use cooled, boiled water. Put the water in first and check the level is right before measuring the powder.
Before feeding, you can warm the bottle in some hot water. It is not advisable to use a microwave as it may heat the milk unevenly and burn your baby’s mouth. Check the temperature of the milk by dripping some on the inside of your wrist.