Since you first began researching your birth preferences and writing your birth plan, you may have imagined breastfeeding your baby. Now breastfeeding may be out of the question, but baby still needs to eat. When breastfeeding isn’t possible for you or your baby, alternative food sources like milk banks or formula are the ideal substitute.
Since the World Health Organization (WHO) began its breastfeeding campaigns around the world, Baby-Friendly Hospitals (BFHs) have worked hard to help women begin breastfeeding their newborn right after birth. The result is that 79% of newborns start off with breastmilk, which is great.
But what about the other 21%? Often in BFHs, alternative food sources like formula are not promoted unless using formula is medically necessary. Because health professionals strive to start babies on the breast, sometimes information about formula can be hard for new mothers to get.
We’ve all heard that breast is best. Because of the breastfeeding focus, mothers who want or need to use alternative food sources can feel guilty or pressured.
But many babies have grown up healthy and happy by using alternative food sources. Therefore, deciding how to nourish your baby is a personal choice each mother needs to make.
“Alternative food sources” means using either breastmilk from a Human Milk Bank or infant formula.
Wet-nursing — breastfeeding another person’s child — has a long history in helping children survive when mom cannot breastfeed. Today’s modern equivalent of a wet-nurse is either informal sharing or the Human Milk Bank.
Human Milk Banks collect, combine, and pasteurize breastmilk from donor mothers, then sell it to parents or caregivers who cannot breastfeed their baby but still want the advantages of breast milk.
Milk banks adhere to strict standards for screening and purity. Buying milk from a bank means you can trust that the donating mother has been screened. And that her milk contributing to the donor pool has been tested multiple times to be sure it has no impurities or viruses, including Zika.
While the pro side of using banked milk is that your baby is getting breastmilk, the con side is that it can be pricey. If your budget can handle this extra cost and you feel comfortable using another mother’s milk, milk banks are the ideal answer.
Infant formula companies often market heavily to hospitals, especially those that are not Baby-Friendly. So you can choose to use formula from the samples you may get in the hospital or you can use one of the organic versions now on the market.
When breastfeeding isn’t medically possible, your baby can still grow healthy and happy using either donated breastmilk or formula.
Gazing into the eyes of your baby sucking away on their bottle, growing happy and strong under your care is a font of love, no matter which feeding option you choose.
To learn more about breastfeeding tips, download our free Birth Plan eBook now. After three years of research, collaboration with more than 100 childbirth experts and resource centers from Healthy Child Healthy World to the American Association of Neonatal Nurses, the Best Ever Baby Birth Plan Guide is available for a free download.
This new resource for pregnant families is a compilation of top tips and advice from more than 20 nationally-recognized experts in the field including renowned pediatrician, Dr. Alan Greene and GraceFull Birthing founder, midwife Elizabeth Bachner. These trusted experts offer thoughtful guidance for whatever type of birthing experience parents want, in whichever setting they choose.
Published: February 25, 2017 | Reviewed by: The Best Ever Baby Expert Team | Last reviewed: February, 2017