Milk is your child’s essential and unique food for the first 6 months. But not just any milk! Yours is particularly adapted to his needs. Breast milk substitutes (or infant formula) are also a good alternative.
Breastfeeding or infant formula?
Mother breast milk is the best food and nutrient for your child in his first months. It contains everything he needs from birth and is constantly evolving to adapt to his growth over the weeks and even during the feed. Breast milk has other advantages for the infant :
- It reduces the risk of infections, especially digestive infections, by transmitting your antibodies (cells capable of neutralizing microbes).
- It may help limit the risk of allergies in children, especially those with family predispositions.
- It would help reduce the risk of diabetes or obesity.
How long should I breastfeed?
Breastfeeding, even for a short period of time, is beneficial for your child. He will enjoy the benefits of your milk. It is recommended to continue exclusive breastfeeding, if possible, until the child is 6 months old (breastfeeding can be continued after that, with complementary foods, for up to two years or more). But even for shorter periods, breastfeeding is still recommended. If you are unable to breastfeed for the first 6 months, you can use infant formula in relay.
You do not wish to breastfeed?
There are specific milk formulas for infants. Contact your doctor for more advice.
Beware of animal milk!!
Cow’s milk is not at all adapted to the digestive system of children under one year old. For the same reasons, do not give them milk from goats, mares, donkeys, sheep, etc. Do not give them raw milk either: this type of milk has not been heated before marketing. It is therefore more unstable from a health point of view.
Breastfeeding: a plus for the mother
It is important not to get discouraged even if the beginning of breastfeeding is sometimes difficult. Soon, the inconveniences of the beginning will disappear to make way for a privileged moment of exchange with your child. In addition, breastfeeding has several advantages:
- It helps reduce the volume of the uterus after childbirth.
- It is believed to have a protective effect against certain cancers such as breast and ovarian cancer, especially at a later age.
- It does not require any specific preparation and represents a certain time saving.
Can breastfeeding be contraindicated for health reasons?
Yes, there are diseases or drug treatments that do not allow you to breastfeed, but they are rare and few in number. Ask your doctor for more information.
When and how to stop breastfeeding?
Weaning should be done gently. During this stage, the child gradually switches from breast milk to infant milk. Discontinue feedings one by one, starting with mid-day feedings, which are often the least abundant. Then eliminate the evening feedings, followed by the morning feedings. The ideal is to leave a week between each feed cut. If this is not possible, try to leave at least two or three days.
Even if you get back to work quickly, you can continue to give the morning and evening feedings. You can pump your milk at your workplace if you have a breast pump, a refrigerator to store the milk, and equipment to transport it in good conditions. Breastfeeding is a special moment of sharing between mother and child. It can nevertheless be punctuated by small difficulties, especially at the very beginning: to remedy this, contact a professional or get closer to those around you. There are also associations promoting breastfeeding that can help you.
If breastfeeding is recommended for the first six months, infant formula remains a very good alternative if you cannot or will not breastfeed. They are specially designed to meet the child’s needs. They are commercially available in liquid form, ready to use or as a powder to be diluted.
From birth to 6 months: infant formula or “infant formula”.
If you don’t want to or can’t breastfeed your baby, you’ll have to choose infant formula. They are designed to best replace breast milk for the entire period of time your baby feeds only milk (up to about 6 months).
From 6-7 months: 2nd age milks or “de suite”.
Offer it to your child when he is ready to make at least one complete meal without milk a day. The transition to 2nd age milk is usually around 6-7 months, but never before 4 months. After 6 months, even if milk is no longer the exclusive food, it is recommended that you continue to give your child at least 500 ml of 2nd age milk per day for up to one year.
From 1 year to 3 years: 3rd age or “growth” milks
They are designed to meet the specific needs of children from 1 to 3 years old and in particular their iron and essential fatty acid requirements.
Did you know that?
The inclination of the bottle is important: when the baby sucks, small bubbles should be observed in the bottle. The bottle teat should always be full of milk to prevent the baby from swallowing air.
The rhythm of the bottles is not always regular, especially at the beginning. In the first weeks, babies eat about every 3 to 4 hours and drink 5 to 7 bottles a day.
The amount per bottle per day depends on your baby’s age. Young children are able to regulate the amount they take in themselves and thus control their intake.
If you have any further questions, ask your doctor for advice on the right dose for your child. The infant formula cans offer average amounts.