Whether you cannot breastfeed your baby, or choose not to, you have the option of feeding your baby forumula. Read all about formula here.
Newborn babies need to have either their mother's breast milk, or a specially designed artificial milk formula, as their main milk drink for the first 12 months of their life. Formula milk may be used once a baby is weaned from the breast before they are 12 months old, or given to the baby from birth (for various reasons).
There are several circumstances or reasons why, women will choose to bottle feed their baby(s) with formula. Some women plan to bottle feed from the very first feed after their baby is born. Others decide to breastfeed for a short while (24 - 48 hours, a few days a few weeks or a few months) and then start formula feeding (or perhaps continue and do a bit of both). In some cases, unforeseen circumstances make breastfeeding extremely difficult. For example, if the baby is born very prematurely, or the women is very unwell soon after the birth. A few women begin breastfeeding and then change to formula feeding, because of unexpected physical and/or emotional problems they encounter with breastfeeding or early parenting.
Women who choose to formula feed from the start will still initially produce breast milk, before their body realises there is neither the demand, nor the stimulation, to continue to produce milk. They will also experience the same physical and emotional changes during the first 2 weeks after birth as women who breastfeed.
Artificial formula milk is given to young babies with a bottle, but it may be given in a cup if the baby is old enough, (usually after 6 to 9 months). Some women combine breastfeeding and formula feeding for varying lengths of time, either for personal reasons or to facilitate returning to work or study.
This article was written for Birth, Australia's most comprehensive pregnancy and baby website.