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Updated: 1/14/2003 2:29 pm
While bottle-feeding may be more convenient for the mother, formula makers have not yet found a way to reproduce all the wonderful components that make human milk unique, including its enzymes and antibodies. You should decide before your baby arrives whether to nurse or bottle-feed. Almost all nursing mothers find that the experience also makes them feel more attached and protective toward their babies and more confident about their own abilities to nurture and care for them. Be sure to keep Dad and others in the family from feeling left out by involving them in other aspects of the baby's care. If you're taking medications or are on any sort of special diet, you should talk to a doctor about whether breast-feeding would be safe for your child. If you breast-feed, keep in mind that, as in pregnancy, anything you put into your body-- including caffeine, alcohol, cigarette smoke, medications, food supplements, and spices-- will end up in your breast milk. Human milk is more easily digested than formula, so breast-fed babies need to eat more frequently than bottle-fed ones. This could be every two or three hours. Let your baby design his or her own feeding schedule. Babies let you know when they're hungry by crying, nuzzling against your breast, or making sucking motions. Once nursing is going well and the milk supply is established, you may decide to use an occasional bottle. You can express milk in advance, either by hand or by pump, and store it, so it can be used instead of formula. Speak with a healthcare professional for more information about breast-feeding your baby.

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