Let’s be honest - people (not just men) don’t learn a lot about feeding babies. We may see a parent feeding a baby on TV or in a public place, but for whatever reason, feeding tiny humans is not talked about as much as we really need. That’s why we talked to Jadah Parks Chatterjee, International Board Certified Lactation Consultant and Bobbie Medical Advisor about the top 5 myths about formula and breastfeeding you need to know as a dad!
Let’s start with breastfeeding - the misinformation about breastfeeding is vast. One thing that’s really important to mention around breastfeeding is that this is not the only way to bond with your child. As a biological man, you may not be able to breastfeed, but it does not mean your connection with your child is any less. The child's mother may not want or be able to breastfeed and that also doesn’t make their connection any less.
Then there is formula feeding. Though many people feel that “breast is best” because the baby won’t ever get sick if they’re breast-fed (not true!) or the baby will be smarter if they’re breast-fed (um, do you even know if Albert Einstein or Elon Musk were breastfed or formula fed?). Of course, there are many benefits to breastfeeding, but breast is not best if it’s not best for your entire family. As Bobbie Lactation Consultant Jadah says, “Breast Milk is packed with nutrients that are amazing for your baby. However, this is not always an available option for a variety of reasons. We are grateful for the option of formula that provides nutrition and supports normal growth and development.”
With that, we want to get more into the myths associated with formula feeding a baby. Here are the ones we hear most from dads:
5 Myths about formula feeding
My baby is going to be overweight if they’re formula fed
My baby is going to be more gassy or have colic or will have more allergies
I’m not going to bond with the baby
My baby is going to have smellier poop
I’ll have more work to do if we’re formula feeding
So let’s BREAK IT DOWN!
Is it true that babies who have formula will be overweight?
The truth is that the volume of formula during each feeding is what contributes to the baby gaining weight. Remember, babies don’t ‘burn off calories’ following a meal -- yet. They eat and then go to sleep.
There are formula volume recommendations - see this Feeding Guide - to decrease the risk of over feeding the baby.
PACED bottle feeding is a great technique for feeding your baby, following the baby’s natural rhythmic sucking, swallowing and pause sequence. During the pause, supporting the baby to take frequent breaks and offering burps (how to burp a baby involves gently removing the bottle from the baby’s mouth, leaning them forward, supporting their chin, and lightly tapping their backs) creates space in their tummies. When you offer the bottle, it will be up to the baby to continue to enjoy eating. Closed or pursed lips generally means they are done. This is baby led feeding that supports the baby to eat the right amount for them.
Is it true that babies who have formula will be more gassy or have colic? Will they have more allergies?
Ingesting air increases the baby’s risk of being more gassy or colic. PACED bottle feeding decreases the risk of excess gas, which leads to colic. Frequent burping is the key.
In terms of allergies, the most recent literature supports the introduction of cow’s based formula during the first two months of life, decreasing the risk of cow’s milk allergies. In other studies reviewed, there is low-quality evidence that suggests an increased risk of allergies for babies that enjoy formula.
Is it true that babies on formula will not bond with their parents as much?
Bonding with your baby includes many things such as touching, holding, gazing in their eyes, smelling them and skin to skin contact. Anyone feeding the baby, at breast or with a bottle, has an opportunity to bond with their baby.
Is it true that babies on formula will have worse or more poops?
Babies that enjoy formula generally have a dirty diaper following feedings, just like their baby friends who enjoy breast milk.
And finally, a really honest question:
If mom is breastfeeding, am I off the hook with feedings?
LOL! Um, you are officially hooked when you become a parent regarding all things baby. This includes, but is not limited to: changing diapers, cleaning bottles, washing (and putting away) clothes and feeding the baby. At some point of the feeding journey, you may be using formula or breastfeeding moms may begin to pump expressed milk to feed the baby with a bottle. This is where your skills of PACED feeding will come into play.
If mom is breastfeeding you can support all of the above mentioned, in addition to supporting mom stay hydrated, well fed and rested. Mom is burning 500-900 calories breastfeeding, so snacking is necessary and appreciated.
All in all, there is lots to learn about feeding a baby and we hope that this mythbusting article really helps. While you’re learning, don’t stop here. Take a look at Bobbie Organic Baby Formula.