Image: Unsplash Jonathan Borba
Finding yourself unable to breastfeed can be devastating. Torn between wanting to give your baby the very best and doing what is practical will leave you looking for the best alternatives out there. Thankfully, you do have options outside of breastfeeding.
Each of these alternatives can give your baby a great head start at life, meeting all nutritional needs. Some of the options are super simple and convenient, while others require significant time and effort but give you full control over what goes into the baby bottle.
These are the top four alternatives to consider if you are unable to breastfeed:
- Infant Formula
Infant formula is generally the first go-to when breastfeeding isn’t possible. It’s convenient, you don’t have to worry about mixing ingredients in the correct concentration, anyone can feed the baby, and as long as you stick to the correct brand of milk for your baby, you can’t really mess it up. Infant formula is incredibly well regulated too. While science is amazing, this is not your only option.
- Exclusive Pumping
If you find breastfeeding too challenging simply because you can get the latch right, it’s painful, or perhaps baby has a lip or a tongue tie and you’re simply unable to keep going, try pumping instead. A mother’s body makes unique milk – each mother’s milk is custom-designed for that baby’s body.
When you pump milk and store it, your body is still getting the very best custom-designed milk to the baby. This enables your baby to get all of the benefits of breastmilk without actually needing to latch onto your body. A good quality breast pump will help you to pump successfully and get your supply sufficient for baby to thrive. You might want to keep a frozen stash for days when your supply is low (like when you are ill) or if you need to skip pumping one day.
- Homemade Formula
Are you particular about what your baby consumes, but finding yourself unable to pump or breastfeed? You may wish to consider making your own homemade formula that can be as natural as you want since you control what goes into it. This is especially useful for moms who have babies with allergies or moms who want to make sure their babies are only consuming all-natural organic ingredients.
Moms opposed to cow’s milk can use goats milk, while others may prefer to use unpasteurized milk in order to give their baby’s gut the benefit of live microbes. Ensure you use an approved and safe homemade infant formula recipe.
- Donor Milk
Donor milk is an amazing movement with milk banks set up quite like the blood banks you may have donated to. Mothers who have the capacity can pump out any extra milk and donate it to a milk bank. The milk bank will test each and every donated sample, ensuring the milk is healthy and safe for babies to consume.
The donated milk is then distributed in a highly regulated process to ensure it is safe and fresh. Donated milk passes rigorous tests before it is distributed. The downside to this alternative is that donor milk isn’t always readily available.
Motherhood is difficult enough without fighting a pointless battle to feed your baby. If you believe you can breastfeed and you don’t know why it’s not working, book an appointment with a lactation consultant. These appointments can help you resolve pain, incorrect latch, and help to get baby to suck if there’s a lack of enthusiasm. Until then, an alternative to breastfeeding can simplify your life.
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