Choices: How Will You Feed Your Baby?

• Nurse at least once or twice more during the evening.

On days off, some mothers nurse at all feedings. Others follow their workday routine. Since nursing mothers need to drink additional fluids to produce an adequate supply of milk, keep a non-caffeinated beverage at hand throughout your workday. And remember to drink a large glass of water or other liquid each time you sit down to nurse or pump. You also need to eat nutritious foods. Keep a supply of healthful snacks in your desk and car. Even if you don't lose all the weight you gained during your pregnancy right away, don't pick this time to go on a drastic weight reduction diet. You may want to splurge on some new nursing/working outfits or borrow some clothes to wear until you're back to your pre-pregnancy size.

Working mothers may find that they require more sleep at night. Try to go to bed early at night or work in a nap before dinner if possible. Getting extra sleep on your days off may also help you to feel more rested.

Stress is the biggest enemy of breastfeeding. It can interrupt the production of milk and complicate nursing sessions. Therefore, it's important to take extra time to relax once you return to work.

Other Facts About Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding has no influence on when you can resume sexual relations after deliver. The common problem of vaginal discomfort during sexual intercourse may last longer if you're breast feeding, but can be helped by over-the-counter products to provide vaginal lubrication.

If you want to avoid pregnancy while you're breastfeeding, you will need to use some form of contraception. Although ovulation and menstruation often may not occur during this time and your risk of pregnancy is decreased, breastfeeding should not be viewed as a method of birth control. Read more about Breastfeeding and Birth Control.

Bottle-Feeding

If you are one of the 1-2 per 100 women who can't produce sufficient breastmilk for their babies or if your baby has a congenital birth defect such as PKU and is unable to have a diet of only breastmilk; or if you determine that nursing is not for you then you'll want to use commercially prepared infant formulas as an alternative to breast milk. These formulas are made from cow's milk or soy protein. Note: before formulas were widely-available, it was common for babies to be fed whole cow's milk. This is not a nutritionally acceptable choice. Whole cow's milk does not contain enough nutrients to ensure growth and brain development. Most specifically, whole cow's milk does not contain enough iron, a critical building block of your baby's brain.

Formulas give babies most of the nutrients they need. However, formulas do not include the protective properties of breast milk. Even so, many mothers find that bottle feeding is the method which fits their needs and lifestyle better. Some working mothers prefer to formula feed. One advantage of bottle feeding is that fathers and other family members can participate in the joy of feeding a newborn without the mother's having to express milk. The modern parent has vast consumer choices when it comes to formula: it can be purchased ready-to-feed, concentrated liquid, and powdered in bulk cans. The concentrated and powder forms that need to be diluted are generally less expensive than ready-to-feed formulas. Many parents choose to have their preferred formula on hand in a variety of forms: individually packaged servings for on the go, concentrated liquid in cans for long trips, and stashes of powdered for home bottle-preparation.

Bottle-feeding has some disadvantages:

• It is expensive: You'll want lots of bottles and nipples so you can pre-prepare them while you wash others. Formula is quite expensive in any form, and you'll be running your dishwasher (or filling your sink) much more frequently.

• Most formulas contain cow's milk, which may produce digestive upsets and aggravate allergies. If you or your partner have a family history of problems with or allergies to milk, there are several soy based formulas on the market as an alternative.