Feeding Baby when Mother Works Outside the Home

If the baby is breastfeeding a few times a day and getting fair quantities of a variety of solid foods, infant formula is neither necessary nor desirable. Indeed, babies who have not had infant formula before 5 or 6 months of age often refuse to drink it because it tastes pretty bad. (If you want to convince yourself of how little we know about breastmilk, ask yourself why it is that, although breastmilk and infant formulas have the same amount of sugar, breastmilk is so much sweeter).

If you want to give the baby some other sort of milk, homogenized milk is acceptable at 6 months of age, as long as it is not the baby's only food. In fact, if the baby is taking good quantities of a wide variety of foods, breastfeeding 3 or 4 times a day, and growing well, homogenized milk or 2% milk is good enough, but also not necessary. The "need" for formula to 9 months to 12 months of age is basically formula company marketing and very successful at that. Statements by the Canadian Paediatric Society and the American Academy of Pediatrics urging formula to a year surely did not take into consideration the baby who is continuing to breastfeed after 6 months.

5. Babies need to drink milk to get calcium.
Not true.

If you are worried about the baby's intake of calcium, he can eat cheese or yogurt. There is no need to drink the calcium. Besides, if the baby is also breastfeeding, breastmilk still contains calcium.

6. Follow-up formulas (artificial milk for infants over 6 months of age) are specially adapted to the needs of infants 6 to 12 months of age.
Not true.

They are completely unnecessary and are specially adapted to the needs of the formula companies' profit margins. They also are part of a marketing strategy that tries to get around restrictions on the advertising of artificial baby milks directly to the public (widely disregarded in any case).

In Europe now, there are special formulas available for the toddler (1-3 years of age). In Singapore, they have formulas for children up to 7 years of age. Some people will buy anything, it seems. But these toddler formulas will soon be here in North America and soon nobody will consider it unusual to feed formula to a 3-year-old. In fact, just as some paediatricians in France now push formula to 3 years, some paediatricians in North America will too. You can bet on it. Bottom line über alles. We will all soon be on formula from birth to death.

7. The breastfed baby 4 months of age needs to be getting more iron than can be provided by breastmilk alone.
Not true.

For the baby born at term who is breastfeeding exclusively, all the iron required is provided by breastmilk. However, by 6 months of age, more or less, it is prudent for the baby to begin getting more iron than that provided by breastmilk alone. The best way for your baby to get iron is through his food, and the best source of iron is meat, not formula, and not infant cereals.

8. The best way to assure the baby's getting enough iron is to give him infant cereals.
Not true.
Infant cereals do contain a lot of iron, but most of it is not absorbed, and this amount of iron seems to cause constipation in some babies. Furthermore, some breastfed babies who have had only breastmilk to 5 or 6 months of age do not like cereal. There is nothing wrong with infant cereal, but pushing this food on reluctant babies may result in later feeding problems.

The best way to ensure the baby is getting enough iron is to continue breastfeeding, and introduce solid foods in a relaxed, enjoyable way at the appropriate time (See the information sheet Starting Solid Foods). The appropriate time is when the baby is showing interest in eating by reaching out for and trying to eat food the parents or other members of the family are eating. This occurs usually about 4½ to 5½ months of age. A baby this age can eat what the parents eat, with few exceptions. There is no need to be obsessive about the order in which foods are introduced, or trying to keep the baby eating only one food/week. The easiest way to give extra iron for the 6- to 12-month-old baby is meat, the iron of which is very well absorbed. Start feeding the baby solids in a way that makes eating enjoyable and the baby will eat iron-containing foods just fine.