Breast milk is the best nutrition for babies. There is no perfect substitute for breast milk. Breast milk provides all the necessary nutrients and energy to the baby. The baby should be exclusively breastfed for 6 months. After 6 months, the baby is put on a weaning diet with the continuation of breastfeeding for 2 years.
Artificial feeding, also known as bottle feeding, is the feeding of the baby by any preparation other than breast milk in a hygienic condition. Food for artificial feeding can be purchased from outside or can be prepared at home.
Some indications of artificial feeding are-
- When breastfeeding is contraindicated either temporary or permanent
- When a mother has inadequate breast milk production
- Some mothers don’t want to breastfeed their babies due to personal reasons
- Changing lifestyle of the mother.
Food used for Artificial feeding
Following preparations can be used for artificial feeding-
- Cow’s milk can be used as a substitute for breast milk. The cow’s milk is diluted and boiled then given to the baby with a bowl and spoon or cup.
- Various dried milk formulas are available in the market which is also very good substitutes and can be used for the baby. They are very effective too.
- Buffalo’s milk or goat’s milk can also be used.
Artificial feeding can be considered successful if there is regular gain in weight of the baby after 10 days at the rate of 25 to 30 grams per day after 3 months. Along with artificial feeding, breast milk is also given to the baby, if possible.
Tips to follow in artificial feeding
Bottle, teat and utensils used for artificial feeding, are to be cleaned before and after each feed and should be sterilized by boiling.
Burping of the baby should be done at the end of each feed for 10 minutes so that swallowed air can come out.
Spent at least 20 minutes for each feed. While feeding, the baby should be held in a comfortable position. Before giving a milk bottle in the baby’s mouth, check the temperature of the milk. The hole of the teat should be of such size so that 20-30 drops of milk may be sucked by the baby per minute.
Weaning is the period in which solid foods are included with continuing breastfeeding or artificial feeding according to the baby’s capacity. The baby requires 120-130 calories/kg body weight per day. Initially, a baby is given daal soup, fruit juice, mashed banana and vegetable soups. The fluid requirement is also met by giving water.
In the above post, we discussed artificial feeding in infants, indications, food used for artificial feeding, tips to follow in artificial feeding and weaning.