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Feeding an infant is a source of anxiety for any new mom: Is my child eating enough? How do I know when she’s done? How often should I feed him? Is formula okay? And so, not surprisingly, a new survey of 250 pediatricians finds that 97 percent say concerns about feeding are among the top three topics parents ask about.
The survey, conducted by Perrigo Nutritionals, the makers of Store Brand Infant Formula, found that 64 percent of pediatricians say the most common feeding question is this: “Is my baby getting enough food?” The other most common questions, according to pediatricians, are, “Is supplementing breast milk with formula okay?” and “What formula do you recommend?”
But not all questions are so predictable. More than a quarter (26%) of pediatricians say they’ve answered “outlandish” questions from new moms in regards to feeding — everything from, “Can I give my baby soda in a bottle?” to “Can my baby be addicted to my breast milk?”
To get the answers to all the questions called out in the survey, Yahoo Parenting talked to Dr. Monika Symms, a pediatrician with Tribeca Pediatrics in Los Angeles.
Is my baby getting enough food?
“Every family wants to make sure their child gets great nutrition from the time they are a newborn, and it can be very confusing because there is so much information out there,” Symms says. “Your baby is good at telling you when they are hungry and when they are full. Look for signs of hunger. They can be different in every child, but include crying, rooting, smacking lips, turning their head and putting hands in their mouth. Then, look for signs of fullness. I have parents look at the suck of the baby, since there’s a difference between a hunger suck and a pacifying suck. A hunger suck is quicker and more rhythmic, with less pauses. Pacifying—when a baby is full, and just sucking for comfort — isn’t as deep. There’s more pausing, and sometimes the baby will physically pull off.”
Is supplementing breast milk with formula okay?
“For most moms that are breastfeeding, it’s not necessary to supplement,” Symms says. “But yes, supplementing is definitely okay. Sometimes moms who are breastfeeding just need a break. It can be tiring! There’s not always enough support for how challenging it can be in that first month after birth. Moms who are overwhelmed or who aren’t producing enough should feel fine about supplementing.”
Do you recommend a specific brand of formula?
“I don’t. The formula companies have been very good at matching breast milk from a nutritional standpoint,” she says. “You won’t have the antibody effects [that you will] from breast milk, but from a nutritional standpoint —fat, calories — go with any major company and you should be fine.”
When can I feed my baby fast food?
Not surprisingly, Symms doesn’t recommend fast food for babies. “It’s not the ideal source of nutrition, since it is loaded with preservatives,” she says. “But it is okay for your child, once they are eating solids, to sometimes have fast food. We can’t be perfect al the time.”
Can I give my baby soda in a bottle?
"No! We don’t recommend soda for babies in bottle or a glass, as it’s loaded with sugar and chemicals. But, of course, they are going to have soda at some point in their life. Still, soda through a bottle is really difficult on the teeth. The only thing going in a bottle should be milk — breast milk, formula, or cows’ milk — and water.”
Will my baby get drunk if I have one glass of wine?
“One glass of wine is fine for most women, just like one glass of caffeine is okay,” Symms says. “Alcohol peaks in breast milk between 30 and 60 minutes after drinking it, but it will stay in the system for two, three hours. If one glass becomes three, we definitely recommend that moms pump and dump, but one is fine and baby will not get drunk.”
Can my baby be addicted to my breast milk?
“Absolutely not,” Symms says. “Babies can get addicted to breastfeeding, though, but that’s more when they are toddlers and it’s more of a behavioral addiction. The problem there is that sometimes they don’t develop a appetite for food. But breast milk itself is not addictive.”