Breast milk is the best food for the child. The benefits of breast milk as a source of nutrition for the child has been largely studied and proven in the medical field, leading the WHO to recommend the provision of exclusive breast milk for the child up to the age of 6 months, followed by its provision along with complementary food up to the age of 2 years.
Certainly, parents would want to give the best for their child. However, there are some circumstances that makes breastfeeding not possible due to the condition of the mother or the child. For instance, in mothers who experience severe diseases such as eclampsia, cancer, and so on. In the child, there are certain conditions that cause breastfeeding to be impossible or inadequate, for instance in those with genetic abnormalities where the body does not have the enzymes required to digest milk, such as galactosemia (a condition where the body is unable to digest one type of sugar known as galactose).
If the condition of the mother or the child leads to obstacles in breastfeeding, the pediatrician should assess the condition and determine whether formula milk is required.
If formula milk should be provided as additional intake, mothers should pay attention to the procedures in preparing and providing it to reap maximum benefits.
Ensure that all equipments, such as milk bottles and pacifiers, are sterile. Wash all equipments with water and soap, then sterilize it using a sterilizer. Mothers can also sterilize these equipments by pouring boiling water to the bottle and pacifier and let it stand for 10 minutes. This should be done to avoid germs in the equipments for the child.
When preparing milk, heat drinking water until its boiling point. Pour the water to the milk bottle. If it is still too hot, mothers can mix it with cooler drinking water. Pour the milk powder with the scoop available in the packaging, in accordance to the directions. The milk in the scoop should be flat, and not soaring.
Stir until the milk has dissolved evenly. Prior to serving it to the child, pour a small amount to the back of the hand to ensure that the temperature is not too warm. Serve milk by positioning the bottom part of the milk bottle higher than the pacifier, so that the pacifier is always full of milk. This is done to minimize the amount of air ingested by the child.
Formula milk is usually given once every three hours. During the rapid growth phase or growth spurt, the child will ask for milk more often. When mothers see signs of wanting to breastfeed, provide it to them immediately.
How much milk should be consumed by the child each day? The following guidelines may help:
If the provision of formula milk is as additional nutrition, mothers should remember that this is a temporary solution, in order for them to keep up their spirit in providing breast milk, which is the best food for the child.
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