Article by Angela Haldane

Q. I am breastfeeding my four-month-old baby, and I have had conflicting advice on whether to supplement with formula. What are your thoughts?

A. Many women fear they do not have enough milk. Some find it reassuring to see a 300ml bottle being consumed rather than to trust nature. If your baby is progressing well on the baby growth chart (see your Well Child Health Book), then you can trust that he or she is getting enough nutrition. Breastmilk is the perfect food for your baby.

If your baby wakes during the night hungry, this is because breastmilk does not sustain for quite as long as a formula feed. You can help this by eating almonds or a trail mix of nuts and seeds in the afternoon to increase nutrients later in the day. These foods are rich in calcium and magnesium, which will enable a more restful sleep.

At approximately six-months, solids are introduced to the diet, and your baby will be more likely to settle for longer through the night. Ask your Plunket nurse for advice if you are having difficulty with a sleep pattern.

If you are experiencing difficulty breastfeeding seek advice from a lactation consultant.

If you would like me to email an article, 'Just One Bottle Won't Hurt – or Will It?', contact me through the website below. This article discusses the impact of the pH and probiotic profile in the digestive system, and the incidence of allergies with breastmilk and formula-fed babies.

I understand that in some circumstances formula-feeding is a necessary option. I support this, knowing that parents are all doing their best in various situations.