Feeding your baby

Mom nursing small baby

Breast milk or formula should be the only source of nutrition for about the first six months of your baby’s life – and an important source of nutrition for the first 12 months. Talk with your health care team and your partner about what is best for you and your family. You and your baby’s health care team will want to monitor your baby’s eating patterns and growth.

Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding can be a special time for mom and baby to bond, and offers health benefits to the both. 

For mom, breastfeeding can: 

  • decrease the risk of  postpartum depression (PPD)
  • help your uterus go back to its normal size
  • burn extra calories
  • decrease risk of breast and ovarian cancer 

For baby, breastfeeding can: 

  • protect against common childhood illnesses and infections
  • reduce risk of Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)
  • help prevent asthma and diabetes
  • reduce risk of obesity 

If you are unable to feed at the breast or choose not to, you are eligible for a double electric or manual breast pump as part of your WellFirst Health coverage. We also have certified lactation counselors available to provide support for breastfeeding and pumping.

Find out more 

Formula feeding

If you’re planning to use formula to feed your baby, we recommend talking with your baby’s health care team about the appropriate formula to meet your baby’s needs.  It is important to be aware of how to prepare and store your baby’s formula safely – for more information, see the Centers for Disease Control. 

Donor milk 

In some situations, parents consider using breast milk from a family member, friend or other donor to feed their baby. You should be sure to discuss this with your baby’s doctor because of nutritional needs based on age and overall health.

It is also very important to know and understand the risks of using breast milk from a source other than the baby’s mother. Do not use breast milk from unscreened donors because of the safety risks. There are human milk banks that screen milk donors and take the necessary steps to ensure the milk is safe for a baby to drink.

More information on donor human breast milk:

To donate

If you are able and wish to donate, contact Missouri Breastfeeding Coalition