How can I support feeding my baby now that we have a Down syndrome diagnosis?
Many new parents worry that the diagnosis of DS will affect how they need to approach feeding their new baby. Fortunately, this is an issue that is common to both parents of typical children and parents of children with DS. In the first few months, it can seem like feeding is all that your day revolves around!
It’s widely acknowledged that breastfeeding can be highly beneficial for babies with Down syndrome. Breast milk provides protective properties from the mother that are not replicated in formula. This can be especially important in babies with DS as they can be more susceptible to infections, particularly respiratory infections. Furthermore, breastfeeding can help develop oral motor skills that will be important throughout your child’s development. However, establishing a good breastfeeding relationship can be affected by low muscle tone and every mother needs to decide what works best for her and her baby.
Many of us reached out extensively to lactation consultants and breastfeeding clinics to support us through the early days. For many of us, a combination of breastfeeding, pumping, formula and bottle feeding was what supported our children through their first weeks as their strength grew and we, as parents, became more comfortable with our new routines. Pumping and breastfeeding aids may be particularly helpful during the first few months, allowing your child to receive breast milk even if latching and strength are issues you face.
We’ve gathered some information regarding breastfeeding babies with DS:
Breastfeeding your baby with Down Syndrome
We’ve also put together a list of breastfeeding/feeding resources here in Toronto, highlighting those that have experience supporting newborns with Down syndrome:
(888) 807-0650 or (289) 233-1957
Private lactation consultant with experience supporting newborns with Down syndrome: Carolyn Barrera does home visits. 416-270-1091