Feeding Your Baby

NewYork-Presbyterian recognizes and fully supports a new mother’s choice of feeding for her newborn — breastfeeding, formula, or a combination of both. However, we are a breastfeeding-friendly hospital that acknowledges and complies with the New York State Department of Health’s Breastfeeding Mothers’ Bill of Rights.

Because we encourage our new mothers to breastfeed their babies exclusively, we offer a breastfeeding class every day. All of our nurses are thoroughly trained in breastfeeding basics, including techniques and positioning. Also, our International Board Certified Lactation Consultants are registered nurses and can help breastfeeding mothers who are experiencing difficulty. Lactation Consultants are available weekdays and most weekends to support and educate new mothers to help them have a successful breastfeeding experience.

Breastfeeding may not be advised if you are:

  • Living with HIV or AIDS
  • Undergoing chemotherapy for cancer
  • Undergoing radiation therapy, especially of the chest
  • Living with untreated or active tuberculosis
  • Living with the human T-cell lymphotropic virus
  • Currently using drugs, including heroin, opioids, methamphetamine, marijuana, etc.

Many medications can pass from mom to baby through breast milk. Please review your medications with your doctor to prevent your baby from ingesting harmful medication. Babies with galactosemia — an inherited disorder in which the baby is unable to metabolize galactose, a milk sugar — must be fed a special lactose and galactose free diet.


Though breastfeeding is natural, it isn’t always easy. With practice, the process becomes easier. For first-time moms, it may take three to four days to begin producing breast milk. Milk may come in earlier for mothers who had babies before. You’ll know the milk is coming because your breast will feel full.

Your breast may feel engorged — large and swollen — three to five days after delivery. At this time, you should feed frequently and apply cold packs after feeding or pumping. If your infant cannot latch on because of swelling, apply warm wet heat to breasts and express milk before attempting to feed.

You should attempt to breastfeed your baby 8 to 12 times in 24 hours. Your baby shouldn’t go more than four hours without feeding for at least the first two weeks of their life — even throughout the night.

Breast milk storage

Collect and store milk from each pumping session in separate containers or bags. Pumped milk can remain safely at room temperature (70 ºF) for six hours after pumping. It can be refrigerated for up to six days. Frozen breast milk is good for six months. Never microwave breast milk. If it is thawed, do not refreeze.

Formula feeding

If you plan to formula feed your baby, there are some important feeding tips to keep in mind.

  • Your pediatrician will tell you what type of formula to use.
  • Water used to mix powdered formula should be brought to a boil for one minute then cooled before mixing with formula.
  • The ready-to-feed formula requires no preparation or additional water.
  • The formula should be at room temperature when you feed your baby. Be sure it is warm, not hot.
  • The refrigerated formula can be store up to 48 hours.
  • Use powdered formula within one month of opening the container. Do not store the container in the refrigerator.

For more information, please consult with your doctor’s office.