Breastfeeding vs Formula Milk Feeding
“Breastmilk is the ultimate milk for babies”, you get to hear this statement all the time, everywhere! However, some mothers still choose to feed their babies with formula over breastmilk.
In some cases personal circumstances may affect this decision where the mother is unable to breastfeed her baby due to various reasons and has to go with formula milk feeding. The inability to breastfeed could be for reasons that can include medical health reasons, personal reasons or various other complications. Whereas some mothers just simply decide not to breastfeed and feed their babies with formula milk instead. It is the mother’s decision at the end of the day. However, in order to make a good choice whether to breastfeed or formula milk feed your little one, getting some knowledge about both feeding methods is a good idea.
Both baby feeding methods, breastfeeding and formula milk feeding, has it’s positive and negatives. It depends on you which one you find more beneficial for your baby and for yourself. Below we explain both methods of feeding for your little one, mentioning the positives and some negatives for each method of feeding.
It is perceived as a conventional method of feeding for newborns and infants. In old days, all parents used to breastfeed their babies as it was the only feeding option available for newborns. Parents thought it’s the best option for them for variety of reasons, such as economy, baby’s health and availability. And these three main reasons are still valid till date.
It is one of the most trusted method for feeding baby. World over large health maintenance organizations such as WHO and large number of health practitioners recommend breast feeding to be the best way to get necessary nutrition for babies. In Australia it is highly recommended to new mothers to give their babies breast milk at least upto 6 initial months. It can further be continued as per choice till baby reaches the age of one but some mothers also like to keep breastfeeding their babies till they become toddlers.
Positives of Breastfeeding
It is perceived that babies who are fed on mother’s milk develop more immunity against catching diseases and remain less sick than infants who are not given mother’s milk at least for initial 6 months after birth.
It helps create attachment between mother and the newborn. It gives them quality time to develop an unconditional love and unbreakable connection and care for each other.
Since mother’s milk is easily and freely available anywhere, anytime for the baby, so it makes it more preferred method. Whereas formula feeding involves a lot of cost and effort such as buying milk expression pumps, baby milk bottles, best quality formula milk powder ready to drink milk and even baby bottle cleaning products.
Time and Energy Saver
While your baby is on formula milk, you have to
keep the formula milk related products clean and keep it ready, as your baby may need it any time. And definitely you need time and energy to do it all. Whereas breast milk is always ready to drink that means no need to prepare it.
As your baby becomes so addicted to breastfeeding that whenever he/she is restless he finds comfort in sucking on milk from his/her mom’s breast only. It is the most easiest way to calm your baby down. As baby feels very safe while sleeping in mom’s lap.
Natural source of nutrition
Breastfeeding is the best source that provides milk containing every nutrient that your baby needs to grow and to keep your baby healthy.
Breastfed milk helps improve baby’s digestion. It is observed that breastfed babies don’t get much digestion issues or any frequent complaints like tummy-ache or loose motions etc.
It is also observed in some cases that breastfed babies grow smarter than babies who are kept on formula.
Protection Against Allergies
Babies who are given mother’s milk are potentially more stronger to repel allergies like asthma, food etc.
Good for Premature infants
Babies who are born premature need more care and energy to recover and survive. And mother’s milk is supposed to be the best source to help premature babies grow and stay healthy.
Breastfeeding Positives for Mother
Breastfeeding helps faster reduction of size of uterus to normal. It helps you reduce your weight faster by burning your extra calories. It is seen very commonly that breastfeeding mothers start loosing weight very fast (within a month) than formula feeding moms. Such milk releases a hormone that develops a longer lasting relationship between you and your baby.
Moreover according to a research, breastfeeding reduces chances of you getting cancer e.g. breast cancer, ovarian cancer as well as heart problems, blood pressure and diabetes.
In conclusion it is best for you and for your baby’s health. You can keep breastfeeding your baby as long as your health and circumstances permit.
Negatives of Breastfeeding
There are also some limitations and disadvantages of breastfeeding:
At early stage you would find difficult to breastfeed but slowly will learn to manage it.
Despite writing your baby’s duration of feeding you would feel that your baby is still hungry as there is no way to confirm the baby’s tummy being full.
You are not allowed to take any antibiotics, or use alcohol or caffeine during the time period when your baby is on breastfeed. As these all pass to baby through your milk.
Feeding at night
It is really hard to stay up at night and feed baby whenever he/she needs.
Work and breastfeeding
If you are working woman then it becomes really difficult to leave your baby.
Formula feeding is very much popular in this fast paced society. Where health practitioners recommend mother’s milk to be the first choice for your baby’s health, the second option they give is formula feeding. Despite it being an artificial way to provide necessary nutrients to your baby, many people try to avoid it to begin with. But avoiding it completely is not possible for many advantages it provides.
Positives of Formula Feeding
First and the biggest reason of using formula milk is that your baby is not dependent upon your body to get his feed. Anyone from your family or any hired care taker can make the formula milk after reading the written instructions and feed it to the baby. It is best for working ladies.
It becomes much easier to see how much your baby needs it and how much you should give as per baby’s health and weight. Many people top up formula after breast feeding as baby does not feel satisfied by just having breastfeed.
As your baby feels full now, so he/she sleeps well. And you do not need to feed him/her very often.
It gives you freedom to enjoy your alcoholic drinks or take any medicines (antibiotics) in case you need them, as now you baby will not be affected by it.
Negatives of Formula Feeding
Biggest disadvantage is that it does not provide same natural nutrients as mother’s milk, which makes it less protective for baby against any allergies or infections.
Preparing it right
Preparing formula with right quantity and at right temperature is very necessary as it can be really dangerous otherwise for baby’s health. Therefore one must be very careful about it.
Time and energy consuming
Keeping the stock of the related products such as baby milk Bottles, formula milk powder and right sized nipples are time and energy consuming as well as costly.
Keeping baby formula products clean and ready is tiring and time consuming. Some parents have complained about their babies suffering from digestion issues due to Formula feeding.
Learn about storing breast milk in the right way to prevent your baby from starving when you are not available for the baby. Please see our related article How to store breastmilk the right way?