For new parents it may be difficult to know if what you’re doing is the right thing or if you’re doing it the right way. There are many questions new parents may have and although we can’t answer everything in one blog I can help you out with this one. Formula or breast milk: which one is better? The answer to this is really easy, there are positives and negatives to both of these but the right answer is that it really depends on what works best for you and your family and preferences.
To help you make this decision, this blog will be discussing both breastfeeding and formula feeding.
Breastfeeding is known to be the most ideal way to feed your baby. All the medical professionals will tell you this, the main reasons for this have a lot to do with health. Yours and your baby’s health.
In the first week or so it is essential your baby receives colostrum which is found in your breast milk during these first few days. Natural breast milk promotes a healthy digestive system and strengthens the immune system by adding infection fighting antibodies into their system which repel bacteria. There can be a lot less gas and bloating in your baby. Natural breast milk provides the body with good protein and amino acids that lower the risk of diseases such as asthma and allergies. It is also shown in studies to help prevent diabetes and obesity.
For the mother, it can help by assisting in recovering quickly by promoting weight loss and helping your uterus heal. It can prevent your period from coming back which helps preserve some iron. Breastfeeding can promote healthy hormones that help lower the risk of Postpartum depression which can be very common in new mothers. Also, there are some more awesome bonuses such as breast milk being essentially free and always there for your baby when they are hungry. Obviously, for all these reasons it seems as though breastfeeding is the best option but there can be some downsides to it as well.
While breastfeeding your baby it will be hard to measure how much they’re eating and it is hard to know if they are eating enough. Some of these are finding the time to constantly pump for your baby or feed them. For working mothers, this can be very difficult to be there for your babies every need. Day to day activities such as running errands or picking up groceries may be hard due to the constant need to eat from your baby. Constantly feeding can be hard on your body as well such as normal discomfort, sore nipples and general exhaustion. While breastfeeding you need to watch your daily intake of caffeine, alcohol, medication and anything else that can be transferred through breast milk which is something to consider.
The next best option for your child is Formula feeding. In most doctors opinion is natural breast milk is better. While this may be true it isn’t necessarily what is best for every family.
If a mother's milk has not come in yet it might be challenging for the new mom and she may feel discouraged. The biggest thing to know is that starting with formula while waiting on your milk production is not something to be disappointed about. Formula has been designed for these situations and can still provide your child with the necessary nutrients until your milk comes in. If a mom doesn't feel she is producing enough milk, formula is a good nourishment in between feeds to help support breastfeeding. If a mother can no longer breastfeed then having the formula to help is beneficial.
Some new moms use formula milk so they can accurately track to see how much their baby is eating which will help them know if their child is getting enough. Being fed from a bottle gives opportunity to your partner or other family members to bond with the baby during feeding time. Formula fed babies do not eat as often as breastfed babies which can be easier for moms who can not constantly feed the baby. Formula milk also gives the new mother the opportunity to return to work shortly after the baby is born which may be better options for mothers who enjoy working or their partner is staying home with the baby instead. These are all good reasons to consider formula as it can be a lot easier on the family and assist in times of need.
Unfortunately what you read in a lot of research articles is that formula milk may not be the healthiest option for babies. It is harder to control the protein content your baby is getting. Formula is designed to mimic breast milk but unfortunately it is hard to make it with the exact content required for every child. Formula unfortunately doesn’t provide the same protection against infections and diseases. This can create your baby from having more availability to contract a cold or infections. It also doesn't have those protective aspects as breast milk that coat the intestinal tract which can increase gas and constipation.
Aside from the health reasons to choose breast milk over Formula you will also have to prepare the formula to a correct temperature and measurement which may be hard to get exactly correct. Formula will also need to be mixed with clean water and a big issue for some families is they may not have 24/7 access to clean water. On top of that, formula expenses do add up where, like we said before, breast milk is essentially free.
Although breastfeeding may be the best way of feeding scientifically, this doesn’t always work for every family. It is always recommended to start feeding with breast milk and if need be, move onto formula. However if this doesn’t work for your family do not feel guilt as they have had many years of scientific research on making formula mimic breast milk as best as they can to provide your child with the best nutrients.