Breastfeeding vs. Formula: Is One Better Than the Other?
Before your child even enters the world, you’ll likely have plans about how you’ll care for them. One of the most discussed areas of care is feeding.
Sometimes, parents are very decided on their preferred method of feeding their infant while others are more open to suggestions. Either way, it’s essential to weight your options and also understand that sometimes your preferred method of feeding may not work out for a variety of reasons.
Here, we will examine the differences between breastfeeding and formula feeding so parents can make the most informed choices when it comes to their little one.
The Pros and Cons of Breastfeeding
Breastfeeding is the most natural method for feeding a child.
Groups like The World Health Organization and The American Academy of Pediatrics indicate that this the best option for feeding a baby simply because there are so many health benefits, for mother and child.
There are many advantages to using this method including:
- Breast milk is loaded with valuable nutrients that promote good digestion and immunity.
- There are some studies that indicate a correlation between fewer instances of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome and children who were breastfed.
- Breastfeeding can protect children from diabetes, asthma and other childhood diseases.
- It’s a terrific bonding experience for mother and child.
- It’s cost-effective.
- Breastfeeding requires no prep work.
- The mother experiences a variety of benefits including burning more calories, the uterus contracting down to the regular size, and can even reduce your risk of certain kinds of cancers.
However, make no mistake there are some potential cons for people to consider. Cons of breastfeeding include:
- Breastfeeding can sometimes be painful.
- The process of learning to breastfeed can sometimes be frustrating.
- The scheduled feedings can make it difficult for working mothers to find the time to nurse.
- You have to watch your intake of certain medications, foods, and caffeine.
The cons aren’t intended to push you away from breastfeeding, but it’s a good idea, to be honest with yourself and whether or not breastfeeding is the right choice for you.
The Pros and Cons of Formula Feeding
Formula fed babies can thrive just like breastfed babies. While this method may not be as economical or offer some of the same perks, it is still a quality solution for babies. Advantages include:
- Other people can help feed the baby and create a bonding experience.
- Formula-fed babies generally eat less often than breastfed babies.
- It’s easier to see how much your baby is eating.
- This method is still healthy for the baby.
However, there are a few things to keep in mind as far as cons go. Cons for formula feeding include:
- The formula doesn’t provide the same protection against illnesses and diseases as breast milk.
- Preparing formula is more tedious.
- Babies who are formula-fed may experience baby constipation more often.
As you can see, there are both pros and cons that should be thoroughly investigated before making your decision. Only you can determine if formula feeding is the best option for you and your child.
If you’re trying to narrow down which option is the best for you and your baby then also considering the following:
- Sometimes medical reasons make it difficult or impossible to breastfeed.
- Babies can sometimes develop an intolerance to either breastfeeding or formula based on their own dietary makeup.
- Work and feeding schedules may conflict with one another.
- Consider your personal preferences moving forward.
- Pumping breast milk may also be a viable solution for parents who want to return to work or prefer to use bottles over the breast.
The last point is something that parents don’t always consider.
Pumping breast milk can be a good go-between for individuals who still want to provide their baby a natural form of food without the time commitment to breastfeeding. For working mothers, pumping allows you to pre-fill bottles for the caretaker and return to work.
A few things to keep in mind about pumping:
- In order to keep your milk supply up, you must pump your breasts regularly.
- A good breast pump is often expensive.
- Pumping still requires a time commitment.
It’s important to examine your life and make the choice that most aligns with your availability and parenting goals.
Breastfeeding or formula feeding a child is a personal choice that parents must come to on their own.
Of course, you can always consult your doctor and lactation counselor for more information or to work through difficult decisions. This can be a very stressful decision for some parents, but you can make a more informed decision by collecting information and examining your lifestyle and preferences.
The focus should always be on whether or not the infant is receiving appropriate nutrition which can certainly be accomplished by either method