breastfeeding vs formula

Breastfeeding vs Formula

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Many pregnant women spend a great deal of thought considering whether they wish to breastfeed or use formula when the baby arrives. Either option provides an infant with the nutrition that they need to grow and maintain optimal health, but there are many differences between the two options. Understanding the advantages and disadvantages of breastfeeding or using formula can help you to make the best decision for you and your specific situation. The “best” approach is not the same for everyone and in every situation, so here are some of the pros and cons of breastfeeding vs formula feeding. This information can help you to make the best decision for your specific situation. Breastfeeding vs formula is an incredibly common debate.  

Breastfeeding

This method is often touted as the “best” method for the nutrition of a child. In fact, the APA recommends that children be solely breastfed for the first 6 months to provide them with the best possible nutrition. There are a multitude of benefits to breastfeeding your children, rather than using formula to provide them with nutrition. However, this doesn’t mean that it is the only option available for mothers. In some situations, breastfeeding may not be possible due to medical conditions with the mother. Implementing the right method for you is important to ensure the best process possible and the superior health for your baby.

Advantages

When a fetus develops, it will develop a healthy microbiome from the mother’s body. These beneficial bacteria help to fight disease and keep the infant healthy. Unfortunately, this bacteria culture is unique to both the mother and the baby, which means that it can’t be replicated through the use of formula for your baby’s nutrition. Breastfeeding is the best way to foster this and protect the health of the baby. Breast milk is a solution that is easily digestible, and contains a great blend of vitamins, fat, and proteins. Breastfeeding can help to enhance bonding between the mother and infant, because it provides skin to skin contact. This method helps to defend against ear infections, meningitis, and diarrhea. Aside from expenses with optional equipment, like breast pumps and bottles, breastfeeding is free, which makes it a far less expensive option between the two alternatives.

In addition to saving the money spent on formula, breastfeeding has been shown to reduce the likelihood of illnesses. This helps to save you even more money on doctor visits and medications. Breastfeeding has been shown to help prevent allergies from developing, as well as protect against multiple chronic conditions. Most experts recommend that breastfeeding be done until the baby is 12 months old and longer, if possible for the mother and baby. The taste of breastmilk will change slightly, depending on what the mother has eaten. This can help to introduce the baby gradually to new flavors. Aside from the health benefits to the baby, breastfeeding burns calories. It can help to restore the mother to pre-pregnancy weight more quickly, which can significantly improve the confidence of the mother.    

Disadvantages

Pain is rather common in the beginning of breastfeeding. This should only occur in the first little while, so you may need to obtain medical care if the pain lasts all the way through the feeding or longer than 7 to 10 days. It is referred to as “latch on pain” that occurs within the first minute of breastfeeding. It also requires a substantial time commitment. The mother must either pump and store her breastmilk or be present in order for the baby to eat, which can significantly limit her schedule’s flexibility. When a mother is breastfeeding, she must be careful to follow a nutritious diet, because this will reflect in the nutrients of the breast milk. Drinking alcohol and excessive caffeine consumption must also be avoided while breastfeeding.

Formula Feeding

breastfeeding vs formula

Formula feeding is another alternative for infants. It is a form of feeding that can be particularly useful in specific situations, such as a mother who must work full-time and doesn’t have the time to breastfeed or has a medical condition that prohibits her from breastfeeding. Just like breastfeeding, there are certainly advantages and disadvantages to choosing to use formula rather than breastfeeding.

Advantages

Though formula feeding can’t replicate the natural bacteria of the mother’s body, it does provide excellent nutrition. In fact, vitamin D is often not present in breast milk, which is why many experts recommend that infants have vitamin D supplements early on. Formula, however, does contain all of the nutrients that an infant needs, including vitamin D. It is a more convenient alternative, as it allows the mother’s partner to help with feedings, as well as makes feeding times more flexible. In addition, infants tend to stay full longer with formula than breast milk, as it is digested less quickly. When formula feeding, the mother doesn’t have to be concerned about her diet, as it won’t impact the health of the baby.

Disadvantages

Formula feeding tends to be far more expensive, as the costs associated with purchasing formula can accumulate quickly. It can also result in constipation, as it is more difficult for an infant’s body to digest. It tends to provide fewer nutritional advantages than breast milk.

Breastfeeding vs Formula

Ultimately, the best method to choose will depend specifically on your situation. Consult with your medical care provider to decide on the best option. Breastfeeding tends to be the healthiest alternative, but it requires significantly more work. Formula feeding costs more, but it is a far more flexible method for feeding a baby. Take the advantages and disadvantages into account before making a final decision on which approach to take.

Here at My Family Birth Center, we strive to provide the services you need to complete a successful, healthy pregnancy. This includes implementing effective planning services to protect the health of the baby after birth. We can provide you with information and guidance to make the best decisions for yourself and your baby. To learn more about the services that we provide to optimize your pregnancy process, contact our experts at My Family Birth Center today!

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