Breastfeeding vs Formula Feeding: Deciding Which Is Best For You
Once you find out you’re expecting, you’re going to have a lot of decisions to make.
And one of the most important is whether you will breastfeed or formula feed.
There are definite advantages and disadvantages to both, and it ultimately comes down to what you feel the most comfortable doing (despite what anyone else thinks).
And to help make your decision easier, I’ve laid out some important points for you to consider.
Why Breastfeeding Might Be For You
Directly feeding your baby from your breasts may be for you if:
5 Benefits of Breastfeeding
There are many benefits of breastfeeding, but here are some really important ones:
- 1Specifically made for your baby. Breast milk is formulated especially for your baby’s unique needs. It is loaded with the nutrients they need to continue to develop and thrive, and it can be especially useful for premature babies.
- 2Helps with postpartum healing. Your uterus shrinks much faster when you nurse and your bleeding subsides faster. You're also more inclined to lose your baby weight faster because your body is burning tons of calories producing milk and dispensing it! Woo hoo!
- 3Reduces illness and infection. Your baby has a reduced chance of having an ear infection and other respiratory illnesses.
- 4Promotes a healthy weight. Breastfed babies tend to have a lessened chance of being obese in childhood and throughout their life.
- 5Cost-effective. Breast milk is free! This is a huge reason why many moms nurse.
Possible Downsides of Breastfeeding
Breastfeeding isn't without its downsides, so here are some things to consider:
Why Formula Feeding Might Be For You
Some moms rely on formula feeding to provide nourishment and nutrients to their little one. It may be for you if:
5 Benefits of Formula Feeding
- 1Provides nutrients and nourishment. Formula is designed so well today, it virtually mimics breast milk. Your baby will still receive plenty of essentials by drinking from a bottle.
- 2Easier to learn. Latching can take time, but babies pick up on nursing from a bottle’s nipple pretty quickly.
- 3It travels well. You can make up a bottle pretty much anywhere, as the powdered formula is easy to preserve and mix. And, you don’t have to worry about having your privacy invaded during a feeding.
- 4Increases dexterity. Many babies who are bottle fed get used to holding onto their bottle when fed, which leads to independent feeding sooner than breastfed babies, because their hands are stronger.
- 5Bonding moment. While you may not have that skin to skin action, you can still bond with your baby through bottle feedings by making eye contact, cuddling, and rocking!
Possible Downsides of Formula Feeding
Formula feeding can have some downsides; here are some things to consider:
What If My Milk Doesn't Come In?
You may have decided that you definitely want to breastfeed, but your milk has decided differently.
Did you know that an estimated 1%-5% or women cannot produce milk? This can happen due to the following reasons:
In addition, you may have inverted nipples or suffer from postpartum depression, and this could also affect milk production and delivery of nutrients during the feeding process.
Don’t give in and allow them a “quick nurse” as this will reinforce to your child that their pleading is effective and can make it more difficult the next time you try to say no.
While the statistic is low, it does happen. So, it’s best to have a back up plan and trust in the fact that formula will help nourish your child.
Also, some babies may just not be able to latch and will be labeled as having “feeding problems”, because they’ll be unable to transfer milk.
Formulate a Plan of Action
The good news is that there’s a lactation specialist stationed at every hospital, as well as lactation consultants (most insurance companies cover this) that live in your area who are ready and willing to help you with your problems and questions.
Together, you can formulate a plan of action that will either help you reach your nursing goals, or provide the right amount of milk (regardless of its form) to your infant.
Because it’s possible that your milk may not come in, regardless of how motivated you are to nurse, you may want to prepare for this event and register for a bottle set, just in case.
The set can always be returned if unused and this helps ensure preparedness and the realization that this could occur.
Just remember to stay positive during the process and keep an open mind that things may not always happen as planned.
So, which method will you select?
As a mother, you have the right to choose how you want to feed your child.
While both the bottle and the breast have advantages and disadvantages, there is a method that is right for each family.
Choose the method based on your interest, lifestyle, and needs.
Regardless of your choice, your child will grow and thrive, and the act of feeding, despite your method, will serve as a pure bonding moment.