Hi everyone. Today I will be talking about baby formula vs breastfeeding. This is maybe one of the biggest decisions a new mum has to make and it is probably the most confusing/important one.
I will be sharing some benefits and disadvantages of both breastfeeding and formula feeding, so you can find it easier to make your choice.
There is a lot of talks about which is the best way to feed your baby and from my personal experience, I have seen the amount of pressure that is put on new mum’s to breastfeed. But if this is the option that you want to take, there are lots of resources and help available, just ask your midwife.
Benefits of breastfeeding?
- Health benefits for both mum and baby. There is a reduced risk of health problems such as breast cancer, diabetes, heart disease and obesity, to name a few. Lower risk of postpartum depression.
- Breastfeeding helps with recovery.
- Breast milk contains more natural nutrients than formula milk.
- It helps to promote brain growth and development.
- It helps to improve the baby’s immunity as breast milk contains infection fighting antibodies.
- Breast milk is easier to digest.
- No preparation time is needed, just feed on demand. Also, the milk is always the correct temperature.
- And it is completely FREE. (Just the added nursing bras and breast pads and breast pumps, of course).
- It strengthens the bond between a mother and baby.
- Provides comfort for when baby is upset or ill.
Disadvantages of breastfeeding?
- Only mum has to do the feeds unless she has expressed some milk.
- As its easier to digest, baby will need feeding more often.
- It can get uncomfortable, cracked nipples, biting, could catch an infection – mastitis.
- Hard for some to feed in public, could get uncomfortable with people staring and some mum’s might feel embarrassed to feed in public as they do not want to show their body. It can be hard to find places with baby feeding rooms or facilities for more privacy.
- Breastfeeding needs lots of patience and mum’s need to be persistent in order to ‘master’ breastfeeding. It can get frustrating for some and some people tend to give up quick because it needs a lot of time.
- It’s hard to get a break or go out for a long period of time as baby needs feeding more often. A lot more planning is needed before even thinking about going out, making sure there’s enough milk expressed.
- Diet has to be planned around what is beneficial for the baby. Mum has to watch the use of medication and be aware of her calorie intake.
- Can’t measure how much baby has drank.
A lot of new mums assume that this not a good way of feeding your baby because that’s what a lot of people say. Also, because from the time of your midwife’s appointment, to the birth of your baby and even after, you are always told about the benefits of breastfeeding and the ways you can breastfeed, but not much about formula feeding. But if it wasn’t good for your baby, then why would this even be an option?! Food for thought.
Benefits of bottle/formula feeding?
- There is so much more flexibility for the mum as with bottle feeding, others can help with feeding and baby doesn’t solely rely on mum for a feed.
- The baby can bond with both mum and dad and also other family members who help with feeding. It forms a close bond between the baby and others.
- More convenient as baby can be fed anywhere, anytime and by anyone! And it is less invasive.
- You can tell how much your baby is drinking.
- The baby will feel full for longer as formula milk takes longer to digest.
- It is easier to set a feeding routine as you know when and how much baby has drank.
- Formula milk contains important nutrients which help baby to grow.
- Some baby formulas have added vitamins.
- Mum doesn’t have to change her diet, you don’t have to worry about eating the wrong things or not being able to meet the nutritional needs of your baby.
Disadvantages of bottle/formula feeding?
- The obvious one is the cost. Formula milk is quite expensive to buy, with the added need for feeding products (bottles, teats, sterilizers, etc)
- It is less convenient at night, when you have to get up and make the bottle, extra time to make the bottle. Tip – I used a thermos flask and filled it up with boiling water at night, pre-filled a little tub with how much formula I needed, and had a jug of cold water ready to cool the bottle while I was changing the baby’s nappy, so I didn’t have to go down or spend extra time filling the kettle etc.
- Formula milk is more heavier on the digestive system and can cause constipation in some babies.
After I had my first baby, almost immediately the midwife tried to talk me into breastfeeding and how ‘breast is best’.
My baby did not latch on, I had to stay in the hospital an extra 2 days, just so they could see my baby latching on. He still didn’t. I just wanted to go home but there was so much pressure to breastfeed, so we kept trying and trying and trying.
Eventually I went to bottle feeding, just so I could go home. I thought I’ll try again at home where there is less pressure and I’m more comfortable.
I still found it hard to get him to latch on. After 3 weeks of trying, I changed to formula feeding fully. It was so much better and less stressful for me to do it because at that point I was exhausted and so stressed out with trying to get him to latch on.
Also, in between, I caught mastitis, which made me very ill. I had to go on antibiotics for it. It just made my breastfeeding experience bad.
It was the best decision for me and I could enjoy my baby more without putting my full focus on breastfeeding.
The thing I took from this is although there are lots of benefits in breastfeeding, that is not the only option available.
Formula feeding also has its advantages and disadvantages. Just as breastfeeding.
So, Breastfeeding or Formula feeding?
It’s entirely your choice!
Not everyone is in the same situation, some people can’t breastfeed or just find it easier to formula feed. Whatever the reason is, just remember this is YOUR baby and therefore it is YOUR choice to make. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
Do NOT let anyone pressure you into their preferred way of feeding. Do what is best for you and your baby. You just have to know that your baby is well-fed, well cared for and well-loved!
So that comes to the end of my post, I really hope you found this information beneficial. If you have any questions or comments, please leave them below. Thank you for reading 🙂