How To Decide Between Breastfeeding vs. Formula Feeding

If you decide between these two options, I will try to help you find a solution to this problem. Formula milk is an excellent option for many parents, but it’s not suitable for everyone. Although I feel breast milk is the best food for babies, I also understand that not everyone can breastfeed or want to.

Depending on your life situation, formula feeding might be more accessible. And there’s nothing wrong with that. I’ve formula-fed my babies, so I’ve been there too.

Choose to breastfeed

Breastfeeding vs formula feeding: What’s the difference?

It’s a question often in parenting forums and groups, not just because of the health benefits. Breastfeeding is often seen as more feminine than formula feeding, and parents who are uncomfortable with this idea may be concerned about the impact on their children. As a result, there are many questions about whether breastfeeding is better than formula feeding—and why there is so much controversy surrounding this issue.

As always, the answer depends on your situation. In general, breastfeeding has been shown to provide many health benefits for babies—from reducing the risk of SIDS to helping reduce allergies later in life. Formula-fed babies can still be healthy; however, these studies show that breastfeeding does have some benefits over formula feeding for both mother and child.

Breastfeeding vs formula feeding: Which is better?

If you’ve decided to breastfeed your Baby, congratulations! The benefits of breastfeeding are enormous, from boosting your Baby’s immune system to helping him sleep better and reducing his risk of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome). But if you’re unsure whether you should breastfeed—or if you’ve decided that formula feeding is the best choice for your family—it can be hard to know what’s best for your Baby.

The American Academy of Pediatrics,  the American Academy of Family Physicians, and the World Health Organization all recommend that mothers breastfeed their babies (exclusively) for the first six months of life. Despite this, surveys by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that by three months of age, only 40% of women are exclusively breastfeeding. In other words, like it or not, 60% are formula feeding.

Is formula milk as good as breast milk?

Formula milk does not contain all of the nutrients breastmilk does; therefore, it cannot provide the same benefits for your Baby. However, recent studies have shown that even though formula milk lacks some nutrients from breast milk (such as specific vitamins), it is still perfectly safe for babies to drink and does not cause any health problems. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that infants be fed formula until they are six months old. After this time, breast milk or cow’s milk can be introduced into your child’s diet.

Commercially available baby formula has been with us for 50 years and will likely stay. This is especially true since baby formula manufacturers continue to improve their products, making formulas even closer to breast milk.

Breastfeeding vs. formula feeding – Why not breastfeed?

So, who chooses formula feeding and why? It is important to note that not all women can feed their babies due to various reasons or insufficient milk supply. Here are some examples:

  • Women who do not want to breastfeed
  • Women who go back to work
  • Women who do not produce any, or enough, breast milk
  • Women who are taking medication, drugs, or are ill
  • Women who have had breast surgery or breast implants
  • Premature babies who cannot suck
  • Babies born with congenital disabilities like cleft lip
  • Babies born with lactose intolerance

Breastfeeding vs Formula feeding

Women who do not want to breastfeed

I was formula-fed as a baby, and I am not alone. Formula feeding was trendy back then: it showed that you were sophisticated and appreciated the “science” of feeding your Baby – the “formula,” as it were. Feeding formula also showed that you were wealthy enough to buy food for your Baby instead of relying on the stuff coming out of your body.

Well, it’s no wonder that many women of today’s generation choose formula feeding over breast milk. Why not continue a trend that works well enough? After all, we were bottle-fed as babies and turned out fine. (*Research shows that breastfeeding prevents childhood obesity. If this is true, then perhaps formula-fed babies don’t “turn out just fine.”)

In addition to their positive attitude towards formula feeding, there’s also the fact that breastfeeding is not easy. So, if you’re uncomfortable with breastfeeding or have no interest in breastfeeding, go to formula! This survey shows that 66% of first-time moms “preferred to bottle feed” as a reason for not breastfeeding.

It is far healthier for you to formula feed your Baby and be happy instead of breastfeeding your Baby and being depressed. Babies know your emotional state, so don’t force yourself to breastfeed and then hate yourself or your Baby for doing so. Go formula.

Women who go back to work

In today’s competitive and busy world, women often return to work soon after their Baby is born. Some women are fortunate enough to have a private office or an understanding supervisor to have their Baby brought to them, fed, and then taken away. In reality, this scenario is somewhat rare; women don’t have the choice to breastfeed their baby while at work.

Formula is the easier way for working Moms, and you don’t need to fret or worry. If you can, please breastfeed your Baby for the few weeks you are on maternity leave. This study shows that women who plan to go back to work:
(1) do start breastfeeding, but
(2) breastfed for a shorter period, and
(3) The length of breastfeeding depended on the length of their maternity leave.

Remember that breast milk has antibodies that have not been reproduced in any store-bought formula. Thus, even if you breastfeed for one week, that would help Baby get a good start in life.
An alternative to the formula is to express your breast milk and have the care provider feed your baby breast milk through a bottle.

Women who do not produce any, or enough, breast milk

Time and time again, I hear stories of women who stopped breastfeeding because their bodies did not produce any milk or enough milk. If this happens to you, the next best thing is to feed your baby formula.

Remember these facts before you throw in the towel and declare your breasts non-functional.
Your body makes colostrum the first 4 or 5 days after Baby is born. This early form of milk is colorless or pale yellow, and there isn’t much of it. The white milk that everyone is familiar with comes about a week later. So when you see that your breasts are not bursting with wonderful breast milk, don’t abandon breastfeeding immediately. Consult your doctor or a lactation specialist. Maybe you can make breast milk; you need a little time for the milk to come in.

Another essential thing to remember is that the amount of breast milk your body makes changes depending on how often the Baby sucks. So, if you’re not making enough milk, you could try to breastfeed more often so that your body increases the supply. Don’t jeopardize your Baby’s health, though – if your Baby isn’t getting enough milk to thrive, go to formula.

There are three alternatives to the formula:
(1) hire a wet nurse
(2) Try to get breast milk from a milk bank,
(3) Continue to breastfeed and supplement formula feeding.

The women who told me they didn’t make enough breast milk all had small breasts. I have small breasts, too, yet I made breast milk fine. Lactation consultants and other experts say that breast size does not affect the ability to make breast milk. However, these things may decrease your milk supply:
– stress,
– lack of confidence,
– poor latch on by the Baby,
– Baby not given enough time to suck at the breasts,
– Mother has a poor diet or does not drink enough water.

Formula feeding

Women who are sick or are taking medication/drugs

Some sicknesses, such as tuberculosis, hepatitis, and AIDS, can be transmitted from mother to Baby via breast milk. In these cases, the formula is best. If you have an existing disease, tell your doctor. If you are unsure, let your doctor know so he can have you tested. In some cases, such as hepatitis B, the doctor may prescribe preventive medicines right after the Baby is born so that he does not contract the disease.

Some medications and drugs can pass into the breast milk and affect the Baby. Again, it would be best to use formula so that Baby is safe from the harmful effects of chemical agents. The pharmaceutical industry is producing more and more drugs to treat various conditions. Very few of these drugs have been tested to determine their effect on breastfed babies – so beware.

Even before the Baby is born, medication and drugs may affect the baby growing inside you. Consult your doctor: Perhaps alternatives are known to be harmless to your Baby. Or, your doctor may be able to advise you on therapies or treatment centers to free yourself of chemical dependency.

The US Food and Drug Association (FDA) lists drugs that should NOT be used when breastfeeding:

  • Bromocriptine (Parlodel), most Chemotherapy drugs for cancer, Ergotamine, Lithium, Methotrexate, drugs of abuse, tobacco smoke

The American Academy of Pediatrics has an extensive article on various drugs that accumulate in breast milk and their effects on breastfed babies. A partial list of drugs which ARE compatible with breastfeeding can be found here:

  • acetaminophen
  • many antibiotics
  • most antihistamines
  • alcohol in moderation
  • most antihypertensives
  • aspirin (with caution)
  • anti-epileptics (Primidone, with caution)
  • Caffeine (moderate)
  • codeine
  • decongestants
  • ibuprofen
  • insulin
  • quinine
  • thyroid medications

Breastfeeding vs Formula Feeding – more reasons to use baby formula:

  • Women who have had breast surgery or breast implants
  • Premature babies who cannot suck
  • Babies born with congenital disabilities like cleft lip
  • Babies born with lactose intolerance

So what does this mean? Should you choose formula or breastmilk? If you can breastfeed your child, then you should do so! Breastfeeding has been shown to have many benefits for both mother and child, including lowering their risk for certain diseases like diabetes later in life.

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