Breastfeeding vs. Formula: The Pros and Cons

Baby is on the way! As a new parent, one of the first important decisions you’ll make is – choosing to breastfeed or bottle-feed your baby. Well, both come with their pros and cons.

This discussion has largely been controversial, often making parents feel judged for choosing bottle-fed baby formula over breast milk. One piece of advice: don’t let the haters get you down.

No matter what you choose, there’s no right or wrong option, just the healthiest choice for you and your baby. Although before making a decision, you’ll want to weigh the pros and cons.

Unsure of how you would like to feed your baby? Let’s make your task easy. 

Breastfeeding

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention(CDC), Breastfeeding is the best source of nutrition for most babies. It also reduces certain health risks for both infants and mothers.

Trusted health organizations like the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and WHO strongly recommend exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months and continuing after solid foods are introduced into the baby’s diet, until at least the age of 1 or longer.

Breastfeeding provides unmatched health benefits for infants and mothers. Most experts recommend breastfeeding newborns and infants to get nutrition and big health benefits.

Via Unicef

Pros:

Convenient and Economical

Breastfeeding is almost free, whereas pumps, bottles, formula, and other bottle-feeding products can be expensive.

Breast milk doesn’t require any preparation. Unlike baby formula, you don’t need to worry about preparing and heating it. Breast milk is ready when your baby is ready.

Healthiest Food for Your Child

Nutrient-rich: Breast milk contains nutrient-rich colostrum that helps your baby to grow and stay healthy.

Promotes a healthy gut: Breastfed babies are less likely to have upset stomachs and diarrhea.

Prevents SIDS/NEC: Unfortunately, some formula products are known to cause necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) and sudden infant death syndrome. (SIDS), both of which are severe and potentially fatal diseases in infants. Such cases have risen, with many parents filing ongoing litigation against Similac baby formula.

Strengthens baby’s immune system; breast milk helps protect infants against pneumonia, ear infections, and bacterial and viral infections.

Might boost IQ: research suggests that breastfed babies, especially exclusively breastfed infants, may have a somewhat higher IQ than formula-fed babies.

Lowers risk for allergies: breastfeeding potentially protects against conditions like asthma and allergies, obesity, and diabetes.

How is it good for you?

Breastfeeding can help your uterus get back to pre-pregnancy size faster. May help with weight loss: Your body’s milk production burns extra calories that might help you with weight loss. It can help you recover from iron deficiency and promote good hormones like oxytocin. It lowers the risk of diseases like cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. Lowers risk of postpartum depression.

Cons:

You Have Less Freedom 

Newborns eat frequently, and you are always on a call. Keeping up with a feeding schedule may be difficult if you need to return to work or run chores. It can be exhausting, especially during the first few weeks when you have to breastfeed your baby every two to three hours.

Your Partner Can’t Feed the Baby 

Your partner might want to feed the infant to help you, but that may be impossible.

Breastfeeding Requires Healthy Lifestyle and Dietary Choices 

You’ll need to consider your diet and lifestyle- your medication use, caffeine, and alcohol intake- and cut on them as they can harm the baby’s health.

Via BDA

Bottle-feeding

Bottle-feeding means feeding your baby breast milk from a bottle or using the baby formula in a bottle. The formula is manufactured, and while it’s regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and does contain nutrients, it is unmatched compared to breastmilk.

Pros

Flexibility: A family member or caretaker can feed your baby. 
Regulate the diet: you can observe your baby’s eating intake.
Low diet: Infants eating formula don’t need to eat as often as breastfed babies.

Cons 

Baby Formula doesn’t provide the same protection against diseases and other infections.
You must mix and prepare the formula to ensure it’s at the correct temperature.
Bottles, rubber nipples, formula, and breast pumps can be expensive.
The formula is known to cause digestive issues like gas and constipation.

A Final Word

Consider contacting a breastfeeding group or pediatrician to learn more. Also, find a breastfeeding coach before your baby is born. Remember that timely and properly feeding the baby is important, whether it’s breastfeeding or bottle-feeding.

And never feel guilty if you need to feed your baby formula.

WE SAID THIS: Don’t miss… Breastfeeding Decoded: A Multi-Perspective Take On The Phenomena

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