New and expectant parents always have to decide whether to breastfeed or formula feed their babies. However, health trainers believe in breastfeeding as the best nutritional choice for infants.

For most people, the decision to feed their children on breast milk or formula depends on many things which include their way of living, comfort level, and specific medical conditions.

For new mothers who can’t breastfeed or just decide not to, due to various reasons, infant formula feeding is a healthy alternative. Now, what parents should know is that coming up with the best feeding program is a personal one.

It is your personal analysis and weighing of each of these methods that can help you know what is best for you. Some people will also choose to use both the methods, which is also harmless

All About Breastfeeding

The nursing period is usually a very wonderful time for both baby and mother. Oftentimes, you will realize that a baby stares directly into the mother’s eye while breastfeeding.

It helps create a personal attachment between the two parties that many mothers cherish. A number of health organizations and baby care professionals including the American Academy of Pediatrics and the World Health Organization (WHO)-suggest that breastfeeding is the best choice for babies.

Breastfeeding is particularly essential in defending your infant against infections, prevent allergic reactions, and protect against several chronic diseases.

Starting from the colostrum that helps coat your newborn’s stomach lining to the developed milk that helps your baby grow strong, each and every drop of breast milk contains several beneficial components.

Benefits of breastfeeding

  • Ease of digestion; Oftentimes referred to as the ‘perfect meal’, breast milk’s contents like the proteins and fats are easily digested by a newborn’s system.
  • Different tastes; Mothers need around 500 extra calories per day which obviously comes from a well-balanced diet. This enables the babies to feed on different tastes through breast milk which has different flavors.
  • Breast milk is free; Breast milk does not cost even a single cent. Unless you are pumping the breast milk, there is absolutely no need for bottles and any supply that can be costly.
  • Bonding; Breastfeeding helps create a unique bond between the mother and the baby. During breastfeeding, the infant is either playing with the other breast, not in use, or looking straight into the eyes of the mother. This is the reason why most babies will first identify their mothers before anybody else.
  • Convenience; Breast milk is always available. There is no last-minute rush to the store for more like is the case with formula.
  • Fighting infections; Babies who are breastfed have very few infections and hospitalizations than formula-fed ones. During breastfeeding, some antibodies and germ-fighting factors pass to the baby and strengthen their immune system.

However, breastfeeding is also a journey with downs. In fact, during the first days, it may look that there are more downs than ups.

Some of these challenges include sore nipples especially on the first days of breastfeeding, low milk supply, fungal infections, feelings of sadness, and depression among other challenges. Every woman’s breastfeeding journey is different, so mothers have different experiences.

All about formula feeding

Commercially made infant feeds are a nutritious alternative to breast milk and some even contain certain vitamins and additives that even breastfed infants need to be provided with.

However, it’s worth noting that nobody knows all the contents of breast milk or understands the changes it’s subjected to as the baby grows. This, therefore, means that formula companies can never mimic the contents of breast milk 100 percent-though this does not rate it low. 

Produced under sterile conditions, commercial formulas attempt to duplicate mother’s milk using a complex combination of proteins, sugars, fats, and vitamins that aren’t possible to create at home. So again, if you don’t breastfeed your baby, it’s important to use only commercially prepared formula and not try to make your own.

Benefits of formula feeding

  • Convenience; With formula feeding, it’s not mandatory that the mother attends to the baby. This helps the mother to share the feeding duties and helps her appreciate roles played by other parties in child upbringing.
  • Flexibility; Once the feeding bottles are acquired, the mother can leave the infant with a caregiver and never be worried about their feeding. Formula feeding moms do not also need to look for private places in public to nurse their children in order for them to avoid exposing their body.
  • Proper diet; Women who feed their babies formula do not have to worry about the diet since that is taken care of at the manufacturing level
  • Little consumption; Since formula food is heavy and not easily digestible, infants will not need to be fed frequently.

Formula Challenges

  • No antibodies; With breastfeeding, antibodies pass from the mother to the infant. This does not happen with formula feeding. It can’t provide the added protection to the baby that breast milk offers.
  • Expenses; Formula feeding is not cheap like breastfeeding. It’s estimated that during the first year of formula feeding, more than $1_500 is spent.
  • Gas production and constipation; Formula-fed babies tend to have frequent gas production and harder bowels than breastfed babies.
  • It requires proper planning; Unlike breast milk which is readily available and also served at the best temperature, formula feeding a baby require proper organization.

Differences between Breastfeeding and Formula Feeding         

Breastfeeding
Formula feeding
Breast milk is cost-free.   Formula feeding costs upto $1,500 a year
Babies who are breastfed acquire antibodies from their mothersThere are no antibodies acquired as the baby feeds through a bottle
Breast milk is easier to digestFormula feeds are harder to digest
Breastfeeding is less flexibleFormula feeding is more flexible as anybody can feed the baby
Mothers are advised not to take certain medicationsMothers are free to take any medication because it does not affect the baby.
The differences between breastfeeding and formula feeding

Despite the differences, there are ways in which formula is similar to breast milk: they both provide energy, hydration, and nutrients, so your baby will grow whichever milk he is given.

Conclusion

Either way you decide to feed your baby-breast milk, formula or both methods, the most vital thing is that your baby is well-fed, well cared for, and loved.