When deciding whether to feed your baby with breastmilk or baby formula, it is important to be well informed on both options. Key details include the difference in cost, the impact they have on the babies’ health and the mum’s health, and how they impact sleep. If you are unsure of what is the best option for you, then this post will guide you through the pros and cons of both breastfeeding and formula feeding.
What Is In Breastmilk?
There are plenty of beneficial and nutritional elements that come with each drop of breast milk. It is probably not something thought about often unless you are pregnant and you are trying to make the best decisions for your child, but as you will know this is not always straightforward. Below are some of the main components that are found in breastmilk:
- Hormones that help with bonding and regulate appetite.
- Stem cells – this is needed to help promote healthy organ development.
- Helpful bacteria
- White blood cells
- Fatty-acids that promote the development of the brain and nervous system.
- Enzymes, aid the immune and digestive systems.
These are some of the main ingredients that you will find in breastmilk, but what good do these ingredients do? Well, below are the key pros and cons that are associated with feeding your baby breastmilk.
- Cost: One of the top benefits of using breastmilk is that it is free. Parents can spend thousands of dollars a year on using formula milk for their baby, so by using breastmilk, that is one extra cost cut out.
- Convenience: There are no worries about having to head to the store or make sure you have enough milk for your baby, as you are the supplier!
- An important tool for mother-baby bonding: Breastfeeding is an important way for mothers and babies to bond, as that skin-to-skin contact is crucial for building attachments.
- Warms babies up to different tastes: Breast milk warms babies up for different tastes as the breastmilk will taste differently depending on the mother’s diet.
- Diet: Mothers will have to carefully watch their diet so that they are not passing on any toxins to their baby, such as alcohol.
- Medical complications: Not all mothers can breastfeed and this can be due to any number of reasons.
- Pain: Some babies are harder to feed than others as they might latch on harder or try to bite the mothers’ nipples instead of suck.
What Is In Baby Formula?
The ingredients in baby formula will vary depending on the brand and country bought in. However, usually, baby formula milk is made of processed skimmed cow’s milk, and mixed with the milk is emulsifiers. Other ingredients tend to include the following;
- Vitamins and minerals
- Certain amino acids
- Some enzymes
- Plant-based oils such as rapeseed, sunflower, and coconut.
- Some formulas will also contain probiotics.
So with that in mind, what do these ingredients mean for the baby and mother?
- Convenience: It can be a lot more convenient for mothers to use formula as they do not have to work out timings in between feeds and when to pump and so forth.
- Pain-free: Feeding with baby formula ensures that there is no pain for the mothers as babies will feed on the bottle and mothers will not have to endure latch-on discomfort.
- Increased flexibility: There is greater flexibility for mothers who can eat and drink more of what they want without worrying about the impact this will have on the baby. It also makes going out easier as mothers do not need to breastfeed in public and can also easily leave young babies with a babysitter.
- Increased costs: Using formula will add to the many costs newborn parents are already enduring.
- Lack of antibodies: The antibodies that are found in breast milk are not found in formula and so this provides the baby with less protection against illness and infection.
- More gas/constipation for babies: Research has found that formula-fed babies have firmer bowel movements and experience more gas than babies who are breastfed.
Deciding how to feed your baby can be a difficult decision. There is a lot of stigma and judgment around the formula, but this is an absurd phenomenon and you should not let a fear of judgment from others stop you from doing what is best for you and your family. Many women might start on one and then change their minds, or use the formula to supplement breastfeeding. Take the time to discuss the pros and cons with your doctor and midwife, but ultimately you are the one who will know what the right choice is for you and your baby.