Breastfeeding vs. Formula-Feeding: The Benefits and Myths of Each
There seems to be an ongoing battle between moms and moms-to-be over the benefits of breastfeeding vs. using baby formula while nursing. Would you like the truth?
This will most likely always be a topic of discussion before your newborn is delivered but only you have the right answer. You need to choose the option that is best for you, depending on the kind of lifestyle you live, your comfort level and any medical concerns you might have. Deciding whether you want to breastfeed or formula-feed your baby can help you prepare for your baby’s arrival.
Benefits of Breastfeeding for Baby
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends breastfeeding because they believe breast milk to be the best nutrition for infants. If you choose the route of breastfeeding, your baby should be breastfed from birth on for the first six months.
Before making a final decision, consider some of the benefits that breastfeeding will provide for your baby:
- Breast milk could help fight infections because of the antibodies passed from mom to baby. Infections like ear, diarrhea and meningitis could be prevented while breastfeeding.
- Breast milk is typically easily digested by your infant’s new digestive system, which could help with constipation.
- Convenience and affordability are two considerations that attract many. Breast milk is free and there’s no late night runs necessary if you accidentally forgot to pick up more formula the last time you ran to the supermarket.
Benefits of Breastfeeding for Mom
While the benefits of breastfeeding for baby are great, once your baby is born there will be benefits for you, too. Breastfeeding can cause you to burn calories, which can help you get back to your pre-pregnancy weight. Also, many new moms say it helps them feel confident in terms of taking care of their newborn. Studies have also shown that mothers that breastfeed have a lower risk of breast and ovarian cancer.
Benefits of Formula-Feeding Your Newborn
Formula is an alternative to breast milk that provides nutrients and vitamins that a developing newborn needs. Some new mothers will choose to formula-feed their newborn, instead of breastfeeding, given the various benefits formula-feeding provides:
- Convenience and flexibility play a big part in formula-feeding. It gives you the ability to allow others to help you as a new mother. For instance, you and your partner can alternate feeding your newborn, which ultimately helps you both have bonding time with your baby.
- Because formula tends to not be as easily digested as breast milk, formula-fed babies usually don’t have to eat as much and could develop a consistent eating schedule.
- Unlike breastfeeding, formula-feeding allows you to be a little less cautious of what you’re putting into your body. A glass of wine with dinner or a cup coffee to start your day won’t directly affect your baby.
The Myths about Breastfeeding vs. Formula
The number one myth about both breastfeeding and formula-feeding is that one is a better choice over the other. The choice is personal and needs to be decided between the mother-to-be and her partner. No matter which option you choose, the most important thing is that upon bringing baby home, your newborn needs to be well fed.
If you are pregnant, we encourage you to speak with your obstetrician or family doctor.
If you live in the area, call us and schedule an appointment with our Board-certified Pediatrics and Family Practice doctors in one convenient office location to learn more about the benefits of breastfeeding vs. formula so you can plan a healthy feeding option that works for you and your soon-to-be newborn. We will gladly assist you.
Now that you know more about breastfeeding vs. formula-feeding, pass it on!