There will always be debate surrounding breastfeeding and formula feeding babies. With many suggesting that breastfeeding is the way to go, there are many positives that outweigh the negatives. However, formula feeding is just as beneficial. Formula has been manufactured to mimic breastmilk, hence a lot of science and careful consideration has been taken into creating formula for babies.
Putting the debate of breastmilk and formula aside, the most important thing in this debate is that a baby is nourished and is fed. There should not be any scrutiny whether a mother chooses to breastfeed or formula feed; there may be certain reasons why a mother chooses to formula feed including not having enough milk supply, it is painful, the baby is not latching on or a mother simply does not want to breastfeed for their own personal reasons.
Since formula has been widely accepted as an alternative food source for babies, below are reasons for and against it. There are many reasons why it is good and many reasons why it is not as good as breastmilk. Both sides argue valid points and learning about each stance may give moms new information on why they should or should not choose formula as their preferred food source for their baby.
20 Not As Natural
No artificial flavors, no preservatives, and absolutely nothing added we cannot deny how natural breastmilk is. Baby formula is manufactured in order to create this form of baby food, and certain ingredients are combined to form a powder. Formula contains purified cow’s milk as a protein source along with a carbohydrate source, fat source and a vitamin-vitamin-mineral mix depending on the manufacturer.
Viewed as an accepted alternative food source to breastmilk, manufacturers have done their best to mimic that from a mother. However, although it is designed to be based on a mother’s breastmilk, there is still a difference.
19 Sterile Issues
There are two main issues when it comes to how sterile formula feeding is. According to Belly Belly, it is important to understand that formula in a tin is not sterile. Bacterial outbreaks have also occurred with the water used in formula, hence it is important to heat the water to a sterile temperature. There are many sterility issues to consider with formula which should not be taken lightly.
According to Belly Belly, it is also important not to leave the formula warming for more than 10 minutes as anything longer than this ‘can allow bacteria to breed in the formula’. Although there are several issues to consider, these can definitely be avoided if all the right measures are taken.
18 Temperature Worries
According to Belly Belly and many other reputable sites, it is advised to avoid heating up a baby’s bottle in a microwave. It has been found this method does not heat your baby’s milk evenly which can cause hot spots. Even though you may test the milk before giving it to your baby, hot spots may occur during the baby’s feed.
Compared to breastfeeding, there is no need to worry about the temperature of the milk as it regulates itself to the needs of your baby. You will never have to worry about your baby being burnt. Compared to formula you will always need to ensure that it is not too hot but must be hot enough to avoid bacterial outbreaks.
17 Can Overfeed Your Baby
Even though formula provides what measurements and amount of formula your baby should be given depending on their size and age, this can be a recipe for disaster. There may be days that your baby may not completely finish their milk which is absolutely fine. Some parents may even decide to make more than intended because they think the amount suggested on the formula tin is not enough.
Always go with your baby’s cues and if they stop feeding and do not finish their bottle, do not be alarmed. Learning a baby’s hunger cues is the best way to avoid overfeeding, and remember that it is ok if they do not finish every single drop of milk.
16 Not As Much Bonding
There is no sharing when it comes to breastfeeding and becomes the exclusive job of the mother. This provides a chance for mother and baby to bond in a special way compared to bottle feeding. Formula feeding allows you to share the responsibility with other people but it means you have less time with your child. Your baby will know your touch and even feel your heartbeat throughout the day if you choose to breastfeed.
This also gives the mother a chance to connect with their little bundle of joy on another level. This is not only a time to bond, but it gives you a chance to sit down and relax while your baby feeds.
15 Stem Cells In Breast Milk Help Support Organ Development
According to madela.com.au, studies conducted by Dr. Foteini Kakulas (formerly Hassiotou) of The University of Western Australia ‘has demonstrated that stem cells from breast milk can now be directed to become other body cell types such as bone, fat, liver and brain cells’. This is something that cannot be created or manufactured, hence it shows the power breastmilk has on babies and their growth and development. This is just one amazing property of breastmilk and researchers can truly say that it is a power source. Giving your child this start in life is definitely one of the best things that you can do for your newborn.
14 Bacteria In Breastmilk Protect A Baby’s Digestive System
According to the Australian Breastfeeding Association, the support that breastmilk gives a baby’s immune system is not available to babies who are fed infant formula. Studies have found that babies who are breastfed are less likely to develop certain illnesses including gastroenteritis.
Along with these properties, breastmilk helps coat the lining of a baby’s stomach which also helps prevent germs from sticking around in their digestive system. It is the perfect food for your baby helping their little stomachs deal with the changes coming into the new world. We cannot deny how natural breastmilk is compared to formula, however, it is important that we understand that formula is still an accepted food source for newborns.
13 Protective Properties Of Breastmilk
The American Pregnancy Association has found ‘a connection between breastfeeding and a healthy immune system’. Thanks to the amazing immune fighting properties found in breastmilk, babies will have fewer illnesses such as ear infections, respiratory problems, allergies, and asthma.
According to the American Pregnancy Association, these illnesses are lower in breastfed babies giving them the best start in life, fighting off infections that surround us in our everyday lives. Breastmilk definitely has amazing properties that you cannot fault. Formula has had many advances over the years, however, it is impossible to compare it to breastmilk and what it can do naturally.
12 Breastmilk Is Clever
You would never think of putting the words ‘breastmilk’ and ‘clever' in the same sentence. However, I am here to tell you that they definitely should be! Breastmilk is a wonder food that changes with your baby’s needs. As your baby grows, the nutritional needs of your baby changes and so does breastmilk.
Originally high in fat, breastmilk then slowly changes to have less fat and more water. If your baby is ill, breastmilk will contain more nutrients and minerals which will then be consumed by your baby. As amazing as it is, we cannot fault the intelligence of the human body and what it does to care for a newborn.
11 Colostrum Is Gold
Known as the first milk that is produced immediately after the delivery of a newborn, it is also known as ‘liquid gold’. With this lasting up to 5 days, this is much richer than the breastmilk that is produced after this. Filled with white blood cells and immune-boosting properties, this is something that you cannot get from formula. According to mamanatural.com ‘it is truly a unique substance, with properties that no other food has.’
It may not get enough credit than it truly deserves, but it is definitely a power food. Even if you are not planning on breastfeeding exclusively, your baby will thank you for providing 5 days of liquid gold.
10 Baby Is Getting Fed
The most important part of raising a newborn is ensuring they are sleeping and getting fed. Whether you are breastfeeding your baby or have decided to give your child formula, both provide one of the most important elements in a child’s development and growth. There are many reasons why mothers choose to formula feed instead of breastfeeding and there definitely should not be any judgment in what they decide.
A mother may not have enough breastmilk supply or they need to go back to work soon after the baby is born, these are just a few reasons why they may choose formula. Regardless, this is a form of food that has been accepted all around the world.
9 A Good Top Up
There are many wonderful benefits of breastfeeding, however, one thing that is unknown is how much milk your baby has consumed. This could be difficult and be stressful as you may be concerned they are not getting enough milk.
However, thanks to formula, mother’s have the opportunity to give their baby a top up of food if they feel or have been advised by a pediatrician that their child is not having enough breastmilk. This will allow your baby to feel full and content still getting the great nutrients from breastmilk and the fullness from formula. This is something that many mothers do, giving them a piece of mind.
8 Sharing The Responsibility
For many women, motherhood can be a difficult transition whether it is your first, second or even fifth. It is always a different experience and it can be difficult to add breastfeeding to the equation. Sharing the responsibility with your partner or other family members or friends is a great way to give the mother time to rest or get other things done. It allows your partner to help you with night feeds and also let you spend time with your other children. This also allows other people to bond with the child making it a great opportunity for a baby to get used to other faces. Formula makes feeding a team effort!
7 Efficient Feeding
Formula feeding allows you to feed anywhere efficiently just like breastfeeding. All you have to do is have enough formula and clean bottles to feed your baby wherever you are. There are many wonderful items that can help make feeding on the go much easier. With this now a growing market, items such as formula dispensers will allow you to have the correct amount of formula measured out in a container. This allows you to have no mess and worries about measuring when you are out. Compared to breastfeeding, your schedule does not have to revolve around feeding. You can leave your child with someone and you do not have to worry about rushing home to feed them.
6 You Can Buy Your Supply
A mother’s breast milk may take a day or two to come in, hence it can be difficult to have your supply ready when your baby is born. Formula is readily available and there is no need to worry if you will have enough milk for your baby’s next feed. It can be overwhelming and stressful having to worry about breastmilk, hence formula can help you stress less.
Formula is available at a range of stores including supermarkets and pharmacies. Buying your supply will allow you to have enough formula at your disposal. Always having extra stock will mean your baby will never be hungry.
5 Almost As Good As Breastmilk
Even though breastmilk is full of natural goodness, many manufacturers have come up with formulas that are just as beneficial. Trying to mimic breastmilk, manufacturers have included all the necessities needed for babies including a protein source, a carbohydrate source, a fat source, and a vitamin-mineral mix. These ingredients will give your baby all the goodness needed and there is no need to worry if your baby is getting enough nutritional value in their food.
Breastmilk will always have that little bit extra, however, formula has been manufactured with so much goodness. Whether your baby is having breast milk or formula, your baby is being nourished and that is the most important!
4 No Leaks, Pumps or Pain
With the wonderful attributes of breastfeeding, there are also some cons that affect the mother. Leakage and pain are two of the common symptoms of breastfeeding and there is not much you can do to avoid them. Nursing pads will help with the leakage, however, the moment they shift you will most like have damp clothing in no time.
Breastfeeding can also be an extremely painful experience for many mothers making it an unenjoyable experience. This can play a big role in the mother’s emotions along with all the other changes that occur when a newborn comes along. With formula, there is no worrying about pumping milk especially when they are full. Formula feeding definitely gets rid of the leaks, pumps, and pain.
3 Drink and Eat As You Like
There are so many foods and drinks that need to be avoided when pregnant and it is the same when breastfeeding. Although everything can be eaten in moderation, "some flavors from food and beverage may be reflected in your breast milk," according to healthline.com. It is advised that moderate amounts of coffee should be consumed, as this and other caffeine beverages take babies longer to metabolize.
Moms should also cease from drinking when breastfeeding. When formula feeding, a mother can drink and eat whatever they like without worrying, and for some, this also helps a mother gain a sense of self after having their child.
2 Many Different Formulas
There are so many different formulas on the market to suit your baby’s needs. With some babies being lactose intolerant and others having special dietary requirements, the formula market has boomed and there is sure to be something perfect for your baby.
Formulas including anti-reflux, vegan, vegetarian and lactose-free and even formulas purely for premature babies, these are all available on the market providing an endless choice! Each baby is different and this allows a parent to choose with confidence and know they are buying the perfect formula for their baby. If it does not seem to be the right one, there is no need to worry, there are many other options available.
1 No Stress Like Breastfeeding
There is no need to worry about how much your child drinks and there is definitely no guessing when it comes to formula. Even if your baby does not drink all their formula milk, you can note down how much they have consumed and if you are concerned you can speak to a pediatrician or midwife.
You do not have the stresses about what you as a mother can eat or drink, and there is definitely no need to rush if you are out, someone else can feed them. Formula gives you flexibility and the chance to not stress with everything else that motherhood throws at you.