Who knew that a decision of how a mother fed her baby would be such a big debate in the parenting world? One would think that as long as the baby is fed, and mom and baby are happy and healthy, then it doesn’t really matter which food they are given. How a person feeds their baby has become a mommy-argument that shows no signs of slowing down.
I feel this article needs a disclaimer early on. This article is NOT intended to insult or bash anyone who chooses to formula feed. There are many reasons why a woman can not breastfeed, or why she would choose not too, and no one should be shamed for that.
Formula was a wonderful invention. It has saved the lives of many moms and babies all over the world and continues to do so as I write this. It is a great alternative to a woman who does not produce any milk, who doesn’t produce enough, or one who chooses not to breastfeed for any reason.
However, with that being said, there is the true fact that formula will never add up to breastmilk. There are instances where mom’s milk is not of good quality or that baby has a dairy allergy, but those examples are few and far in between. It is important to know that facts do not equal insults, there are just some pretty big reasons why a lot of women choose to breastfeed, and some of them have to do with the basic facts about formula.
15 Simple Lack Of Benefits
One of the most basic reasons why women choose to breastfeed over formula is for the simple fact that there are a lot more benefits in breastfeeding than in formula feeding.
Formula is great, but it is a one-sized-fits-all item to feed babies. Breastmilk is constantly adapting and changing to fit the baby’s individual needs.
If baby is getting sick, the breastmilk will automatically provide antibodies to help that little baby fight off the illness. This is something that you are just not going to get with formula.
Another great thing that happens with breastfed babies is that they are less likely to get constipated. Being constipated is very rough for a little baby and it usually causes a lot of tears from both the little one and the mommy. This is a benefit of breastfeeding. When it comes to formula, there is a bigger chance of the little one getting backed up and that alone can make mom make the switch from bottle to breastmilk. A great benefit for mom with breastfeeding is that she tends to drop the baby weight a lot quicker. This doesn’t happen for everyone, but breastfeeding is a great way to burn calories and it isn’t surprising to see mom drop the weight while she is breastfeeding.
14 Bottles Are Time Consuming And Carry Bacteria
We don’t realize how precious life and time is until we become parents. Time means everything when you have brought a little baby home, and we start to realize that time just slips through our fingers. We spend so much of our time taking care of our baby and tending to their needs. Then we take a look around and see that our house is in utter chaos and we wonder if we have the time (and energy) to pick up after it. We sure don’t want to add anything to our to-do list that we don’t need too.
When it comes to formula feeding, there is a lot of time involved. It is definitely not as easy as whipping it out and feeding the baby. Mom must clean the bottles, sterilize the bottles, heat the water, mix the formula and then wait for it to cool.
This has to be done for every feeding, so it is amazing to imagine a tired mom getting all of this ready in the middle of the night when the baby wakes up for a feeding. Not to mention that babies do not have a great sense of patience, and they can go from sweet and calm to hungry and angry in the matter of minutes, and if mom misses one of the hunger cues than she is going to have a screaming baby while she gets all of this ready.
13 There Are Recalls For A Reason
We have said before that breastmilk is a near perfect substance for your baby. It is tailor made and is the perfect nutrition to meet your baby’s growing needs. There are very few instances where mom’s milk is not ideal for her baby. If baby reacts to her milk, then usually all she needs to do is slightly change something in her diet and everything is all back to normal. Seems fairly easy and fool-proof, so it is easy to see why formula-feeding moms may make the change. Sometimes formula can be down right terrifying.
It is, at the end of the day, a man-made substance. It is made in a factory and there are always possibilities that something could go wrong.
It may not happen often, but there is always a chance that the brand and type of formula you are feeding your baby could have a recall placed on it. A recall could be anything from bad ingredients making babies sick to a non-food item being lost in a batch. This is a scary reality that happens, and it can put a mom in a lot of hot water as she worries about what she has fed her child and trying to find an alternative formula her baby will take to.
12 Breeding Ground For Bacteria
There are pros and cons to every decision mom will make when it comes to her baby. By no means are we implying that breastfeeding is perfect, there are definite cons to breastfeeding. We are also not saying that formula feeding is all cons, there are some absolute benefits to bottle feeding. Breastmilk is one of the most sterile things you can give your baby. It comes right from the source into your little one and has very little chance to mix with anything bad.
Formula is not that easy. Sure, you may wash and sterilize the bottles and tops, but how do we sterilize the actual formula?
How do we make sure that there are no bacteria in the formula that may be transferred to our baby? If the milk is mishandled or the bottle was not prepared properly, there is a chance that bacteria can grow, and these bacteria could lead to some pretty serious illnesses. This is just not a risk that a lot of mom’s may want to take, so they make the switch to breastmilk to ensure that no bacteria get into their little baby’s tummy.
11 Overfeeding Can Happen
Feeding a baby seems like it would be simple, but it is actually quite difficult. Especially in the beginning. When mom decides to formula feed, she will need to learn how much to feed her baby. One of the benefits of formula is that the bottles have the measurement on the side, meaning that mom knows exactly how much her baby is taking in. This is something that is lacking in breastfeeding, as it can be hard for mom to know exactly how much she is giving her baby.
When a mom feeds her baby formula, there is a large chance of mom overfeeding the baby.
Experts have also linked formula feeding with children being too big as they age. They also have observed that there are synthetic vitamins in formula, which means that it is more likely that the baby will develop an allergy. When a baby is overfed, they are likely to get uncomfortable.
Think about how you feel after Thanksgiving dinner or other big meals, it doesn’t always feel nice. This is how a baby feels who has been overfed. It is very difficult for a breastfed baby to overeat, leading to a lesser chance of a fussy baby, and this is another reason why mom may want to make the switch.
10 Just The Right Temperature
One of the great things about formula in today’s world is that they have come a long way. There is now a formula for pretty much everyone out there on the market. Even for those who have special nutritional and medical needs. While there may be a type for everyone, it all must be produced the same way. The formula can not be served cold, and it can not be served hot. It is almost like a Goldilocks and the Bear moment, where it has to be served just right.
Normally, mom has to boil the water, to sterilize it, and then mom must wait until the bottle has cooled down just enough for the baby to drink.
If it is still too hot, then it could potentially burn the baby’s mouth. If it is too cold, the baby may either refuse it and it is now a wasted bottle, or they could drink it and end up with an upset stomach after.
There is no waiting and guessing game when it comes to breastmilk, it always comes out the right temperature for baby. Not only does it have the perfect ingredients, but it is that ‘just right’ bowl of porridge that baby needs.
9 Babies Have No Patience!
Babies are a lot of things. They are adorable, and sweet and loving, but they are not patient. They do not understand the concept of waiting for things and when they want something everyone in the house and down the street will know they want it. Babies will always give off cues that they are getting upset. If they are getting hungry, they will start to show some clear signs that it is time to get the show on the road. However, moms are humans as well, and they can miss these signals all the time.
When the moment is missed, the baby goes into meltdown mode. Now mom has to go and do all she needs to do to get the bottle ready.
When we compare this with breastfeeding, there is no discussion. Even if mom misses the cues, she can get the food to her baby a lot quicker than a formula feeding mom can. All she needs to do is to lift her shirt and the food is there. If mom has had enough of the baby meltdowns she may decide to make that switch to the more convenient option. Especially during the night, when she's just gotten out of bed to a crying baby and is still tired, she needs things to be as convenient as possible.
8 Don’t Want Any Sick Babies
We love our babies and that means that we do everything we can to protect them and we definitely do not want them to fall ill. Not only is a sick infant heartbreaking, but it can also add a lot of worry and stress to a mom who may already be at the end of her rope. For this reason, a lot of moms make the switch from formula to breastmilk. Formula may be great and wonderful, but there is a fact that it does lack some important things that breast milk has.
Breastmilk not only contains everything your baby needs nutritionally, it also has some pretty great ingredients that help keep a baby healthy.
Breastmilk has natural chemicals as well as white blood cells which helps boost your baby’s immune system. Babies are born with very little to no immune system.
It takes time to build up and strengthen, this means that babies are prone to getting sick a lot. Even if a breastfeeding mom is sick, she needs to continue to breastfeed her baby because her body will automatically send antibodies to the baby to protect him from getting sick as well. This is essential for building up the baby's immune system and giving them the best chance of being healthy.
7 Which Formula To Buy? It Is A Guessing Game
Breastmilk is the perfect milk for your baby, and your body produces exactly what your baby needs, and it is usually catered to his dietary meals. There is no guesswork and very little trial and error. There are moments where something mom eats may disagree with the baby, but this does not happen often, and it is usually easy to fix. There can be a lot of guesswork when it comes to formula, and mom may find herself trying multiple different kinds and brands until she finds one that agrees with her baby and that her baby likes.
That is because formula is made for a general group of babies. This doesn’t work because we know that every baby is different and has different needs.
A lot of moms start off with the most expensive formula on the market, because the assumption is that the more it costs, the better quality it will be. They slowly wiggle through all brands of formula to find out that the cheapest one is actually the best for their baby. Just take a look at the formula section at your local store, it is overwhelming the amount of choices mom have and there is not way of possibly knowing which one your baby will like before you try them, sometimes all of them.
6 It Can Be So Expensive
We normally hear about all the women out there who make the switch from breastfeeding to formula feeding. We don’t always hear about it the other way, but there are a lot of women who do. It may seem impossible to switch from formula to breastmilk, that once the milk is gone, there is no way to get it back. This is not true, with a good lactation consultant and some hard work, it is possible for a woman to produce milk again, and enough to feed her baby. It is not easy, but it is possible.
One of the biggest pros in the breastfeeding column is that it is free. For a lot of woman, it is absolutely 100% free. If a woman chooses to not pump and feed, her baby from a bottle there is very little she needs to feed her baby that is going to cost her any money.
When a mom formula feeds there are a lot of costs involved, and babies are expensive enough. It's hard to justify over free breastfeeding.
First off, formula is very expensive, and if baby only takes to the expensive brand of formula than mom is stuck buying that one. Then there is the cost involved with bottles, sterilizing equipment and any other needs that may arise with bottle feeding. This cost can add up quick, and have mom making the switch to a more cost-effective and economical solution to feeding her baby.
5 Do You Want More Cleaning?
If there is one thing a lot of mothers (and people in general) do not like to do that is clean. We know it must be done, and we do it, but we definitely do not want to add anymore cleaning to our chore list than we have too. This is especially true when it comes to having a newborn in the house.
Everyone always says that when you just have a baby, the cleaning can wait, and it can. That is, unless, it means neglecting to clean the baby’s bottles.
Most couple only buy so many bottles, and there will always come a point where mom will need to wash those baby bottles in order to give her baby a feeding. This, like anything, can become backed up and mom will have a sink full of dirty baby bottles just waiting for her. Not only do they have to be cleaned, but they also have to be sterilized and dried before they can be used again. When a newborn eats every few hours, this is enough cleaning for any mom to be running the other way. The only extra cleaning that comes into play with breastfeeding happens in the bath or shower, much easier.
4 Hassle In The Middle Of The Night
If you know how important sleep is to function like a normal human being, then I am going to assume you are a mother. Sleep is something we all take for granted, and then once we become a mother, it hits us. Sleep is important. After a few days, weeks or even months without sleep we start to realize just what it does to ourselves, both physically and mentally. It takes a toll. This means that we start to treasure all the sleep we can get, and we get it whenever we can.
When a mom chooses to formula feed, she is adding a little bit more to her nighttime work. She must get up and prepare the bottle (and we all remember the work that goes into making a bottle just right) and then she must feed the baby.
Then when she is finished, she can decide if she wants to clean the bottle now or wait until the morning. The only upside to this one, is that this is the time when dad can also help a mom out. However, there are a lot of mom’s out there who are doing it all. Breastfeeding, while can only be done by mom, is an amazingly easy way to feed our babies at night.
3 Can’t Beat The Bond
Mothers love their babies, and that is not dependant on what they choose to feed their baby. It doesn’t matter if the baby is getting breastmilk or formula, we know that mom loves her baby and would do anything for them. With that being said, there is an unexplainable bond that happens between a breastfeeding mother and her baby.
Holding them close creates a bond like no other, and the baby will get to know mom by just her smell and will root or reach for her when they need food.
Breastfeeding is also not just about nutrition, it is also about comfort. When we break it down, babies don’t need a lot of things. They need to eat, have their diaper changed, sleep and they need comfort. They need to be held and loved and made to feel secure and safe. This is especially true for a newborn as they have just left their mother’s womb where they were warm and comforted all the time. Now, they are in a new world with new sights, sounds and smells and they need to feel that closeness again. Breastfeeding is the best way to provide this for the baby, and moms realize this and may make the switch to breastfeeding.
2 Waste Not, Want Not!
We live in a world where we do not want to be wasteful. We are very careful when it comes to protecting our environment and out earth, because it will be inherited by our children one day, so we need to take care of it now.
There is a risk of some waste when it comes to formula. You never really can tell how much a baby will want to eat at any given time.
You get a pretty good idea, but that can change feeding to feeding. There may be times when mom can end up wasting a lot of formula, if baby doesn’t finish a bottle it is only good for a certain period of time. After that time, it would not be safe to give that formula to the baby, it must be thrown out.
There is a lot less waste when it comes to breastfeeding. Babies tend to only take what they need. They drink until they are satisfied and then they stop. At this point, there may be some leakage over time, but it doesn’t generally equal a lot of waste. Also, if a mom chooses to pump and store her breastmilk, there is also little waste. Even if the milk can not be fed to the baby, it can be used for many other things. Such as milk baths and ointments for sore nipples or eye infections, along with many other things.
1 Seems Petty… But It Smells!
Most of our reasons have been legitimate, health and environment-based reasons, this one may seem a little petty, but formula is not the nicest smelling. Some people have a very sensitive sense of smell, and an even more sensitive gag reflux, and even the slightest smell can trigger some unpleasant reactions. For some people, this is formula, and it may lead women to breastfeeding. Formula does not smell nice, while breastmilk has almost no odour. If breastmilk does have an odour to it, it usually smells like a sweet form of milk.
One family who experienced formula feeding stated that the baby ended up smelling like formula, and her older brothers would refuse to hold her because of how she smelled.
What goes in also must always come out. The bowel movements of a baby who is breastfeed are much more pleasant than those of a formula fed baby. Now, no soiled diaper is ever ‘pleasant,’ but there is very little odour involved. It is a mustard yellow and seedy texture, but that is about it. Formula diapers may look about the same, but it definitely smells a lot worse. And if moms can make things even a little easier for themselves, why shouldn't they?