If you’ve just become a mum, you are facing the decision of either breastfeeding or formula feeding your baby. Everyone seems to have different opinions on the pros and cons of breastfeeding, and it can be hard to know who to listen to, or who is right. The truth is, there is no right or wrong answer. The choice to breastfeed or formula feed your baby is a personal one, so make sure you chose what is right for you and your baby.
To help you make your decision, here we have listed some of the pros and cons of breastfeeding vs formula feeding. Remember that regardless of which method you use, you’re making a good decision for your baby.
The Pros And Cons Of Breastfeeding
If you’re weighing your options, consider the positives and potential drawbacks of breastfeeding:
- Provides Ideal Nutrition
Its winning nutritional profile includes the perfect combination of high-quality proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals.
- Easily Digestable
Enzymes in breast milk, such as lipase and lysozyme, help break it down in your baby’s tummy. Lipase is secreted by the pancreas and helps break down fat. Lysozyme is a whey protein with antibiotic properties.
- Can Protect From Illness
Antibodies pass from mother to child in the milk, boosting your baby’s immunity and protecting them from infection and disease. Breastfed babies have fewer ear infections and respiratory illnesses than exclusively formula-fed babies.
- Promotes Mother-Child Bonding
Breastfeeding releases the hormone prolactin in the mother’s body, which promotes a calming, nurturing state of mind. In fact, breastfeeding mums are less likely to have postpartum depression and anxiety.
- (Practically) Free
Instead of spending hundreds of dollars a month on formula, breastfeeding mums just have to make sure that they take in enough calories to sustain milk production. Breastfeeding mothers typically need 500 extra calories per day, which equates to one or two snacks.
- Changes With Your Baby
Breast milk’s nutrient profile adjusts to a growing baby. Breast milk for a newborn contains more antibodies and fewer carbohydrates, fat or protein compared to breast milk for older infants.
By eliminating the need to prepare, mix, heat up and clean bottles, breastfeeding has the edge when it comes to convenience. You will always have a ready-made supply of warm milk for your little one.
- Isn’t Always Easy
Some challenges in breastfeeding may include sore nipples and breasts, cluster feeding, neck and back pain, decreases in milk supply and latch issues. It can also be exhausting to be a baby’s only source of food.
- May Isolate Dad
Breastfeeding is an important way to bond with your baby — one in which Dad can’t participate in. While there are other ways for fathers to bond with their children, some fathers still feel left out.
- Puts Pressure On Mum
Breastfeeding puts the whole responsibility for feeding your baby on Mum. Even if she pumps her milk, allowing Dad the chance to actually do the feeding, she’s still responsible for producing and pumping all of your baby’s nutrition. Particularly working mums may find it difficult to keeping up with a breastfeeding schedule while maintaining a full-time career. Not only will you need to manage your work tasks throughout the day, but you will also need to pump regularly, store your pumped milk and rotate your supply.
- You’ve Got to Watch Your Diet
Breastfeeding mums need to monitor their diet more carefully, avoiding foods and drinks that could affect their babies, including alcohol, caffeine and certain over-the-counter medications.
The Pros And Cons Of Formula Feeding
On the other side of the debate, formula feeding is also an excellent choice for your baby — but it has its drawbacks, too. Here are some points to consider:
- Anyone Can Feed Them
This gives Mum a chance to be away from her baby for several hours without having to pump, which can be extremely convenient when returning to work or leaving your baby with a nanny.
- Higher In Iron And Vitamin D
Exclusively breastfed infants have to take iron and vitamin D supplements, while formula-fed infants do not.
- Quantities Are Certain
With breastfeeding, it can be challenging to determine how much your baby is drinking at each feed. Formula, on the other hand, has very specific measurements. Find out how to tell if your baby is getting enough breast milk.
- Feeding Is Less Frequent
Formula takes longer to digest than breast milk, which can space out feedings — and help you get some much-needed shut-eye.
- Can Be Expensive
If you chose to feed your baby with formula, you could end up spending £500 feeding them in their first year!
- May Cause Tummy Troubles
Many babies experience gas, fussiness and may have issues with reflux when consuming formula. You may need to try several types of formula before finding one that agrees with your baby.
- Increased Risk Of Tooth Decay
There is a risk of formula pooling in your baby’s mouth when given a bottle to help them fall asleep, which can lead to dental problems.
Remember, both breastfeeding and formula provide the nutrition that your newborn needs to grow and thrive. The decision to breastfeed or formula feed your baby is a personal one, and there’s no right or wrong answer. Weigh the pros and cons of each option, and go with whichever is right for your family.
* This article is for general informational purposes only. It is not intended nor implied to be providing medical advice and is not a substitute for such advice. The reader should always consult a health care provider concerning any medical condition or treatment plan. Neither Care.com nor the author assumes any responsibility or liability with respect to use of any information contained herein.