Breast Milk versus Formula

I’m sure you’ve all heard the saying, breast is best. All good and well in theory, but is this the reality for all mothers? Some women find breast feeding a breeze, yet others find it quite problematic.

This is by far one of the most hotly debated topics on the parental scene. If you haven’t experienced it yet, then I guarantee you will at some stage. And as with any great debate, there must be two sides to the story!

I personally have experienced both sides of the coin, with two of my three children breast feeding, and the other being formula fed.  Three consecutive bouts of mastitis with one baby proved to be a painful end to my breastfeeding plan after just 7 weeks. Yet my other two children successfully breast fed up until they were old enough to eat solid food and drink regular milk. So for me, as much as I had researched the pro’s and con’s of both types of feeding, I had to go with what suited my situation best at the time. To help solve the debate for you, here are some important points on Breast milk vs formula.

Many health experts agree that breastfeeding is the ideal way to feed your infant, and here’s why:

  • It is a complete food containing all your baby’s nutritional needs for the first 6 months of life.
  • It satisfies both hunger and thirst; extra water is not needed.
  • It increases a baby’s resistance to infection and disease.
  • It lessens the risk of allergy and food intolerance.
  • All of breast milk’s components, including lactose, protein (whey and casein), and fat, are easily digested by a newborn’s immature system. Commercial formulas attempt to reproduce these ingredients and are coming quite close, though the exact combination cannot be duplicated.
  • Your breast milk changes flavour and taste, depending on what you have been eating. This helps prepare your baby to eat and enjoy the variety of food you’ll be introducing to them later on.
  • Breast feeding is the economical option, it costs nothing.

But alas, good intentions to breast feed don’t always go to plan. There can be many reasons why a mother has difficulty breast feeding, so if this is you and you really want to stick with it, then you can enlist help from a breastfeeding support service like the Australian Breast Feeding Association. They will help you troubleshoot most breastfeeding problems. Or the other alternative is to switch to formula feeding.

Here are some important points to know about formula feeding:

  • Scientists and medical experts have spent years developing high-quality formula milks that will provide your baby with the nutrition it needs. It won’t be exactly the same as breast milk, but definitely comes a close second.
  • Most infant formula’s are Iron-fortified and have actually been credited for the declining incidence of anemia (iron deficiency) in infants.
  • Some women feel that bottle-feeding their infant gives them a little more freedom and that other members of the family can be more active in the feeding and care of the infant.
  • Babies who formula feed are not affected by medications or physical conditions in the mother.

Having seen the facts, it’s easy to see why breastfeeding advocates firmly believe in this as your baby’s first food. But if you can’t breastfeed, then you can’t! You have to find another way to nourish your baby, and this is where formula fits in nicely. After all, a happy baby is one with a full tummy!