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Breastfeeding vs. Formula Everything you need to know

Breastfeeding vs. Formula
Everything you need to know

EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT BREAST-FEEDING

Breastfeeding or bottle-feeding is a personal choice. As a new parent, it’s one of the most essential decisions you’ll make. Both have advantages and disadvantages.

The subject has sparked many debates over the years, with many parents feeling criticised for choosing bottle-fed formula over breast milk. In any case, don’t let the critics get you down.

There is no right or wrong answer; only the best option for you and your baby. You’ll want to have all the facts before deciding on one or the other.

If you’re not sure how you want to feed your baby, keep reading to discover more about the many options.

Breastfeeding

The majority of mothers intend to breastfeed and do not anticipate using formula. However, many women do end up using infant formula to some extent for kids under six months old, 71 percent of mothers surveyed 1 had used infant formula to some level for newborns under six months old. Mothers informed us they had a lot of questions when they opted to use formula milk: Sixty-six percent wanted to discover the differences between different brands of formula milk. 46% wanted to know how breast milk compares to formula milk. 27 percent wanted to know if the price was a good indicator of quality. Most people didn’t think they’d gotten enough information.

Breastfeeding is recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) until the child reaches the age of two or longer 2. Although it may appear to be a lengthy time, there are good reasons for it.

Breastfeeding, according to most experts, is the greatest way for babies and infants to absorb nutrients and reap significant health benefits. Even more, advantages come from starting to breastfeed within an hour of giving delivery 3.

Breastfeeding Positives

Breastfeeding is beneficial to both you and your baby’s health. Here are a few of the advantages for both you and your child.

Availability

Breastfeeding is completely free, except for the cost of lactation consultants and nursing bras. Pumps, bottles, formula, and other bottle-feeding supplies are all expensive.

Breast milk does not necessitate any preparation. It’ll be ready when your baby is. Isn’t it wonderful how magnificent our bodies are?

Baby’s Boost

  • Breast milk contains all of the nutrients your baby requires to grow and stay healthy, even in the early days when nutrient-rich colostrum is produced.
  • Breastfed newborns are less likely to experience diarrhoea and stomach discomfort than those who are not 4.
  • Breast milk helps protect the baby’s immune system from ear infections, pneumonia, bacterial, and viral illnesses 5.
  • Breastfed newborns, especially exclusively breastfed babies, may have a slightly higher IQ Source than formula-fed babies, according to research 6.
  • Breastfeeding, especially exclusive breastfeeding, lowers the incidence of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
  • Feeding human milk to preterm newborns and other medically vulnerable babies in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) reduces the risk of necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC), which boosts survival chances and shortens NICU stays 7.
  • Breastfeeding may reduce the risk of developing other illnesses, such as asthma and allergies 8, diabetes 9, and obesity 10.

Healthy for you

  • It can speed up the recovery process by allowing your uterus to return to its pre-pregnancy size.
  • May aid weight loss: The production of milk by your body burns extra calories, which can lead to weight loss 11. (Although this isn’t always the case!)
  • Breastfeeding prevents your period from returning, which can help you avoid an iron shortage after giving birth.
  • Allows your body to release hormones (such as oxytocin) that aid in your bonding with your kid.
  • Reduces the risk of certain diseases, including breast 12, and ovarian 13 cancer, heart disease 14, and diabetes 15.
  • Reduces the incidence of postpartum depression: According to a 2012 study, the benefits are considerably greater if you breastfeed for more than four months.

If you decide to breastfeed, your healthcare professional will probably advise you to do so for as long as you’re able and comfortable.

The longer you are able to breastfeed, the greater the health benefits for you and your baby.

Breastfeeding Negatives

Breastfeeding can be challenging, despite the fact that it is healthier and more beneficial for you and your baby. With the support of a lactation consultant and some effort, many of them can be overcome.

Don’t get discouraged if doing it correctly takes some time. Here are a few prevalent issues:

  • You may have some discomfort, especially in the first few days or weeks.
  • There is no way to know how much your kid is eating because there is no way to measure it.
  • You’ll need to keep an eye on your medicine, caffeine, and alcohol use. Some things that enter your body travel through your milk to the baby.
  • Newborns consume a lot of food. If you need to return to work or run errands, sticking to a feeding schedule may be tough.

BOTTLE-FEEDING

Bottle-feeding can refer to either feeding your infant breast milk or formula from a bottle. Breast milk in a bottle provides similar nutrients to breast milk, but it gives you more flexibility because the baby isn’t reliant on your body for nutrition.

Breast milk that has been frozen has been shown to lose some of its nutritional and immunologic value when compared to fresh milk, but it will still contain the antibodies that are so valuable to your baby (and not found in the formula).

The formula is produced, and while it is regulated in the EU and the United Kingdom and contains a variety of nutrients, it is not a perfect substitute for the benefits of breast milk.

Bottle-feeding Positives

  • When you are unable to feed your baby, a family member or caretaker can do it.
  • At each feeding, you can observe how much your baby is eating.
  • Formula-fed babies don’t need to eat as frequently as breastfed newborns.
  • During feeding time, fathers, siblings, and other family members have the opportunity to bond with the infant.

Bottle-feeding Negatives

  • Breast milk provides the best protection against infections, diseases, and disorders, while the baby formula does not.
  • To ensure that the formula is at the proper temperature, you must mix and prepare it.
  • Bottles, formula, rubber nipples, and breast pumps are all costly items.
  • Constipation and flatulence are common side effects of the formula.
  • Powdered formula needs clean water, which, depending on where you live, may be a health concern.

WEANING

Whether you choose to breastfeed or bottle-feed, you’ll eventually need to start the weaning process, which entails fully stopping breast milk or formula.

This is normally not done until 9 to 12 months after the birth of the child. For the first six months of their lives, newborns should only be fed breast milk or fortified formula.

Even after you’ve introduced other meals, your health visitor will probably recommend that you continue to nurse the baby for as long as it’s comfortable for both of you. Breastfeeding should be continued as a supplementary food source until the child reaches the age of two or longer, according to the WHO 16.

Weaning should be done carefully if you’re nursing, but it doesn’t have to be difficult.

Some parents let their children determine when it’s time to stop breastfeeding. Others start the weaning process on their own. This strategy can be more difficult, especially if your infant is still breastfeeding-dependent. (If this is the case, think about whether stopping at that point is really essential.)

Begin carefully and progressively reduce the amount of food you’re providing. This will not only benefit your kid, but it will also assist your body in becoming accustomed to producing less milk and finally ceasing completely.

Initially, you may choose to cut off one of the daytime feeds, but keep the morning and bedtime feedings. The first and last feedings of the day are more important to babies.

STARTING SOLID FOODS

There is no clear medical suggestion as to which food or foods should be given to babies first. It’s best to start with entire meals such as puréed vegetables, mashed avocado, and mashed sweet potato.

Rice cereal, a typical starting food, has little nutritional value and has been linked to arsenic contamination. Iron-fortified single grain white rice cereal should not be your baby’s main or even primary source of nutrition. Your best bet is generally whole foods.

You can start adding other foods after your baby has adjusted to their first, such as whole-grain cereals, fruits, vegetables, and meats. Make sure the items don’t have any extra salt, sugar, or flavouring.

SUMMARY

For medical reasons, some mothers are unable to breastfeed. You can possibly have a busy schedule that prevents you from breastfeeding due to a lack of flexibility.

However, breastfeeding has a lot of advantages, so try it if you can. It’s possible that it’ll become your favourite time of the day.

Getting the data ahead of time and devising your own feeding strategy will help alleviate any worry or anxiety about feeding your baby. Keep in mind that this is your choice. You should follow your heart and do what seems right for your family.

If you’re having problems deciding, speaking with your doctor, midwife, health visitor or lactation specialist may be beneficial.