There is much debate as to whether a mother should exclusively breastfeed, supplement breastfeeding with formula or only use formula. There are different lines of reasoning when it comes to formula and breastmilk, but it is good to get a comprehensive understanding of the subject before giving into biases. It is also wise to remember that each mother has to make her own informed decision based on her family’s needs and her personal circumstances.
Some Benefits of Breastmilk
Breastmilk has been proven to be highly beneficial for newborn babies for many reasons.
1. Breastmilk Is Loaded With Nutrition
Breastmilk has all of the vitamins and nutrients that your baby will need to thrive. The first milk that comes from your breast, called colostrum, is like a powerful boost of nutrition for your baby. The only vitamin that cannot be found in breastmilk is vitamin D, so if you choose to exclusively breastfeed, you will have to supplement with vitamin D.
2. Breastmilk Gives Immunity
Your baby receives your immunity when it drinks your breastmilk, so you are helping your baby avoid several infections when you choose to breastfeed.
3. Breastfeeding Prevents Other Health Problems in Children
Children who have been breastfed tend to have fewer problems with digestion, asthma, meningitis, diarrhea, allergies, obesity and SIDs. Since you pass your antibodies to your baby when you breastfeed, you strengthen your child’s immune system. In this way, your baby has a healthier childhood, and unneeded hospital trips are avoided.
4. The Beginning of a Genius
There have been several studies on breastfed adults that prove that a measure of intelligence may be linked to breastfeeding, so when you breastfeed your baby, you could be creating a genius.
One of the best things about breastmilk is that it is free. It can be expensive to pay for formula. Since you have all of the food that your baby needs in your body, you are saving your family money when you choose to breastfeed.
Some Reasons to Give Formula
When it comes to breastfeeding, it can be difficult to always find a comfortable and private place to do it. When you use formula, you have the ease of taking out a bottle and feeding your baby at any time and in any place.
2. Lactose-Intolerance Issues
More and more babies are born with lactose allergies. If your baby has a lactose allergy, you will not be able to breastfeed even if that was your original desire.
3. Extreme Discomfort
Mothers have different experiences with breastfeeding. Some mothers have little pain and no real issues, and others have extreme pain in the form of cracked and bleeding nipples, engorgement or even infection of the nipple/areola. If you feel like it is too uncomfortable for you to handle, formula might be the best choice for your baby.
4. Personal Preference
There is really no one who can tell you, as a mother, how to best feed your child. You may not want to breastfeed your child because of your hectic work schedule. You may not want to breastfeed your child because you do not like the process. Really, it is a decision that you and your partner can make. It is your body, so you choose.
Each Mother, Each Baby
The debate of formula vs breastmilk is ongoing, and it will probably always be a hot topic. Despite many positions about the right way to rear children, each mother is unique. The decision that you make has nothing to do with the amount of love that you have for your child. The choice has to do with lifestyle, circumstances and personal preference. Even though there are some people who openly express their strong opinion about formula vs. breastmilk, no one should judge a mother for the choice she makes since only she knows her unique situation. Never let anyone tell you how to care for your child. There are so many issues that moms have to deal with, so there is no need to get overwhelmed. Do your research and make your decision; you are going to be a great mom.