Are you in the middle of the breastfeeding vs. formula debate? You may even have well meaning friends, co-workers, and family members who are trying to make you feel very guilty. They keep telling you how you will be cheating your baby if you do not breastfeed. It is time for you to review the commonly accepted facts and then make a logical choice for yourself, not to satisfy everyone else.
Perhaps the biggest reasons the breastfeeding vs. formula debate exists comes down to two very simple facts. Breast milk is high in antibodies which help keep your baby from coming down with certain illnesses. This is a very strong advantage.
The second fact is breast milk is easier for your baby to digest. It is what their tiny bodies have been designed to digest. Your breast milk is the evolutionary culmination of the perfect food for our tiny babies. This does not mean it is the only choice.
Formula is very high in nutrition, also. Depending on the formula you choose it may even be higher in certain vitamins and minerals than your breast milk. In most countries it must meet strict nutritional requirements in order to be sold.
While baby formula is not as easy to digest there are a variety of different kinds of breast milk replacement formulations. If you discover your baby is having problems digesting one kind of formula check with your pediatrician and they can advise on alternatives which may be easier for your baby’s digestion. Most formulas use cow’s milk as the primary source of protein. For some babies this is hard to digest and is replaced with other alternatives in some formulations.
Breastfeeding has the advantage of being free, if you exclude the cost of nursing bras, nursing clothes, breast pads, possibly a breast pump, and other accessories. Formula is going to cost most families $20 per week or more.
Breastfeeding often is claimed to be more convenient because it is always ready. Tell that to a mother who is going through the mall and cannot find a private corner, or to the exhausted mother at 3AM when no one else can feed the baby. Formula does take preparation but is more convenient in location usage and in allowing others to help out.
If you ask your pediatrician he is going to tell you breastfeeding is the best choice. He is exactly right. It is the best choice for your baby, but not always the choice which is going to work. Your baby will be healthy, grow, and be just as happy with formula. You can still cuddle the baby while you feed them their bottle. The bonding experience can be shared by both you and your husband.
As you can see the breastfeeding vs. formula debate is not an easy one to answer. Do not feel guilty if you choose to use formula. It is very healthy for your baby, and is required by all the mothers who never have their breast milk come in. If breastfeeding fits into your lifestyle it is the right choice, it just is not the only choice.