The first decision that all new mothers are faced with, is whether or not breastfeed their child. Not only do mum need to consider the nutritional values for the baby, but they also need to compare which type of milk would best suit their own conditions and needs. Which one is actually better for baby (and mum)?
Feeding babies with breast milk has been proven to have positive health impacts. It provides babies with natural antibodies and reduces the risks of diseases and illnesses, such as Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, Asthma, lymphoma and more. The American Academy of Pediatrics also agrees that breast milk offers the best nutrition for babies, and it is also generally more digestible than formula milk.
Breastfeeding is also beneficial for moms. It reduces the risk of cancers and other illnesses. Because it’s free, breast milk could also save mums from spending too much money on formula milk. Furthermore, breastfeeding can burn up to 500 calories per day, allowing mums to lose extra weight from the pregnancy. Most importantly, breastfeeding allows new mothers to form a bonding relationship with their babies through physical contact.
However, breastfeeding is not always the most convenient option, as moms are also faced with other circumstances, including work, insufficient breast milk supply, stress, and other medical concerns. So what’s the alternative?
Formula milk is indeed more expensive, and may have more gas than breastmilk. However, it’s also the best, most nutritionally adequate alternative for breast milk. Formula milk is made in a sterile condition with some formulas duplicating nutritional values in breastmilk.
Because formula milk is less digestible than breast milk, formula-fed babies generally do not need to be fed as often.
Formula milk also allows moms to share parenting responsibilities, relieving them of the pressures of pumping breast milk and rescheduling other obligations. This also allows moms’ partners to be more involved and have a bonding time with the babies.
Formula milk also allows moms to have less restricted diets. Breastfeeding mums need to steer clear of alcohol and other foods that the babies could not tolerate, whereas formula-feeding moms could be a bit more relaxed.
At the end of the day, both choices would provide your babies with sufficient nutrition. Don’t be too hard on yourself for choosing one over the other or mixing the two methods together. Remember that you are a good mother, no matter how you feed your babies!