Breast Feeding Vs. Baby Formulas
Bringing a child into the world is one of the most beautiful things in life. Women have the ability to help create, grow, nourish, and deliver life. With this great responsibility, comes lots of other decisions. New parents have to think about how they’ll provide for their families, the way they plan on raising and parenting, who is going to babysit when they have to go back to work, and much more. One of the most common and important concerns new parents may have after the birth of their child is, how are they planning to feed them? There are different ways a baby can be fed and each provides them with different risks and benefits.
In this week’s blog we are going to discuss the main differences between breast feeding a child and deciding to use baby formula.
While there is no “right” way to feed a baby, there are more preferred ways. Deciding between breast feeding and formula feeding can be a daunting decision as it involves nourishing and caring for your child. However, there are ways to narrow down the decision and help choose which one is the best option for you and your child. But first, we must discuss the main difference between breast feeding and formula feeding.
What exactly are the differences between breastfeeding and formula feeding?
The biggest difference between formula feeding and breast feeding is the ingredients. Breast milk is the most natural form of nutrients for the baby because it has no additives or any other fillers. It also supplies necessary antibodies for the newborn’s immune system. In contrast, formulas are known to have added ingredients that can be harmful to the baby. In some cases, formulas can be too harsh on the baby and cause them to develop gas, abdominal discomfort and possibly even allergies. Not to say that there are no “baby friendly” formulas, it just can be a challenge to discover which ones are more complimenting to your baby over other ones.
What factors contribute to choosing between breastfeeding and formula feeding?
The biggest factor in choosing whether to breastfeed or formula feed is up to the mother and baby. On occasions it is not uncommon for the mother to have difficulty breast feeding, whether that is due to her milk ducts not producing enough milk or the baby is having difficulty latching. The main thing that you are missing when picking formula over breastfeeding is the natural hormones and nutrients that are tailored and made specifically by mom for the baby.
Are there any alternatives to breastfeeding?
Besides the obvious alternative to choose formula feedings over breastfeeding, a mother can opt to purchase donated breast milk from other breast feeding mothers. There are actually companies that offer women to donate their excess breastmilk for mothers that are in need of more or who can not produce any in general. These mothers choose to pump their excess milk and provide them to other mothers who are having difficulty with the process. Donating excess breast milk is an amazing way to give back and support other mothers through the challenging road of parenthood. It can be devastating to some mothers to hear that they can not produce enough milk for their child, so even just a small donation can make a huge difference.
What should you know about formulas?
Formulas can be a great alternative to breast feeding as long as the proper research is done. Always be sure to read the ingredients as well as follow the proper instructions. Ingredients to avoid in baby formulas are: heavy metals, melamine, soy, gluten, corn syrup/sugar, genetically modified organisms (GMO’s), mineral oil, preservatives, faux iron, and synthetic nutrients. A common mistake made with formula feedings are improperly preparing the bottle. It is important to follow the instructions on how to prepare the bottle and never over or under dilute the formula. This can cause a dilution of the nutrients or, in contrast, make it too concentrated causing strain on the kidneys. Another thing to be mindful of is to always use filtered water to prepare formula. A newborn should never consume cow’s milks before the age of one. This is because it can be too harsh on the stomach and the baby may even have an allergy that is currently unknown. That being said, if formula is your option, be sure to choose one that doesn’t have any of the above ingredients.
What option should you choice?
Food is fuel for both the body and mind. Choosing what to feed your baby sets the tone for their growth and development. At the end of the day, the choice is yours. Regardless of your choice, it is important to understand the risk and benefits from both options.