Mothers are recommended to breastfeed their babies at least for six months—even longer if the baby and the mother are willing. Although it is believed by many that breastfeeding is indeed the best choice for babies, However, not all women are capable of breastfeeding for a long time due to various reasons. It all depends on the mother’s lifestyle, comfort level, and medical situation.
Mothers who choose not to breastfeed their child turn to infant formula as an alternative. Formula provides infants with the various nutrients that they need. The decision to breastfeed or feed your child with infant formula is a very personal one, but if you still find yourself unable to make a choice, here are the pros and cons of each option to help you pick a method that works best for you and your child:
- Protection against infection
There are many advantages that come with breastfeeding, the most important one being that it helps babies to better fight infections. This is because antibodies transfer from a mother to her infant during the process of breastfeeding, strengthening the baby’s immune system.
- Ease of Digestion
Breastfeeding also causes babies to have ease of digestion. The components of breast milk are digested easily by newborns. As a result, breastfed babies rarely experience constipation or diarrhea.
Breast milk does not cost anything, which is a major bonus for families who are looking to save a few bucks amidst all the expenses that come with raising a baby.
- Enhanced Emotional Connection
The skin to skin contact that comes with breastfeeding is said to enhance the emotional connection between the baby and the mother, creating a stronger bond between them.
However, there are a few downsides to it as well. The most common con of breastfeeding is the pain that a mother feels throughout the first minute of feeding. Additionally, breastfeeding requires a lot of time and dedication from mothers—especially during the first few months when babies need to be fed frequently. This can disrupt the mother’s time for other responsibilities throughout the day.
Infant formulas are the next common choice for mothers when it comes to feeding their child. Compared to breastfeeding, formulas do not have as many benefits but are still considered as healthy alternatives.
Perhaps the most obvious advantage of feeding your baby with formula is that feeding time does not exclusively involve only the mother. Either parent can perform the deed, giving the dad plenty of time to bond with the little one as well.
- Frequency of Feedings
Formulas are not as easily digested as breast milk. Because of this, babies that are formula-fed do not need to eat as often as those that are breastfed.
There are more downsides of feeding your baby with formula compared to breastfeeding. First, infant formula lack all of the antibodies that are present in breast milk. Additionally, formulas are still unable to replicate breast milk’s complexity, which adjusts to the baby’s changing needs. Formula is also quite costly, which can put a real dent in your wallet. Babies who are fed with formula are also more prone to gas and constipation.
There’s no doubt that choosing the best method to feed your baby can be quite complicated . Review the pros and cons of each option when trying to decide. Talking to your doctor for a consultation can also help you in the decision-making process.