Breastfeeding vs Formula: What's Really Best for Your Newborn?

There's a lot of unsolicited advice that comes the way of a new mom.

Repeatedly hearing about what you ought to do and how you should do it can be exhausting.

Don't forget the passive-aggressive questioning you’ll receive, “You’re sure you want to do that?”

Breastfeeding is no different. Breastfeed your baby in public and a few people become uncomfortable. This leaves you with a bottle of formula to rely on, right?

There are still others who criticize moms for denying their baby “nature's perfect food” - breast milk.

This triggers the infamous mommy guilt. Before you go any further, it's good to remind yourself that different moms may have different needs.

What You Should Know About Breastfeeding

If you can breastfeed your little one with no problems, this is (most assuredly) the way to go.

“Mothers are strongly encouraged to breastfeed their infants unless there is a medical reason not to.” USDA and WIC programs.

Mom's should consider breastfeeding for health-conscious reasons.

Pros of Breastfeeding

  • Nutrition

    Breast milk has components - fat, lactose, protein (casein and whey) - that are easily digested by a newborn.

    Formula-fed infants experience more difficulty when it comes to digestion. This is opposed to breastfed infants as a group. Breast milk is more easily digested. Thus breastfed babies experience fewer bouts of constipation or diarrhea.

    Up to date, commercial formulas cannot completely match breast milk's composition. Why is this? Well, breast milk is made by each mother for her young one… this is something that cannot be replicated in a factory.

  • Convenience

    It doesn't cost a cent to breastfeed your child.

    If you can pump breast milk, you have no need for bottles, or pacifiers, things that adds to your budget! There's also the fact that breastfed babies are less likely to fall ill. This cuts the cost of trips to the doctor’s office. You save on prescriptions and over the counter medicines or fewer co-pays.

  • Bonding With Your Baby

    Moms tend to enjoy the skin to skin contact that boosts bonding time with their babies.

    A new mom also improves her own personal confidence. This is in her ability to take care of her baby by being able to nourish them herself. It also helps them shrink their uterus and burn calories to regain shape much faster.

    Some studies suggest that one of the benefits of breastmilk includes improved cognitive development.

Cons of Breastfeeding

  • Discomfort in Early Breastfeeding

    Moms sometimes experience pain or discomfort in the first week to ten days.

    This is known as latch-on pain. This pain lessens with every feeding. A lactation consultant should be contacted if the pain continues beyond 10 days.

    It's often a matter of finding the most suitable technique for you and your baby. A lactation consultant can help clarify if the pain is normal or a mom has an infection.

    General discomfort can also be brought about by what you wear. Have you invested in a quality maternity or nursing bra?

White beautiful maternity bra
The Beautiful Maternity Bra

  • Frequency of Feedings

    You need to be ready to commit to your baby's feeding patterns or habits. This is especially crucial in the beginning when they feed often. Working moms know it can be quite a hassle when they need to pump breast milk. Some moms create breastfeeding schedules.

    A mom may find herself nursing (approximately) 2 to 3 hours a day in the early weeks. This is because breastmilk is easier to digest than formula, meaning your baby takes in more milk.

What You Should Know About Formula Feeding

For some moms, breastfeeding isn't an option.

This could be due to personal or medical reasons. Formulas are designed to duplicate a mother's milk. This is through a combination of fats, sugars, vitamins, and proteins that you cannot simply whip up at home.

If breastfeeding is not an option for you, please don't try to make your own formula. Only use commercially prepared ones.

Pros of Formula Feeding

  • Flexibility

    With ready-to-go bottles, a formula feeding mom can leave her baby in the care of her partner. She doesn’t need to worry about what her baby will eat.

    She won't have to reschedule her activities or errands. Most moms do this to match the baby's feeding patterns.

  • Convenience 

    This allows a mom to go about her own business during the day as either parent (or guardian) can feed the baby at any time. This is also true for moms who would rather pump their breast milk.

    This allows partners to be more immersed in the bonding process that comes with feeding the baby.

  • Diet Management 

    Moms who go for formula feeding don't need to worry about what they drink or eat. You can have a glass of wine with your dinner and not fret over it.

Cons of Formula Feeding

  • Can Be Costly

    Formula can be a tad expensive. Specialty formulas (such as hypoallergenic or soy) cost far more than basic formulas. Ready-to-feed formulas are the most expensive, followed by concentrated, then powdered formula.

  • Lack of Antibodies

    You cannot find any antibodies of breastmilk in formula. Your baby does not get the added protection from illness and infections that breast milk gives.

  • Requires Planning and Organization 

    You need to always ensure you have a bottle available, and a couple stored. This is to avoid late-night trips to the convenience store. Unlike breast milk which is always available and has just the right temperature!

    You also need to make sure you have all the necessary equipment (nipples and bottles), and they need to be clean and accessible.

FAQs on Breastfeeding vs. Formula

Can I Breastfeed and Formula Feed Simultaneously?

Switching to formula can disrupt breastfeeding and affect your milk supply. After introducing other foods to your baby, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) still asks moms to stick with breastfeeding. This is until the baby is a year old.

You can introduce formula feeding to your baby and merge it with breastfeeding - after your baby has gotten used to breastfeeding.

Is My Milk Supply Affected by Formula Feeding?

Your breasts produce milk as per your baby's demand. When your baby latches on to your nipple and suckles, it acts as a trigger on your milk-producing cells. This then initiates the supply of milk.

Every time milk is removed, it could be by your baby feeding or expressing, your breasts produce more milk.

When you formula feed, your body does not get the signs to produce more milk. Because none is being removed, and this reduces your supply. If your baby breastfeeds a lot, the more milk you'll make.

How Do I Boost Breastfeeding?

Moms need to remember to take care of themselves. Drinking lots of fluids and eating a healthy diet can help in successful breastfeeding.

You also need a confidence boost! Learning more about breastfeeding is not a bad place to start. Asking for help is also something you shouldn't be ashamed of. Talking to friends who've done before could be a great help.

Lactation consultants or your baby's health care provider are also great resources.

Is My Baby At Risk From Infant Formula?

No. There are immunity-boosting elements found in breast milk. Commercial infant formula may lack these elements.

If your baby has any special nutritional needs, they might require a special formula. Infant formula is good for healthy babies that may have typical dietary needs.

Why Breastfeeding Takes The Gold

Pregnant woman using maternity bra

Making the decision on how to feed your baby is not always easy. Don’t rush yourself.

Exclusive breastfeeding is natural, but not always easy. Moms can sometimes experience a delay in their milk supply. Did you know that sometimes moms also get inverted nipples during this period?

Every mom wants to feel supported and beautiful during this time. Why not get a New Bloom Beautiful Maternity bra that offers comfort and great style?

Take it from one of our clients, “If I could do a 6th star I would! I was having a terrible time with fitting bras and I was leery of buying one online. I used to have breast pains and after wearing this for one day I felt great and no pain!. Definitely worth the money!”

Feature Image: Freepik

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