In the fight breastfeeding vs formula, it is difficult to decide who is right. However, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), breastfeeding is the best for babies and lists umpteen advantages of breast milk. If possible, it is recommended that one breastfeeds the baby for at least the initial 12 months or longer. In some cases it is not possible to breastfeed the new-born because of many reasons and the mother is left with no option but to go for formula feeding.
Advantages of breastfeeding
Fights infection –
Breast milk contains antibodies, which help in fighting against conditions like:
- ear infection
- respiratory infections
- meningitis- Inflammation of the membrane that covers the brain
Improves the immune system –
Breast milk strengthens the immune system by decreasing the chances of infection and the growth of bacteria and viruses. It proves very beneficial for premature babies to protect them against the following conditions:
- sudden infant death syndrome (SIDC)
Easily digested –
Mother’s milk is easy on the baby’s stomach. Nutrients like proteins, lactose and fat, is easily digested by the under-developed digestive system of an infant.
Full of nutrition –
Who can deny the nutritional value of the breast milk? It has essential proteins, vitamins, fats, and minerals required by the development of the baby.
It’s free –
You do not have to buy breast milk, as it is free of charge. Using Formula milk will cost you a lot of money.
A bond –
Feeding the baby establishes a bond between the mother and the child. Developing this relationship is important for both mother and child.
One need not store breast milk as you would with formula feeding. Whenever required, it is readily available. One does not have worry about sterilizing bottles and making sure that you have sufficient stock of the formula.
Different taste –
Since the baby drinks what the mother eats, the taste of mother’s milk keeps changing according to the mother’s diet.
Good for the mother –
Breastfeeding can help shed excess weight the mother may have gained during pregnancy. Breastfeeding also assists in shrinking the uterus after birth.
Advantages of formula feeding
Sometimes it is not possible to feed the baby in public. Dads can assist in feeding the baby when the mother needs to have some rest or has to go out.
Formula feeding is helpful for working moms. They can leave their child with a caregiver or partner without worrying about the feed.
Less frequency of feed –
Formula milk takes longer to digest and therefore the frequency of feeding is less than with breastfeeding.
Easy on mothers –
Since the baby gets all the nutrients from the formula, the mother need not worry about her diet.
Both breastfeeding and formula feeding have their pros and cons. Therefore, the decision in breastfeeding VS formula is entirely an individual option.