Choosing whether to feed your baby with your breast milk or to give her formula is a tough decision. If you are still torn apart, here are five questions to help you decide.
What are the benefits of breastfeeding?
Breast milk provides natural antibodies that help your baby fight illnesses, such as ear infections. It is often easier to digest than formula, which is why breastfed babies are less likely to get constipated and gassy. Breastfeeding has been linked with a lower risk of sudden infant death syndrome and elevated IQ scores. It reduces the risks of other chronic illnesses later in life as well.
What good can breastfeeding do for the mother?
Women who breastfeed their child have a much lower risk of breast cancer, ovarian cancer, and other chronic diseases such as diabetes, osteoporosis, and heart disease. It helps the mother cultivate a close relationship with her child.
What are the difficulties of breastfeeding?
New mothers may find breastfeeding quite challenging. Latching-on can cause pain for the mother. Breastfeeding requires a lot of time and commitment since breastfed babies usually need to be fed more often than formula fed babies. If you want to breastfeed, you will have to watch your diet carefully because whatever you eat is likely to be passed down to your child through your milk.
What medical conditions are bad for breastfeeding?
Sometimes, it is not really a choice. You should give your baby formula if you happen to have HIV/AIDS, cancers or other conditions that require chemotherapy. The use of certain medications can make breastmilk dangerous as well. Consult with your doctor about your medical history before you decide to breastfeed your baby.
Does formula offer any health benefit?
Yes, it does indeed. Formula feeding is not as bad as you think. Statistically speaking, there is not much a difference between formula-fed babies and breastfed babies in development. Since formula does take more time to digest, it stays in the stomach of your baby longer, giving you a bit more time. A study of baby monkeys found out formula-fed infants put on weight easier than those who were breastfed. The reason is probably the high amount of protein in formula.
Choosing between formula and breastmilk may be challenging. If you still cannot decide, it is advisable to consult carefully with your doctor, weighing the pros against the cons to figure out what is best for you and your baby.
Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
Review Date: November 20, 2016 | Last Modified: December 6, 2019
Breastfeeding vs. Formula Feeding. http://www.webmd.com/baby/breastfeeding-vs-formula-feeding. Accessed November 10, 2016
Breastfeeding vs. Formula Feeding. http://kidshealth.org/en/parents/breast-bottle-feeding.html#. Accessed November 10, 2016.