Breastfeeding Vs. Formula Feeding
There is an ongoing debate between the benefits of breastfeeding versus formula feeding. It is a common belief that breastfeeding is the best option, but formula is actually a nutritious alternative to breast milk. There are many benefits and drawbacks to each; discuss these with your partner or healthcare provider before making a decision.
Breastfeeding Versus Formula Feeding: Weighing the Options
Breastfeeding or formula feeding? You might be putting off your decision on which option to choose for feeding your newborn. But the time has come to learn the benefits and drawbacks of each.
When deciding which is best for you, consider your options thoroughly and go with the method that you feel is best for you and your baby. This decision should be made by you and your partner, with some helpful guidance by your healthcare provider.
And remember, any amount of breastfeeding is beneficial. You can always try breastfeeding for a couple of weeks. If you decide that it is not for you, you can easily switch to formula. However, it is not so easy to switch from formula to breast milk.
The Benefits of Breastfeeding
Breastfeeding is often said to be the best thing you can do for your baby. Breast milk has the perfect balance of nutrition required by an infant for his growth and developmental needs. There are also health benefits of breastfeeding for infants, including:
- Providing antibodies that help build up their immune system.
- Getting sick less often and needing to see the doctor fewer times in their first year due to illness. Studies show that babies who are breastfed are less likely to get ear infections, respiratory infections (such as the common cold or flu), urinary tract infections (UTIs), vomiting, and/or diarrhea.
- Improved digestive system function and decreased chance for infections within the digestive tract.
- Possible long-term health benefits. Some studies show a decreased chance for obesity, cardiovascular disease, allergic conditions, type 1 diabetes, and inflammatory bowel disease in infants who were breastfed.
There are also possible benefits of breastfeeding for the mother. These include:
- Quicker recovery from childbirth
- Reduced levels of stress due to certain hormones released during breastfeeding
- Increased weight loss after pregnancy (if breastfeeding continues for at least six months)
- A possible decreased risk of breast cancer (before menopause) or ovarian cancer.
Some of the practical benefits of breastfeeding include:
- It is cost-effective
- There is nothing to mix or measure
- Food is always available
- There are no bottles and nipples to sterilize.