Breastfeeding is considering the ultimate test of motherhood in society. However, it is a reality that a lot of moms struggle to breastfeed. It can be mentally and physically strenuous for the mom.
At the end of the day, it depends on the mother and her baby to decide what feeding choice is best for them. They can decide on just breast milk, or just formula or a combination of both.
If you are a mother who is exploring both feeding options and what they entail, we will highlight the pros and cons in this comprehensive breastfeeding guide for you to decide:
Pros of Breastfeeding
- It is the natural way to feed your baby. Your body is designed to produce milk for your baby which is why it contains a lot of nutrients that are great for an infant. It contains sleep regulating and gut balancing properties that may not be replicated by formula.
- Breast milk strengthens the baby’s immune system, which means they are less prone to getting sick.
- It decreases chances of breast and ovarian cancer for the mom.
- In terms of travelling, breastfeeding is more convenient because you won’t have to worry about packing a huge diaper bag, with bottles, water, formula, etc.
- Breastfeeding doesn’t require any preparation, apart from getting into a comfortable position with your baby. You don’t have to worry about washing bottles, warming up water, and measuring the formula multiple times in a day.
- It is economical in terms of cost, because breast milk is practically free.
Cons of Breastfeeding
- It may be challenging. Some mothers may go through physical discomfort such as sore nipples and breasts, neck pain, and back pain which can be hard on them.
- There can be latching problems which can be frustrating for both mom and baby. It can also result in baby not getting their required dose of feed which can cause further problems.
- It can be pressurizing to have the sole responsibility of feeding the baby. Newborns have to follow a strict schedule of feeding, which means mothers have to constantly make sure their milk supply is meeting baby’s demand. This will also involve pumping and storing milk in order to regulate the supply.
- Moms have to be careful with their diet, because what you eat also ends up in the baby’s system. This also means that any intake of medication such as pain killers could also be problematic.
Pros of Bottle/Formula Feeding
- Formula is a great alternative to breast milk. It contains all the nutritional value that a baby needs for growth and development.
- Feeding will not be the sole responsibility of the mother. You can ask your partner, or other family members to help you with feeding. This means mom gets more time to relax, and more importantly, sleep.
- Mothers have said formula feeding is a lot quicker than bottle feeding. Babies also don’t get as hungry frequently because formula takes a while to digest. This essentially means that the feedings are more paced out, and mom gets more time for herself.
- You will be aware of how much formula baby is consuming. This is good if you want to keep track of how much weight they are gaining.
- Mothers don’t have to worry about demand/supply for milk production, because there will always be enough formula.
- If you are a working mother, you don’t have to worry about pumping and storing milk before you go to work.
- Moms don’t have to see feeding as a “burden” which is extremely relieving and has a positive effect on their mental health. For mothers going through postpartum depression, every bit of help matters.
Cons of Bottle/Formula Feeding
- Formula may not provide baby the natural antibodies they need to counter illnesses.
- It can be time consuming to wash bottles, prepare the bottle, etc. It may not be convenient when you are travelling.
- Formula feeding can add up to a lot in terms of cost. You have to account for bottles, rubber nipples and the formula itself.
- Mothers may not feel the bond with their child, as they would with breastfeeding.