There is a long-standing debate over breastfeeding vs formula, and it will probably always be this way.
The choice is up to you, but I wanted to give you a little more information about both in hopes that your decision-making will be a little less hard.
Please be sure to read both parts because I am not going to sway you either way, but simply inform you.
Benefits of breastfeeding
There are some awesome perks of breast milk including:
- Breast milk has immunities
- Gentler on Baby's Tummy
- It's Free
- Helps you bond with baby
- helps mom lose weight fast!
Breast milk has immunities
Breast milk contains immunities that you, as a mom, have acquired over time.
Not only that, breast milk has a lot of properties that can help with cradle cap, baby acne, rashes, teething, and even eye infections.
Gentle on Baby's tummy
Breast milk is also easier on sensitive tummies, and won’t cause your baby to have as much gas (depending on what you eat).
Breast milk is Free
Another perk of breastfeeding is that its free (well…almost-time is money)!
Bond with Baby
Breastfeeding also helps you bond with baby in a way no one else can.
It sets you aside from all the other visitors or family members who hold your little one, because you provide nourishment.
Lose Weight Fast
Another perk specifically for mom would be that breastfeeding or even pumping can help you lose the baby weight a lot quicker.
Disadvantages of breastfeeding
As with any comparison here are the disadvantages of breastfeeding and pumping:
- baby eats what you eat
- doesn't always come easy
- you have to plan your trips wisely
- leaky boobs
- losing your supply
Baby Eats What you Eat
Your baby eats what you eat or drink, in a manner of speaking.
This means you have to watch certain foods that make your baby gassy, and alcohol isn't a good idea, unless you pump and dump.
This isn’t necessarily a negative thing, but just something to remember.
Breastfeeding is time-consuming
While it is time you are bonding with your baby, it also takes up a lot of time.
The breast is best people are going to hate me for saying it, but it is so easy to get tired of those late date nights with your Medela, and/or want to skip a feeding because you just want to sleep.
Related: Guide to Pumping Breastmilk
Breastfeeding doesn't always come easy
There can be physiological limitations which can make breastfeeding a lot harder, including inverted nipples and flat nipples.
There is hope though with the help of nipple shields. You can find out more about the breastfeeding must haves that make life easier.
Plan your Trips Wisely
You also have to plan out when you leave the house a lot more thoroughly.
When it's feeding time or pumping time, you are going to want to do just that to prevent engorgement (ouch!).
I can still remember the days of pain because we stayed later at a family member’s house and it began pushing into my time when I would pump.
I was about ready to snap!
This next one is a little bit TMI, but leaky boobs.
When you are pumping or breastfeeding, you are going to have to remember to wear breast pads because leaky boobs are a real thing.
There’s nothing more awful than being out in public and realizing that you forgot a pad and now your milk supply is going through your bra and onto your shirt for all to see *face palm*.
Losing Your Supply
Another potential problem is losing your supply before you were ready to stop.
Or, maybe you haven't quite lost it, but your supply is starting to lessen.
Benefits of formula feeding
As with breastmilk, formula also has some benefits to consider including:
- chemical breakdown is VERY close to breast milk
- formula lasts longer in baby's tummy
- you can easily have help with feedings
- husband can bond with baby while he helps feed
Chemical Breakdown of Formula
One of the perks to consider is that nowadays, they have formula that is so close to the chemical breakdown of breast milk.
This is awesome because you don’t have to sacrifice the nutrients and vitamins and such when you use formula!
Formula lasts longer in baby's tummy
Another perk, if you will, is that formula takes longer to digest than breastmilk.
This results in baby feeling fuller longer, and can correlate to sleeping longer.
I know with my two kids, when we switched to formula, they were sleeping longer through the night.
Easily have help with feeding baby
With formula, you can also have someone else help you with feedings.
It can be a lot of pressure to know you are 100% responsible for your baby not starving.
With formula, your husband can make a bottle too (but he certainly can’t breastfeed).
Not only that, it can help him bond with baby too, because some men have a hard time bonding at first.
You can read further on ways to help baby and dad bond here.
Disadvantages of formula feeding
Now it’s on to the bad and ugly of formula because this is, after all, a comparison.
Here is a brief summary of the drawbacks to formula feeding:
- formula stinks
- formula makes babies gassy
- requires you use a lot of bottles, and wash them
- you will use a lot of purified water
Formula is Expensive
So here’s the deal: formula is expensive and when you need it, you need it.
I do have an article here on how to save money on baby formula that is definitely worth checking out, but regardless formula is still expensive.
Formula literally stinks. In the canister, and also mixed with water.
Don’t worry, your baby won’t mind, but you definitely have to prepare yourself for the smell.
Formula Can Cause Gas Pains
Formula makes babies gassy, and some babies can’t digest it as easily.
Formula makers have combated this issue by making a gentler formula for babies who have a tendency to spit-up a lot.
For the gas, I would suggest some gripe water and you can read more about how to help your baby with the gas pains here.
Use a lot of bottles, so more dishes!
Another thing about formula feeding a baby is that you are going to be washing a lot of bottles, and use a lot of purified water!
I am picky when it comes to making formula in that I don’t use city water.
Where I live, it’s not bad, but I’m not willing to take the risk.
Also, even on well water, at our old house, my pediatrician advised us against using this and instead to opt for a purified water.
FAQ moms have
Breast milk has mom's immunities in it, but there is no guarantee your baby will be healthier than a formula fed baby.
No. There are definitely correlations made, but how intelligent a person is has many factors that would be hard to determine if breast milk or formula played any part.
Our stance on breastfeeding and formula feeding
Everywhere you go, you will hear the term "breast is best".
I will end the debate right here and right now in that fed is best.
No matter which one you choose, the best thing for baby is that baby is getting fed.
I had trouble breastfeeding and my daughter was starving, which is why I made the switch to formula with her.
With my son, my supply ran out rather quickly because he was in the NICU.