Breastfeeding Vs Formula Milk-Is it a Matter of Choice or Guilt?

Breastfeeding Vs Formula Milk-Is it a Matter of Choice or Guilt?

From the time mothers give birth to their babies, they’re faced with one of the biggest question i.e. whether to breastfeed or offer formula milk to their newborns. People start offering all sorts of advice and even those who have never raised a child before tend to come up with their own suggestions and perspective. Imagine all of this when you’re still trying to cope up with your body, health and mental condition. The trouble increases two fold when your family members come up with several old wives tales suggesting that breast milk is indeed the best choice. As for formula milk, all they have is a big ‘No’. Why? Because they feel it’ll harm your newborn in many ways owing to its lack of nutritional value and content.

Are you a new mother? Can you relate with this situation? If yes, then welcome to motherhood!

A world full of confusion, myths and lots of panicking and fussing around about your child! As a mother, you obviously want the best for your child (Read nutrient rich food, good physical and mental health and overall development). Hence, when it comes to giving your baby his/her very first food, you obviously want to give her the natural breast milk. But what do you do when you aren’t producing just enough milk for your baby or when you develop breast problems like Mastitis and cracked nipples or your existing health condition just won’t permit you? Should you continue to suffer from guilt or should you opt for better alternatives such as formula feeding? Read on to find out more.

First Things First-The Benefits of Breastfeeding

According to the AAP, the American Academy of Pediatrics breastfeeding is ideal for newborns and mothers must exclusively breast feed their babies for the initial 6 months. The Academy also recommends that once the infant starts accepting solid food items after a period of 6 months, mothers should continue breastfeeding their baby until he/she turns one.

Sounds like a huge challenge? But here’s the best part.

When you breast feed your newborn you’re actually offering him/her with a host of benefits including:

  • Breast milk contains antibodies, which help the infant in resisting diseases like ear infection.
  • It’ll reduce constipation problems in your baby.
  • It helps in increasing your baby’s intelligence level. Several studies have found that babies that are breast fed develop higher cognitive skills.
  • Breast milk can also help the infant in minimizing the risk of developing health problems such as asthma, obesity, type 1 and type 2 diabetes, Hodgkin’s disease, high cholesterol, lymphoma and even leukemia.

It’s Excellent for Mother’s too..

  • Mothers who choose to breast feed their babies reduce their risk of developing breast cancer, heart diseases, diabetes, ovarian cancer and osteoporosis.
  • It helps them in developing an everlasting bond with their babies.

Over to Formula Feeding and the Myths

While, people are full of praise about breast milk, there are numerous myths surrounding formula milk. In fact, the elderly women or family members may even go to the extent of cursing you for offering formula milk to your baby. Some of the most common myths surrounding formula feeding are:

  • Formula feeding results in reduced breast milk in your body.
  • Formula fed babies aren’t as intelligent as bottle fed babies.
  • You’ll never be able to develop a strong bonding with your baby with formula milk.
  • One should never combing breast feeding with bottle feeding.

But remember at the end of the day these are just myths with no research or studies to back them!

In fact, studies and research conducted by experts have found that combining breastfeeding and bottle feeding helps mothers in breastfeeding for longer duration. Experts have also found that when mothers add formula to their infant’s diet, their breasts gets accustomed to their baby’s new diet and they continues to produce as much milk as their baby require. Besides, there’s no evidence that suggests that breast fed babies are more intelligent in comparison to the formula fed infants. Researchers have concluded that formula milk is packed with essential nutrients and is the best alternative to breast milk.

Final Verdict

So, we come back to our initial question? Which of the two is better? You’ll be glad to know that the answer lies with the mom! If you and your baby are comfortable with breast feeding then go ahead with it. Alternatively, if you feel that formula feeding is best for you as well as your infant, then don’t think twice. Lastly, if you feel that combining both breast feeding and bottle feeding would be an ideal solution, then make that personal choice and don’t let anyone interfere with it.

-Puja Bhardwaj

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