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Is Breastfeeding Better Than Using Formula | Hea Boosters

Reviewed and edited by - Ankita Malik, CAPPA certified Lactation consultant, Real Yoga Certified Prenatal Yoga instructor. 

They say a man becomes a father when he first holds his baby in his arms, but a woman becomes a mother the moment she realises that she is expecting. Every expectant mother experiences many joys from baby's first ultrasound to feeling them kick for the first time.

Along with the several ups and a few downs during the journey, comes a lot of advice and suggestions. The tips range from how to take care during pregnancy to what is best for your baby, breastfeeding or formula milk. The parenting community is plagued by so many controversial topics. These discussions also happen because most of our parenting decisions originate either from emotions or personal experiences.

It isn’t always possible to have answers to the questions, but this piece will surely shed some light on one of the biggest questions:

Is breastfeeding better than using formula milk?

After your little one steps into this world, the responsibilities and duties as a person evolves. Now, you have to take care of yourself, look after house and work chores, understand how to feed your baby and adjust to a whole new timetable. Despite all the books on parenting and breastfeeding, you slowly realise that you have to learn a lot of things from experience.

Not all mothers choose to breastfeed their baby, and that’s normal. Sometimes due to limited breastmilk production or the flow of milk, while for others, their baby latches on rubber nipples better than hers. So whether you are going to breastfeed or use formula milk, it is completely your decision and no one should judge you for that.

But to ease your mind, here’s a comparison of breast milk to formula.

What’s in breast milk?

Breastfeeding nurtures your baby with thousands of beneficial components that are essential for their growth. The colostrum, a nutrient-rich fluid, is loaded with immune, growth and tissue repair factors. When you regularly breastfeed your baby, you help them grow strong.


a mom breastfeeding her baby - Hea Boosters        Breastfeeding develops a beautiful bond between a mom and her baby. 


Moreover, skin-to-skin touch promotes bonding between you and your baby, helps you manage your baby diet and eating cycle, faster development of stem cells for organ development, and your baby receives microbes, which are essential for their digestion. There are several breastfeeding benefits for moms too.

Mother’s milk contains thousands of nutrients and components that include:

  • Antibodies that protect your baby against diseases,
  • Direct source of white platelets to fight infection,
  • Prebiotics like oligosaccharides for a healthy gut,
  • Unsaturated fats essential for the development of your baby’s mind, motor skills, and eyes,
  • Nucleotides to foster healthy sleep pattern
Breastmilk is essential for improving your baby’s physical and mental health. As babies grow, they need more white platelets and antibodies to help protect them against infections and diseases. This is considered your baby’s first immunization.


What’s in formula milk?


Formula milk is made from different ingredients which vary according to brands and countries. However, one of the basic ingredients of baby formula milk is processed skimmed cow’s milk. Emulsifiers and stabilizers are then added to this processed cow milk to mix oils and water properly and make it easier for you to feed your baby.

benefits of formula milk - hea boosters                      Formula milk too has all the nutrients that breastmilk has. 


Formula milk may also contain:

  • Natural sugar called lactose, which is found in milk,
  • Plant-based oils are used for better absorption of milk,
  • Fatty acids like DHA and ARA replicate the nutrition found in breastmilk,
  • Plant and animal-source based vitamins and minerals,
  • Enzymes, amino acids, and probiotics.

Breastfeeding vs Formula milk:

When you look at the bigger picture, you need to understand the physical and health benefits of breast milk. It is not just food but complete nourishment for your baby. It protects your baby from several diseases like diarrhea, ear infections, colds, and flu.

Apart from all the benefits of formula milk mentioned above, it also helps your baby stay fuller for long as it takes more time than breastmilk for digestion. Formula milk also makes the schedule of working moms easier. It helps other people in the family to bond with the baby while the mom is asleep or taking a nap.

The benefits of breastmilk are not limited to the physical health of your baby, there are some practical benefits to it as well. Breast milk is completely free as compared to formula milk, which could cost around INR 80-90,000 during the first year of your baby. You also don’t have to worry about buying feeding bottles, sterilizing them, or even about walking around the house at odd hours to prepare the milk.


Conclusion:

Breastfeeding is best for the baby nutrition wise. However, we urge women to make decisions which are informed and as per their situation. Every mother’s situation is unique to her and so is her mindset. Hence there is no right or wrong or no moral policing when it comes to this.

Moms should just be made aware of the pros abs cons of formula feeding. And make decisions about breastfeeding accordingly. All said and done, we are no one to judge whether you want to breastfeed or formula feed your baby. As a mother, you know what works best for both of you, and we understand how much you are giving up on taking care of your baby.

All we would like to do is urge you to think about yourself and your baby. Quite simply, a healthy and happy mother means a healthy and happy baby! If you believe that breastfeeding is the better option that’s well and good and if you believe that your child needs extra nourishment and formula milk is best, then that is also something we agree on, as long as you and your baby are doing great together as one team.

Till then keep reading and feeding your little munchkin as you see fit.

Sources: 

Here's how mother's milk is important for the baby:
https://www.health.ny.gov/prevention/nutrition/wic/breastfeeding/importance.htm#

Benefits of formula milk:
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4882692/

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