Breastfeeding vs Formula Feeding: Which is better?
When you’re getting ready to welcome your firstborn baby into the world, you’ll be faced with
many decisions. How you’ll feed your baby is something you’ll definitely want to consider. Some
moms are passionate about breastfeeding, while others could take it or leave it. Ultimately, the
decision to breastfeed or formula feed is entirely up to the mother. Below, we’ve broken down
some pros and cons of both to help make the decision-making process a bit easier.
Breastfeeding: Pros and Cons
Breastfeeding is typically considered the gold standard of baby feeding given its health benefits
for the baby and mother. Breastfeeding is especially important during the first 6 months of life to
provide babies with optimal nutrients before they start to eat solid foods. There are challenges
associated with breastfeeding too, which can cause some women to stop early. Keep reading
for pros and cons and breastfeeding.
Pros of Breastfeeding
● Better nutrition for baby
● Encourages mother-baby bonding
● Night feedings can be easier since you don’t have to mix bottles
● Lower cost than formula
● Easier to digest than formula
Cons of Breastfeeding
● Can cause physical discomfort
● May require additional support from a lactation consultant
Formula Feeding: Pros and Cons
Many women decide that formula feeding is the best method for them. Formula feeding is also a
great option for women who have difficulty breastfeeding or who need to supplement breastmilk
to help their baby gain additional weight. Sometimes it is necessary to give your baby a
combination of breastmilk and formula in order to ensure that they are getting enough nutrients.
Below, we’ve listed additional pros and cons of formula feeding.
Pros of Formula Feeding
● Can be easier for working moms who don’t want to pump
● Prevents some bodily discomfort such as soreness
● Takes some of the burden off of the mother, since others can feed the baby
● Makes it easier to keep track of how much milk your baby is consuming
Cons of Formula Feeding
● Doesn’t offer the same natural nutrients/benefits of breastfeeding
● Can make postpartum recovery and bonding with the baby more challenging
Which Baby Formula is Most Similar to Breastmilk?
If you do choose to give your baby formula, you’ll want to make sure to offer them an organic
formula that is free from harmful ingredients. Some non-organic formulas contain artificial
ingredients, GMOs, and sweeteners such as corn syrup. Make sure to do your research and
read the ingredient labels of your baby’s formula before making a decision on what to give them.
Organic, European baby formulas are an ideal choice since they offer a clean ingredient label
while also containing all of the necessary vitamins and nutrients that your baby needs to thrive.
One of the reasons why breastmilk is so good for babies is the prebiotics and probiotics that it
contains. Look for a formula that also contains these ingredients to help support healthy
digestion and gut health. If your baby has a hard time digesting standard baby formula, look for
one that is made from goat’s milk, rather than cow’s milk. This can be much easier for babies to
digest who have sensitivities to cow’s milk, given the different protein profile.
Tips for Overcoming Breastfeeding Challenges
It’s no secret that breastfeeding can be incredibly challenging. If you’re having a difficult time
with breastfeeding but you’re not ready to throw in the towel yet, consult with a lactation
consultant for help. Lactation consultants can help you identify what the challenges are and help
you implement methods to overcome these challenges.
What About Combination Feeding?
In some situations, feeding your baby a combination of breastmilk and formula may be
necessary. If you need to feed your baby both breastmilk and formula, make sure to pay
attention to how your baby tolerates the formula and find one that they can digest easily. Wait
until your baby is at least four weeks old to introduce a bottle (if you don’t want to switch to
exclusive bottle feeding yet) to help avoid nipple confusion. Also, make sure to use a bottle that
they enjoy drinking from – this may require you to test out a couple of different types first.