When you are expecting a little miracle, there are a lot of decisions (with a capital D) to be made. One of them has to do with feeding your little one: do you want to give your baby breast milk or formula? Some moms don't have to think about this for long and know right away what their preference is. Other mommies to be prefer to take some more time to think about this choice. And that is certainly understandable, because both breastfeeding and artificial feeding have advantages and disadvantages.
You've probably heard quite a few opinions from people around you ("You're not considering artificial breastfeeding as an option, are you?") and chances are you've also read a lot on Google about this topic, but what is really true and what are fables? Therefore, this blog is all about the pros and cons of breastfeeding and artificial feeding. Hopefully, after reading this blog, you will be able to cross-feeding your mini-me off your dilemma list ;) Whatever choice you make, know that there is absolutely no 'right or wrong choice'.
Do you gravitate towards the intimate skin-to-skin contact you have with your baby when breastfeeding? This is understandable, as it will promote bonding between the mother and the baby. For the health of your baby, breastfeeding is also a good option.
If you choose to breastfeed, it is useful to follow a breastfeeding course given by a lactation expert. This course is all about breastfeeding like a pro, where you will hear what to expect when breastfeeding. Being prepared never hurts, right?
Advantages of breastfeeding
Many parents prefer breastfeeding. This is for good reason, as breastfeeding has many benefits:
- Antibodies. Breast milk contains certain antibodies that are necessary for your baby's immunity. These antibodies will protect your baby from bacteria and allergies.
- The composition of breast milk is changeable. While the composition of artificial milk does not change, the composition of breast milk adapts to the age of your baby. Special, right?
- Breast milk is always present. If you choose to breastfeed, you will never have to worry about forgetting artificial milk for your little one when you go on an outing. You will always have breast milk with you!
- Faster recovery after giving birth. Breastfeeding women have the advantage of quicker physical recovery from childbirth, as well as a quicker return to the pre-pregnancy weight. And that's not unimportant either!
- It's free. No one needs to tell you that you will be spending a lot of money on stuff for your baby, but let breast milk not be one of them.
- Digestion. Breast milk is well adapted to babies' digestive systems. As a result, their intestines will suffer less than babies who are fed formula.
- Your baby has less chance of getting infections. Think of stomach, intestine, and respiratory infections. And of course, you want to prevent these infections!
- No need to warm up. When breastfeeding, you don't need to worry about the presence of a microwave to warm up the food when you are away with your baby for the day. Nice and easy!
- Menstruation stays away for longer. When you breastfeed your baby, your period will stay away a little longer after delivery. And you probably won't let that happen again.
Disadvantages of breastfeeding
Besides the list of benefits, breastfeeding also has its drawbacks:
- Breastfeeding can be challenging. Especially in the first week of the maternity period, breastfeeding can be quite a task, as both you and the baby have to get used to it. Breastfeeding can sometimes be accompanied by aches and pains, such as a breast infection or cracked nipples.
- Milk production depends on your physical and mental condition. For example, when you are tired or experiencing stress, your body will produce less milk, which can make breastfeeding less successful.
- You, as the mother, are the only one who can feed. Feeding is an important part of your baby's development, and your partner may regret not being able to contribute to this process. In addition, you will need to pump to feed your baby when you start working again after your maternity leave.
- Mental pressure. The fact that you are solely responsible for feeding your baby can cause some mental pressure, especially when breastfeeding is not always easy.
- Uncertainty about the quantity of milk. Of course, you can estimate whether your baby is drinking well or not, but you will never know the exact amount of milk he or she is getting.
- You can't eat and drink everything. Yep, after those nine months of pregnancy, you'll still have to be careful about the things you eat and drink while breastfeeding. For example, you may want to steer clear of alcohol and foods with pungent spices.
- You have to be careful with medication. Just as with food and drink, you can't use all medications during your breastfeeding period. Depending on the type of medication, it may end up in the breast milk and thus in your baby's body.
- Stopping breastfeeding. Do you want to stop breastfeeding? Then you will have to do this gradually. Step by step is the key!
In addition to breastfeeding, the formula is a good alternative when it comes to feeding babies. It is nice that this alternative exists for mothers for whom breastfeeding is a less suitable option. This can be for a variety of reasons. For example, it is generally recommended that you give artificial milk if you are a mother on certain medications, or if you have had breast surgery, which can make breastfeeding difficult. It may also be that it doesn't work out and breastfeeding doesn't get off to a good start, or that it simply doesn't suit you. In addition, some mommies to be also look up to breastfeeding, for example, because of an unpleasant experience with breastfeeding a previous child. No worries pretty momma, there is a solution!
Buying artificial breastfeeding
When buying formula for your little one, it is important to make sure that it says "infant formula" on the packaging. Only when this term is mentioned can you be sure that the formula contains all the ingredients your baby needs.
After taking a quick look at the range of infant formula in the store, you will notice that there are special types of infant formula, for example for babies with cramps. In most cases, the regular formula will be enough for your baby. Do you doubt whether your baby needs this special food? If so, ask the health clinic.
Brands of artificial feeds
If you are considering artificial nutrition, you may be wondering which brand of artificial nutrition you should buy. There are a lot of choices. The good news is that it does not matter which brand of bottle formula you buy. The reason for this is that the ingredients of infant formula are laid down by law and are regularly evaluated. This means that brands cannot experiment with the ingredients of infant formula, but must adhere to strict rules for the production of infant formula.
Perhaps you are walking along the shelves in the supermarket and you notice that the artificial nutrition of various brands seems to differ, judging by the packaging. But there is no need to worry: in addition to the mandatory ingredients of infant formulae, brands are allowed to add other substances, which are also laid down by law. According to the European Food Safety Authority, these extras are harmless, but they do not add any value to your baby. So don't be tempted by these extras, because your baby will get all the necessary substances through both supermarket brand formula and A-brand formula.
Advantages of artificial feeding
In addition to breastfeeding, there are many advantages to giving your sprout artificial milk. These include the following benefits:
- Anyone can feed the baby. Your partner, your mother, your best friend. It doesn't matter. Artificial feeding makes feeding your baby a lot easier and more flexible. So take a moment for yourself and leave the feeding to your partner!
- You can keep track of how much your baby drinks. As a new mother, you can easily become concerned about your baby's health. You may even worry about whether your baby is getting enough nutrition. With formula, you can keep track of exactly how much nutrition your baby is getting. Something breastfeeding cannot match!
- You can eat and drink whatever you want. After nine months of pregnancy, do you want to be able to eat and drink whatever you want again? That is understandable. And that is not a problem at all with artificial feeding.
- Taking medication is not a problem. In addition to eating and drinking, taking medication is also no danger with artificial feeding. So you can just take your medication without worrying about its effect on your mini-me.
- No breast inflammation or cracked nipples. Breastfeeding can sometimes be a challenge and result in a lot of aches and pains. Think of breast infection and cracked nipples. With artificial feeding, you will not run this risk.
- Independent of the mother's physical condition. In contrast to breast milk, the formula is completely independent of the mother's physical and mental condition. No need to worry about that!
- Formula milk contains vitamin K. Are you giving your baby more than 500 milliliters of formula per day? Then you do not need to give your baby extra drops of vitamin K, as there is already enough vitamin K in the formula. Two birds with one stone.
Disadvantages of formula
Yes, artificial nutrition is not an exception to the rule, unfortunately, and thus it also has some disadvantages:
- Stock up on baby milk powder. Imagine the following scenario: it is evening, all the stores are closed and you are out of baby milk powder. Oh yeah, and you still have to bottle feed your baby. Yep, with artificial feeding, you should always make sure you have enough baby milk powder in stock. Even when you leave the house and go out with your baby.
- Compounds of formula. Even though science has progressed to the point where it is now possible to produce high-quality artificial milk, it is not possible to include all the ingredients of breast milk in artificial milk, which means that the quality of artificial milk cannot match that of breast milk.
- Clean bottles and nipples carefully. Contrary to popular belief, a quick rinse of the bottle and nipple is not enough. It is important to clean both the bottle and the nipple in boiling water for a few minutes after each feeding. It takes a lot of time to do this after every feeding.
- Warm up the bottle. With artificial feeding, you always need to have the possibility to warm up the bottle. And that can sometimes be a problem when you are away from home.
- Hygienic and precise work. When you prepare a bottle of formula for your baby, you need to do it with precision. And be very hygienic! The very best for your baby, of course.
- Infant formula can be expensive. Bottle feeding can be quite expensive, especially when you compare it to mommy's milkshake which is, of course, completely free.