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Breastfeeding vs. Formula Feeding

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One of the most important decisions every new parent needs to make is how to feed your baby.   However, the choice to breast or formula feed your baby seems to be a hot button issue among mothers everywhere.

Both sides of the argument often feel judged and mothers feel divided among themselves rather than a part of a community of fellow parents.

Here’s the quick truth: however you decide to feed your baby is ok.  As parents, you can only do your best when it comes to raising your children, and everyone has a different “best”.

The most important thing to remember is you should try to make educated decisions.

Ok let’s start off by talking about


“Breast is best” is a phrase that has become commonplace around the baby community, and it is true.  Breast milk has many nutritional advantages over formula.

In addition to superior nutrition, there are also other practical advantages to breastfeeding.  Some of them are:

– It is always available.

– It is always the perfect temperature.

– It is free.

– It is always clean and sterile.

– It comes in attractive containers.

– Less to pack in the diaper bag.

While breastfeeding is natural, it isn’t always easy.  For some mothers, it can be challenging to adjust to nursing.  You and your baby have to learn how to work together to make breastfeeding successful.  It is important to be patient, not just your baby but with yourself as well.

You are doing a wonderful thing for your baby, so be gentle with yourself if things aren’t perfect.

Here is a quick tip:

The first two weeks of breastfeeding are the toughest.  If you can get through the first couple of weeks, it will definitely get easier for both of you.

Breastfeeding Benefits

The nutritional benefits of breast milk are outstanding.

It provides all of the immunities that your tiny baby needs in her first months of life.

Breast milk is a living food, meaning that when you look at it under a microscope, it is actually alive with beneficial bacteria that help to colonize your baby’s underdeveloped gut.

The result is less digestive problems like colic, reflux, and constipation.  Some of the other health benefits of breastfeeding are:

– Less frequent ear infections

– Less stomach viruses

– Less respiratory illnesses

– Lower risk of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome)

– Less risk of childhood cancers

– Less risk of diseases later in life, such as type 1 and type 2 diabetes, obesity, allergies, breast and ovarian cancers, Crohn’s disease, inflammatory bowel syndrome, and high cholesterol.

Your baby isn’t the only one that benefits from breastfeeding.  As a nursing mother, you are lowering your risk of breast and ovarian cancer, reducing stress, regulating blood pressure, and fighting postpartum depression.

Not to mention all the extra sleep you will get because you don’t have to fuss with bottles.

This is especially helpful if your baby is in a co-sleeping side car.  When they wake up to feed, and they will about every 2 hours, you don’t even have to leave your bed.

You can nurse them, put them back in their own spot, and get right back to sleep.

Breastfeeding Supplies

When it comes to breastfeeding, there is very little that you need.

The two most important things are the baby and your breast, but there are a few things that can make you more comfortable.

Breastfeeding pillow:

A breastfeeding pillow is a U-shaped pillow that goes around your waist while you are nursing.

It is designed to bring the baby closer to your breast.  This decreases your risk of back pain and puts your baby at the right angle to latch on properly.

Pillows like the Boppy are great because they are not only used for nursing, but also for supporting your baby while they are sitting or lying on the floor.

It also helps prop the baby up for tummy time.


When you begin nursing for the first time, your nipples will sometimes feel sore or get dry.

Ensuring a proper latch is the key to avoiding this, but it can still happen from time to time.  Using pure lanolin like Lansinoh repairs sore, dry, or cracked nipples and is perfectly safe for your baby.

Breast Pump:

A breast pump will allow you to express your breast milk and store it for the times when you have to be away from your baby.

Whether you have to go back to work or need to go somewhere where babies are not allowed, pumping allows your baby to still drink your milk while you are away.  You can even store expressed breast milk in your freezer.

A deep freeze is best, but you can also store milk in your regular freezer.  Store it towards the back and be sure to label it with the date.  It can be frozen for up to three months.

Breastfeeding Support

It is also very important that you have support while breastfeeding.  Your partner can be nurturing and understanding as your availability changes due to the need to nurse your baby.

Because your partner won’t have a chance to feed the baby for you, their job will be to take care of you while you are nursing, bringing you water or warm herbal tea while you are nursing is important.

Also, being patient with you while you spend much more time in your rocking chair or on the sofa with your beautiful bundle makes things much easier on you.

Quick Tip:

There are some herbal teas that are made for nursing mothers.

The herbs contained in them promote healthy lactation and can help increase your supply of milk.

There are times when a mother has a low milk supply.  This should not be judged by how often the baby nurses, but by the amount of wet and soiled diapers the baby has per day.

If she needs to supplement nursing with a bottle, she has two options.

The first is to choose a commercial formula from the store.  You may have to change brands a time or two to find one that works with your baby’s digestive system.

The second option is to make your own formula, I’ll include a link below to a recipe for homemade infant formula that mimics human breast milk very closely.

The list of ingredients are pricey and somewhat hard to come by, but for the parent that does not want to use store bought formula and needs to supplement, this is a reasonable alternative.

This is a wonderful solution for the adoptive parent that is adamant about breastfeeding, even though induced lactation for adoptive mothers is very possible.

Ok now lets talk about

Formula Feeding

Not all mommies opt to breast feed their babies. There are some medical conditions that prevent mothers from nursing their babies.

Medical conditions such as MS, cancer, and HIV require medications that are very harsh to the body.

These medications can pass through breast milk to the baby, which can be very harmful to the baby’s tiny body.

There are also factors that can cause a low milk supply, like the stresses of going back to work or the lack of places at work to express breast milk.

Perhaps she just chooses to bottle feed rather than breastfeed.  That’s ok too.

Formula Feeding Benefits

The benefits of formula feeding look far less impressive than the list of benefits of breastfeeding.

However, to the struggling, stressed out parent, they are just as important.

There are many benefits that people find for formula feeding.

To some parents, these benefits are:

– The baby sleeps for longer periods of time.

– The mother can share nighttime feeding responsibilities with her partner.

– Grandparents, aunts, uncles, and other family members get to feed the baby too.

– They don’t have to worry about harsh medications passing to breast milk.

– Feels more comfortable feeding the baby in public places

Many mothers have had too many struggles and not enough positive support in trying to breastfeed their babies and the stress just becomes too much for them to bear.

Switching to formula feeding may relieve all that stress so she can simply enjoy her baby.

Another advantage is avoiding cracked nipples from a poor latch.

Here is a Quick Tip:

Prepare one day’s worth of bottles ahead of time and put them in the refrigerator.

When it’s time for a feeding, warm it in a bowl of warm water.  It will save you the trouble of making a bottle for every feeding.


There is quite a variety of bottles and nipples on the market for formula feeding families.

Some claim to reduce baby’s fussiness by allowing them to swallow less air and, in turn, have less gas. Some bottles are shaped like a breast.

If you are transitioning from the breast to formula feeding, a breast shaped bottle may be the key to success.

The best thing you can do is pick up a few different styles of bottles and see what works best for your baby.

You will save money by purchasing one or two bottles in each different style, rather than buying an entire set.

Here is a quick Tip: Once you settle on a formula that works for your baby, you should consider signing up for the company’s coupons.

It will save you a lot of money when it comes to buying formula.  You can also ask your pediatrician for sample cans of formula.

So to end it all off I want to suggest that we stop worrying and remember to enjoy!

No matter which way you decide to feed your baby, it doesn’t change how much you love your little bundle of joy.

Mothers need to stop judging each other for their choice in feeding method and simply support each other.

Being a mom isn’t easy. Having other moms that know how it feels to lose sleep, wear the same shirt for 3 days straight, and forget what it feels like to have a night out is much more important than worrying how the other mothers feed their babies.

Do what works best for you and for your baby.  Enjoy the time you have together while they are little, because it is gone far to soon.

I hope you enjoyed my Breastfeeding vs. Formula Feeding and comments or tips of your own please share them in the comments below. For more fun information about your pregnancy and

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