One very important choice new mothers must make is whether to breastfeed or formula feed their new baby. While this choice is very personal, others are likely to have strong opinions on the topic. Instead of being swayed by others’ persistent opinions, make the decision that is right for you by weighing the pros and cons of both choices.
Breastfeeding is pretty widely accepted as the most nutritionally sound choice for your baby. It is tailor-made specifically for your baby by your body, instead of being manufactured in a factory somewhere. Breast milk contains antibodies that help your baby fight off illnesses so breastfed babies get sick less often. Breastfeeding is a great bonding experience for mother and baby. Breastmilk is free, you don’t have to wait while it warms up, and it requires no equipment. It also may reduce the risk of SIDs in infants, and it can help you lose weight. The World Health Organization recommends breastfeeding your child for two years.
Unfortunately, breastfeeding can be painful in the first few days. It can take practice for baby to latch on correctly. Women who are breastfeeding cannot drink or smoke and they cannot take some medications. It may make women feel tied down. It is difficult for a full time working mother to breastfeed. Women who are self-conscious may be uncomfortable breastfeeding in public and may want to cover up or find a more private place to nurse.
For women unable or unwilling to breastfeed, formula is an alternative. It comes in many varieties, so if baby does not do well with one type, another type can be tried. Formula companies often send mothers free samples of and coupons for their products. With formula, anyone can feed the baby so dads can take a turn doing night-time feedings as well. It is also easier to see how much baby is drinking. Formula feeding can give mothers a break from the demands of constant nursing.
Formula feeding can get expensive, especially if you need to buy a pricier variety of formula and bottles. Deciding on the type of bottles and formula to use can take a lot of time and research as well as trial and error for an already busy mother. If a mother runs out of formula, she must run out to the store. Formula fed babies often are gassier, and they poop more frequently. Taking baby on an outing can be a hassle when the mother has to carry several bottles and there is no place available to warm them up. Constantly washing bottles can take a lot of time.
While you may consult others for their opinions on formula, the decision you make needs to be right for you and your family. If breastfeeding does not work out, you can always switch to formula later or do a combination of both. You also have the option of pumping milk on occasion to get all the benefits of breast milk for your baby but the convenience of bottles for you.
Please be aware that the articles on this site are written by mothers who are discussing their own experiences and their own opinions. They do not, and are not meant to, represent professional advice and should be read with that point firmly in mind.
Our children’s welfare is paramount; if you are ever in the slightest doubt about any aspect of caring for a child you are urged to seek qualified, specialist advice from a professional advisor.