Formula feeding vs breastfeeding – Should You Formula Feed Or Go Natural?

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Formula feeding may have gotten a bad rap in the past, but today’s modern-day versions are nothing like their old-school counterparts.

As an experienced mother or expert from your local La Leche League meeting may tell you, formula isn’t just for babies who aren’t able to nurse.

In fact, it can be a wonderful alternative for moms who want to feed their baby with something other than their own milk. Unbeknownst to many, there are many benefits to using formula over natural breastfeeding. Whether it’s because of stressors like lack of sleep, dehydration, or some other factor 

Not everyone has the ability or willingness to go the natural route with their little one. If you find yourself somewhere in this boat and need more information on making this decision, continue reading for everything you need to know about whether you should formula feed or go natural as a new mom!

Formula feeding vs breastfeeding

Deciding between formula and natural breastfeeding

In the end, the choice is yours. The decision whether to formula feed or go natural with breastfeeding can be a very personal one that comes down to a number of factors you’ll want to consider throughout your journey as a parent.

For example, if your baby has a dairy allergy, you may want to opt for synthetic formula. It’s important to keep in mind that breastfeeding doesn’t automatically make your baby healthier. The same can be said for formula — it all depends on the brand and ingredients you opt for. You may have heard that breastfeeding is the best choice for your baby, but you also need to understand why.

Let’s take a moment to look at both sides of the breastfeeding coin and see which side is best for you and your baby.

Pros of Formula Feeding

  • Babies Grow Healthier: There’s no doubt that breastfed babies have a leg up over formula-fed babies when it comes to health — but the same can be said for formula-fed babies. In fact, many studies have shown that babies who are formula fed are actually healthier than their breastfed counterparts. This is because formula companies have gone to great lengths to make their products as nutritionally beneficial as possible.


Cons of Formula Feeding

  • It’s Not Always Sustainable: Breastfeeding has long been considered the most environmentally friendly way to feed your baby — but formula feeding isn’t too far behind. In fact, formula is actually one of the most sustainable ways to feed your child, and it can be reused time and time again. 
  • It’s Not Always Healthy: While formula is great for those who choose not to breastfeed and need an alternative, it isn’t always healthy. Many formulas on the market are fortified with extra vitamins, minerals, and nutrients that aren’t necessarily needed by your growing baby.

Pros Of Natural Breastfeeding

  • Breastfeeding Is Affordable: Breastfeeding doesn’t come with as many associated costs as formula feeding does — and most health insurance providers even offer a small amount of money for breastfeeding moms. From a monetary standpoint, breastfeeding is usually the cheaper option for families, which is always a plus.
  • Breastfeeding Is Sustainable: Breastfeeding is a sustainable way to feed your child, both environmentally and socially. Simply put, it’s a great way to make new friends and meet new people while feeding your child.

Cons Of Natural Breastfeeding

  • Painful At First: Those who decide to go the breastfeeding route often find that their bodies aren’t immediately compatible with the process — at least in the beginning. New breastfeeding moms experience a wide array of discomforts and pains, from cracked nipples to feelings of extreme pressure in their breasts. 
  • It’s Not Always Sustainable: While breastfeeding is widely accepted as the best choice for your baby, it’s not always sustainable for the mother. For example, if your baby has a dairy allergy, it’s not sustainable

Tips For Making Your Decision

Consider Your Baby’s Needs 

As a new parent, it’s important to remember that your baby’s needs come before your own.

If breastfeeding just isn’t working out for you or your baby, don’t be afraid to try formula instead.

You can also mix breastfeeding and formula feeding to get the best of both worlds.

Seek Advice From Your Doctor

While you can certainly do a lot of research and make an informed decision on your own, it’s important to get the advice of your doctor before making a final decision. Your doctor can help you understand your options, as well as any potential side effects or complications associated with each one.

Bottom line

There are many benefits to formula feeding, but there are also many benefits to breastfeeding. It all comes down to your decision as a parent — do what’s best for you and your baby. In the end, your baby will grow just as healthy and strong with either feeding method, so don’t let yourself get caught up in the hype. Instead, make a decision based on facts, health benefits, and your family’s unique situation.

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