There will always be debates on certain topics and while it isn’t easy to say who is right or who is wrong, many will choose the alternatives that work best for them. Breastfeeding is one of these hot button topics. Should you breastfeed your infant or will he/she be okay with regular formula? The issue isn’t black and white but the more you know about both sides, the easier it will be to make the choice that works best for you and your little one. With any debate, it helps to know what each side believes so let’s starts with the side that is all for breastfeeding.
It is no secret that a mother’s natural breast milk is very good for a newborn. The milk a mother produces contains all the right nutrients, such as water, sugar, fat and protein, that a baby needs and breast milk is typically much easier for the baby to digest.
Breast milk also contains antibodies, which work to prevent bacterial infection and viruses from the infant. Unlike store bought products and their ingredients, breast milk is completely sterile and free from disease.
Breastfeeding doesn’t just work out well for the baby, it can also greatly benefit the mother as well. Many mothers take the breastfeeding period and use it as the perfect time to bond with their new baby. This physical contact is important and nursing also takes off calories, which helps with losing weight after giving birth. The U.S. Surgeon General also recommends that mothers breastfeed their babies up until the first six months. That sounds like a lot of people are pushing for the breastfeeding route but what about the other side?
On the flip side, there are many mothers that choose to not breastfeed their infants and instead put them on to formula and feed them from a bottle. There is some risk involved in choosing not to breastfeed. For one, the benefits associated with breast milk are lost. No formula developed can ever be as good or better than natural human breast milk. While your doctor can easily recommend a formula to use in place of breast milk, the risk of poor hydration and nutrition is always present. While formula doesn’t offer the same immunity-boosting properties as breast milk, it is completely possible to find a formula that will meet your baby’s needs. As long as the directions are followed and you are consistent, you should have no problems nursing your baby without the aid of breastfeeding.
One alternative some mothers turn to is to use a special breastfeeding pump to drain their breast milk into a bottle and use that as a method of nursing. This way the baby still gets the essential nutrients but the mother doesn’t have to do the actual breastfeeding.
If you choose to go the formula route with your baby, it’s crucial to know what your options are. The three main types of formula available are cow’s milk, protein hydrolysate and soy-based formula. Cow’s milk is the most commonly used and offers the right amount of carbohydrates as well as fat and protein. Protein hydrolysate formula is made specifically for infants with a family history of being allergic to regular milk. Soy-based formula is ideal for babies that are allergic to cow’s milk or are lactose intolerant. Be sure to consult with your doctor thoroughly about your options and which would best serve your baby.