Breastfeeding vs. Formula Feeding

Many new mothers who are thinking about breastfeeding vs. formula feeding are probably asking something along the lines of:

“Will my baby be denied anything if I can’t breastfeed her/him?” or “What is the difference between breastfeeding and bottle feeding?“

Of course, as a mother, you want to provide the best possible care for your baby. According to the American Academics of Pediatrics, babies should be breastfed at least during the first six months, followed by a combination of breastfeeding and complementary foods up to twelve months.

In 2009, 77% of US newborns were breastfed while 47% of them were breastfed at least for six months and 26% of them for twelve months. After the twelve months, the decision to breastfeed or not is based on both, the mother’s opinion and the baby’s needs. However, sometimes nature makes the call and the mother lacks milk and so the only choice is formula feeding.

Some mothers even choose formula feeding despite they can breastfeed.

The change from breastfeeding to formula feeding brings a lot of questions. Some mothers, for example, worry that without breastfeeding, they won’t be able to create a bond with their baby. The truth is that a loving mother will always create a strong bond with her baby, no matter what type of feeding is used.

The main aim of this article isn’t to find negatives, but rather to point out the pros that are related to both feeding methods.

Breastfeeding Advantages


1. Sufficient Amount of Nutrients

Breastfeeding provides babies with all the necessary nutrients needed for a healthy development. Scientists from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences claim that there is a 20% less probability of dying among babies who were breastfed from 28 days until their first year when compared to those who were formula-fed.

2. Lower Morbidity and Allergies

Breast milk is a magical cocktail where, besides all necessary nutrients for healthy development, you can also find a lot of antibodies. These substances have an enormous impact on immunity, metabolism and the baby’s morbidity in the following years. According to Webmd, babies who are highly prone to illness can during the first four months benefit from breastfeeding which may act as prevention from food allergies, asthma and various kinds of eczema.

Did you know? Mature milk contains water, fat, carbohydrates, protein, vitamins and minerals, amino acids, enzymes, and white cells.

3. Lower Probability of Obesity and Diabetes

The study from 2006 clearly proved that during the first year, breastfed babies put on weight differently than formula-fed babies. During the first two months the difference in weight is negligible; however, between the second month and the one year mark, formula-fed babies put on much more weight.

This is one of the facts that support the opinion of epidemiologists that formula-fed babies have a higher risk of developing type 2 Diabetes.

4. Mothers Get Their Original Weight Faster

The majority of women worry if they can push the scale down to their pre-baby weight. The study led by Marian P. Jarlenski and his team claimed that breastfeeding may be very helpful here. Women who breastfed at least three months have a 6% higher chance of getting their pre-pregnancy weight in comparison to those who used formula feeding.

5. Lower Risk of Breast Cancer

A study led by the scientists from the Yale School of Medicine proved that women who breastfed for two and more years have a 50% lower risk for breast cancer.

6. It Is Cheaper and More Practical

Apart from the health benefits, breastfeeding brings other advantages as well. Breastfeeding a baby is much more practical, as you don’t have to take the baby bottle and milk warmer with you. Breastfeeding requires just a little bit of privacy which is also linked with economic advantages.

You need fewer bottles neither a milk warmer nor a sterilizer. According to the womenshealt website, this may save from 1200 up to 1500 dollars during the first year.

Breastfeeding Relates to a Lot of Unjustified Concerns:

How Do I Know That My Baby Drank Enough Milk?

Of course, to know the exact amount of the milk that was drunk is impossible, but there is no need to worry about the numbers. Your baby will drink as much as s/he wants and her/his fullness may be clear from the behavior as well.

My tip: A well-fed baby should usually poop in 1-2 diapers and pee in approx. 6 of them.

Are My Breasts Big Enough for Breastfeeding?

The truth is that all breasts are big enough for the amount of milk your baby needs. The rule is that the more you breastfeed the more milk your breasts produce.

I Will Have to Be on a Special Diet During Breastfeeding.

Yes, some foods may not be appropriate for you in that time, but you don’t need to be on a special diet for proper breastfeeding. Breast milk provides your baby with all the necessary nutrients.

The best thing you could do for yourself is to eat vegetables, fruits and drink lots of water.

The Benefits of Formula Feeding

The advantage of bottle feeding is that the mother doesn’t need to be present and the baby can be fed by another member of the family or whoever the baby likes. Since not all babies like to be fed by anybody else but their mother and they can clearly express their discontent.

Bottle Feeding

1. You Don’t Have to Feed So Often

This will be appreciated during the night as formula milk is richer and the baby drinks as much as s/he wants in comparison to breastfeeding where mothers with less milk have to breastfeed more often.

It’s then nothing unusual to see formula-fed babies sleeping throughout almost the entire night.

2. Not All Mothers Can Breastfeed

Sometimes, you can’t beat the nature. If you weren’t given milk, you should just accept this fact and try to look for advantages in the lines above.

I hope that this article has successfully clarified most of the ambiguities related to breastfeeding vs. formula feeding. If you feel that you know something that has been omitted, please let me know in the comments below.

Emma Martens

Full-time housewife. I have graduated from the University of Management in Brussel. I raise with my husband two beautiful kids. In my spare time, I like to read books and write reviews on 9best. Read more...

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