I belong to the old school of thought and I am a strong supporter of breast feeding babies. That is exactly what I did with my son☺. Having said that, I would also like to add that the choice between breast feeding our babies or giving them formula milk is tough and individual. Health care providers recommend breast feeding as opposed to formula. Breast milk is known to safeguard our babies against infections, diseases and allergies.
Moreover, breast milk is strongly advised for babies up to 6 months of age. It can be continued till the twelfth month or more, if the mum and the baby want it that way. But then again, due to various reasons, for e.g. certain medical conditions, work schedules or pure convenience, certain mothers are unable to breast feed their little one. Formula, too, provides the necessary nutrients to our babies, to grow.
Now, let us try and address ‘breastfeeding’ and ‘formula milk’, separately:
It is often referred to as ‘the most beautiful experience for a mother’. Breast feeding creates this unique bond between mum and baby, which cannot be denied.
- Breast milk provides our baby with germ fighting antibodies, which defend her against various infections, like ear and respiratory and allergies. Breast milk is ‘God-send’ for premature babies.
- Breast milk is digested easily by our babies. Consequently, fewer incidents of constipation and diarrhea tend to occur.
- It also contains a lot of important vitamins and minerals (except Vitamin D).
- Another USP is that breast milk is free☺
- Another interesting fact is that the taste of breast milk changes with the type of food consumed. So our baby is introduced to different tastes through her mum’s milk. As a result, she would adjust better to solids.
- Breast milk is available 24/7. So no last minute rushing to the supermarket to buy formula milk.
- Breast feeding is great for mums, too, as it helps us to burn calories and reduce the extra kilos that we obviously gain while pregnant.
There can be a few ‘cons’ to breastfeeding. For instance:
- Mums, we need to realise that breastfeeding requires us to adhere to timelines and frequent feedings. We need to make peace with that.
- We also need to overcome inhibitions, if any, with regard to breastfeeding. We need to be comfortable with the entire process.
- We a need to eat and drink right (as advised by our healthcare provider), because it can be passed over to our baby, through our milk.
Commercially prepared formula milk is an ideal alternative to breast milk. Moms opt for it for various reasons:
- The most obvious reason is some medical condition, due to which one cannot breastfeed.
- It is very convenient. Mums can get some ‘me’ time, while their partner or baby sitter can look after the baby. They do not need to be there 24/7. They can even resume work if required.
- Formula fed babies need to be fed less frequently than breast fed babies, as formula milk takes longer to digest and the tummy remains full for a longer period of time.
- Mums, too, do not need to be over cautious with their diet. The food would not pass through the milk, to the baby.
The ‘cons’ here:
- Breast milk is available round the clock, anytime and anywhere. With formula milk, we need to be prepared all the time. We need to sterilise bottles, have the supply of milk powder ready and so on and so forth.
- It is expensive too, with the powdered version being the least expensive.
- Babies that are given formula milk tend to be more ’gassy’ and constipated, as it is heavier on the tummy.
Mums and dads, the choice is ‘only’ yours to make. Choose what works best for you. Happy feeding ☺