Choosing whether to breastfeed or formula feed their baby is one of the biggest decisions expectant and new parents will make. World Health Organization (WHO) recommend breastfeeding as the best choice for babies. Breastfeeding helps defend against infections, prevent allergies, and protect against a number of chronic conditions.
Breast milk is good for your baby in many ways:
- It provides natural antibodies that help your baby resist illnesses, such as ear infections.
- It’s usually more easily digested than formula. So breastfed babies are often less constipated and gassy.
- It may lower the risk of sudden infant death syndrome in the first year of your baby’s life.
- It may raise your child’s intelligence. Studies show breastfed babies have higher levels of cognitive function.
- Breast milk may even help your child in later years, by reducing the risk of being overweight, and of developing asthma, type 1 and type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, Hodgkin’s disease, leukemia, and lymphoma.
- Breastfeeding is good for moms, too. Women who breastfeed have a reduced risk of breast cancer, diabetes, heart disease, osteoporosis, and ovarian cancer.
Breastfeeding vs. Bottle-feeding
|Perfect balance of nutrients||Not as efficiently utilized as breast milk|
|Contains high levels of nutrients||Nutritional content depends on proper preparation|
|Easily digested and absorbed||Some babies have difficulty tolerating certain nutrients|
|Infant determines amount||-NA-|
|Content varies according to milk production stage, which meets the changing nutritional requirements||Pediatrician/care-giver determines the amount|
|Free||Formula ranges depending on the brand. Also Bottles, nipples, etc.|
|Always the perfect temperature||Anyone can feed the baby|
|No preparation time. Milk is readily available at any time and any place||Preparation time varies. Also other conditions apply (availability of all things to prepare milk)|
|Mother must be available for feeding or to provide pumped milk if she is absent||Warming formula|
|Early breastfeeding may be uncomfortable||Baby may not tolerate formula well|
|Certain medications can interrupt breastfeeding||Always have to carry bottles, formula/mixing items with you|
Blog Post Provided By – Rubina Perween, Senior Dietitian, Ford Hospital