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Breastmilk Versus Formula

Updated on April 22, 2018
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Tosha is a mother of five, a former childcare provider, and currently a business professional.


It seems everyone has an opinion now days, and so many moms are shamed no matter what they do with their children. Whether it’s choosing to formula feed, breastfeeding in public, not allowing their kids to have sweet snacks or loading their kids up with sugary goodness. But for the sake of this article let’s dial back the judgement, and take a realistic look at the pros and cons of both breast milk and formula.

The Value of Breastmilk

The text book answer to this question is simple, breast milk generally is the best option for baby. Mother nature has perfected this perfect super food for baby, that is packed full of all the nutrients, antibodies, and energy your baby needs to thrive. There’s a lot of research to suggest that breast fed babies develop less ear infections, get sick less often, have a lower rate of diabetes, and over all are in better health than formula fed little ones. Looking at those statistics, it’s easy to see why so many mother’s feel breastfeeding is the best option. However, if we pause for a moment to look at this from a real world view the lines get a little more blurred. The answer isn’t always so black and white.

Mom's Health

First, when deciding which option is right for you and your baby its important to take into account your over all health. Mom’s with serious medical conditions like AIDS/ HIV, Cancer, sever vitamin deficiencies, or other serious health concerns may not be in the best physical health to breastfeed their babies. I know your thinking well ok that’s a no brainer but what about other more subtle health issues like mom’s who are anemic, have a thyroid condition, postpartum depression, or who take medications that make breast milk unsafe for baby. A best practice is to discuss any concerns with your doctor. They are your best resource when it comes to determining if breastfeeding is your best option.

Breastfeeding Takes Time

Next, consider your schedule and time constraints. Some of us work hectic schedules, or attend school. There is always the option of pumping, and this is a truly great alternative when you can’t be with your baby every feeding. However, it’s a huge demand on your time and may not be possible in every situation. So take some time before baby comes, and consider if and how you can accommodate breastfeeding/pumping into your daily routine. I know a lot of busy working mom’s who do a combination of breast milk and formula, and this is the best option for them. This is something to consider if you want to breastfeed but are unable to do it exclusively

Producing enough Milk

What’s your milk supply like? Generally speaking, moms who breastfeed/pump every few hours around the clock will be able to maintain a healthy milk supply What if you don’t have a good milk supply, or you are unable to maintain the schedule needed to keep up that milk supply? I had a friend once who was determined to breastfeed her third child just as she had her first two. Unfortunately, this mom didn’t have a milk supply sufficient enough to support her baby and after w few weeks of sleepless nights, the baby loosing weight, mom shedding tears and feeling like a failure, she finally agreed to switch to formula at the urging of baby’s doctor. Both mom and baby were happy after this and life became a lot easier. My point is a hungry baby is never good. Keeping your baby fed is always the healthiest solution.

Benefits of Formula

There are some benefits of formula, Science is a miraculous thing. We have come so far in understanding the human body and it’s nutritional needs, we are now able to formulate a Food for babies that mimics a mother’s breast milk as close as possible. The nutrients found in formula will keep baby thriving and support growth, brain development, and a healthy immune system.

Breastmilk Is Generally The Best Option

The point is this, breast milk is and will probably always be the best option for baby generally speaking. It’s also beneficial for mom as it helps reduce the risk of breast cancer, helps mom loose the pregnancy weight faster and safely, and breastfeeding is a bonding experience for both mom and baby that nothing else can compare to. However if/ when, breast milk isn’t an option or maybe not an exclusive option, formula is a safe healthy alternative. No mother should be shamed for choosing formula over breast milk, every situation is different and care must be taken to ensure the best option for mom and baby.


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