Categories : Parenting
It is recommended that you breastfeed for the first year of your baby’s life. Breastfeeding will strengthen your baby’s immune system, fighting against viral and bacterial infections, the development of allergies and a number of chronic conditions. When compared to formula, breast milk is easier for an infant to digest and naturally contains the amount of vitamins and minerals your baby needs. Each individual mom produces milk just for her baby. As your baby grows, the milk you produce will change based on your baby’s health needs.
Breastfeeding also has health benefits for you. It helps protect against conditions such as Type II Diabetes, ovarian cancer, breast cancer and postpartum depression. Breastfeeding also helps build a strong emotional bond between you and your baby. It is comforting to know that you can naturally provide for your baby, and physical contact is especially important for a growing child.
Breast milk has many benefits over formula. It is free and it’s always there. You never have to worry about running to the store because you ran out of breast milk. It contains vital nutrients for your baby’s healthy development. When compared to formula fed babies, breastfed babies take fewer trips to see the doctor. This can be hard for a working mother; a sick day for baby is also a sick day for you.
Breastfeeding is a time commitment. Feedings are frequent and not always in the most convenient locations. Breastfed babies need to be fed more often than babies on formula because breast milk is digested faster than formula. For the first few weeks of feeding, this can become tiring for a mom – however, feeding frequency does lessen over time. Your baby can also be given pumped breast milk from another family member if you need a break. While breastfeeding it is important to limit your intake of certain foods high in mercury and drinks high in caffeine or alcohol content.
Formula Feeding is the best nutritional alternative to breast feeding. Formula even contains some vitamins that babies need to get from supplements. If you choose to formula feed your baby, it is vital to research which commercially prepared formula will be right for your baby.
Made in a sterile environment, formula attempts to duplicate the nutritious value of breast milk with a combination of proteins, sugars, fats and vitamins. You may ask – why doesn’t formula contain the same amount of vital nutrition as breast milk? Keep in mind, milk is a living substance produced by a mother for her infant, and this process cannot be duplicated in a recipe. Formula lacks antibodies that fight infection and it is harder on a baby’s digestive system.
Formula feeding has its benefits in convenience and flexibility. Mothers who formula feed have no restrictions on their own diet. You are free to put in your body what you’d like, since none of the nutrients will be negatively affecting the physical health of your baby. You can feed your baby anytime, anywhere – and not just you, but anyone. Formula can be prepared on-the-go, or when you are away from your baby at work. Remember, whether it is breast milk or formula, feeding is still a quality time that you spend bonding with your baby.
Although the American Academy of Pediatrics encourages breastfeeding, it may not be possible for some women based on comfort, lifestyle or specific medical conditions. Consult your doctor to come up with the right feeding plan for you and your baby.