A big decision new mothers must make for their little one’s nutrition is choosing between breastmilk vs. formula. I remember as a first-time mother, feeling the pressures of society to breastfeed; from the midwives in the hospital, the campaigns on social media, to the unsolicited advice from other moms. Breastfeeding or formula feeding should be a choice that all moms get to make for themselves, without fear of being judged or guilted – and their decision should be supported.
I had three completely different feeding journeys that included exclusive breastfeeding, supplementing due to low milk supply and formula feeding. From my experience, breast is best but formula is good too and I am thankful that all three journeys produced healthy, fantastic little boys. When it comes down it, only one thing really matters – which choice is right for you and your baby?
Doctors recommend breast milk as the first source of nutrition for infants and suggest that babies should be breastfed exclusively for the first six months. After solid foods have been introduced, they also encourage mothers to continue to breastfeed until baby is at least a year old.
Here are some benefits and disadvantages of breastfeeding to consider:
Formula feeding is also a healthy choice for babies. If you use a formula, your baby will get the best possible alternative to breast milk and there’s a great selection of brands to choose from, including organic options. You should never attempt to make your own formula or feed an infant cow’s milk; also, always check the label because formula stages are based on age.
Here are some benefits and disadvantages of formula to consider:
Can I Breastfeed and Formula feed at the same? Yes, you can – this is called Supplemental Nursing System (SNS). Supplementing breastfeeding with formula is usually discouraged because it reduces your milk supply if done on a daily basis; although it may be helpful in cases where mothers like myself are naturally not producing an adequate supply of milk, experience pain or discomfort (including emotionally), go to work or the baby is not able to breastfeed well.
I encourage you to do your research and talk to your doctor. Whichever way you choose to feed your baby – breast milk, formula, or a combination of both; the most important thing is that your baby is well fed, well cared for, and loved!
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