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This has become a huge debate between mothers. Some women feel that exclusive breastfeeding is the only option, whereas other women feel that it is really their choice and it’s all about what circumstances allow.
Of course, the argument is that breast milk is what nature made and its design is perfect. The breast and the nipple are exactly suited to the baby, and the bonding one gets from breastfeeding is incomparable to bonding over a bottle and formula milk.
While all these points are undeniably true, it leaves one to wonder how circumstances can be factored in. In a day and age where women are part of the work place too, it’s not always possible to exclusively breastfeed a child for a year. Indeed, most mothers would relish the chance to do so.
Does this mean that a formula fed child is at a severe disadvantage to a breastfed child?
My opinion is no. I know there will be many of you who will strongly oppose my opinion. That’s ok. As a mother who has both breastfed and formula-fed her children, I can tell you that by no means are they disadvantaged.
When a mother may not have a choice:
- The baby is not latching very well, causing severe pain. Latching problems are not only painful, raw nipples can become infected.
- Not enough breast milk is produced, or the milk that is produced is not packed with enough nutrients for the baby. i.e. the baby’s weight remains constant or drops regardless of feedings becoming more frequent.
- Mum has to work and expressing milk is not an option. It’s easy to criticize and say mum should stay at home. Providing for the family is a must and many mums just don’t have the luxury of staying home anymore.
Breast milk vs formula benefits at a glance
- Mum will burn calories as she breastfeeds. Baby gets essential nutrients in. The breast milk is tailored exactly to the baby’s needs as he grows and there is no need for supplementing the baby’s diet. Baby will still need water though. Breast milk is free and always available, which is a huge plus.
- Formula is rich in fats. The formula may be too rich or not have enough nutrients for your baby and you will have to supplement your baby’s diet with a lot of extra water. Formula is quite costly, but it does provide a way for dad to get involved with the feeding routine. Keeping bottles clean and sterilised can be quite costly, time-consuming and tiring. Formula allows for more flexibility for mum.
- Express milk using bottles is a way of compromising between the two. You can be sure baby’s nutritional needs are 100% covered and at the same time, allowing dad to become involved while giving you the time to work.
Everyone is entitled to their choice, as well as their opinions. Of course, what nature offers is always best assuming that nature is offering. Sometimes, a mum will have to pick an alternative. I always say, read and ask for advice, don’t make uninformed choices.