Experts recommend breast milk as the best nutritional choice for babies. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP)recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months after birth.
Breast milk provides the nutrients a baby needs to grow and thrive. It also helps fight infections, eases digestion, enhances emotional bonding, improves intellectual development, reduces risks of certain infections and diseases, and is free and convenient.
Some mothers cannot or do not want to breastfeed. This may depend on medical situations, lifestyle, and personal preferences. For women in these categories, formula feeding is a healthy alternative. Formula provides the nutrients that babies need to grow.
Breastfeeding vs. formula feeding
Breast milk remains the gold standard for newborns. It has the right balance of nutrients that your baby needs. On the other hand, commercial infant formulas do not contain antibodies needed to boost immunity and fight infections. Breast milk is also easier to digest than formula. Formula-fed babies may have more gas and harder bowel movements than breastfed babies. Also, breast milk is free, readily available, and at the right temperature. However, formula can be costly and requires preparation under sterile conditions. Formula feeding also has its pros. It is more convenient, flexible, and increases partner involvement in the feeding of the baby. Formula-fed babies are fed less frequently than breastfed babies. In addition, mothers do not have to worry about their diet, medications, or health conditions if they opt for formula feeding.
It is your choice
How you feed your child is your choice. Even if it was not a convenient choice, do not feed any negative emotions. Instead, focus on caring for and nourishing your baby. If necessary, you can share your feelings with your healthcare provider. No matter your choice, ensure you do the best for yourself and your child.