| You may or may not have given thought to how you’re going to nourish your baby once he or she arrives. The two methods available are breast feeding and feeding formula, and there are valid reasons for using both methods. If you’re worried about doing the wrong thing and harming your baby by choosing one over the other, you can relax. Both methods are acceptable and will result in a healthy, happy baby.
Breast Feeding Pros and Cons
A mother’s milk is formulated for her baby, giving him or her all of the nutrition needed. Breast milk is preferred over formula by the American Medical Association (AMA.) It’s convenient, free, and offers your baby the antibodies he or she will need to ward off illnesses.
It’s the perfect food for your baby, always containing exactly what he or she needs at each stage of growth. Finally, you won’t need to fuss with bottles unless you decide to pump breast milk. There are definite advantages to breast feeding!
However, breast feeding isn’t always easy the first time around. Some babies have trouble learning to latch on to the breast. Babies have to be fed breast milk more often, since the composition of breast milk digests easily and quickly. That means more frequent feedings, day and night. If you’re not comfortable nursing in public, you’ll need to find a way to feed your baby if you’re out and about. Finally, until your baby is established at nursing, you may find your baby won’t take a bottle of breast milk, which gives you less freedom.
Formula Pros and Cons
There are many reasons to feed commercially-made formula to your baby. If you can’t or don’t want to nurse, it’s the next best thing to offer your child. It has all of the nutrition and iron your baby needs to grow big, strong and healthy. The great thing is your spouse or caretaker can help with feedings, giving you flexibility if you need to return to work or want to get a full night’s sleep. Finally, formula has gotten to be even more convenient over the years, with the creation of single-serve powder packets. Just fill a bottle with fresh water and add the powder later when your baby is hungry. No need to refrigerate, no need to warm a cold bottle!
Formula has its cons as well. It’s very expensive to feed your baby formula. A powdered mix is much cheaper than ready to serve or condensed, but when you consider breast milk is free, it’s a big expense to take on for the next year. Formula doesn’t contain antibodies to ward off illness, nor is it as easily digestible. You’ll need to make sure you’re careful to not feed a bottle that’s old or has been drank from recently, as they will grow bacteria quickly.
What or how you choose to feed your baby is very personal. Weigh your facts, and don’t be afraid to ask for help or advice from your doctor. Either way, your baby will grow to be healthy and happy!