Everyone has its own opinion on the eternal and quite controversial topic: Breastfeeding vs Formula. But there always remain two sides:
- “OK to formula milk” – why would I and baby suffer if I don’t have enough breast milk?
- “Big NO to formula milk” – it is the best my baby can deserve. I must try harder.
The importance of breastfeeding also changes through culture and place you are in. Russian-speaking nations make things more complicated, but only because they want to make sure that they have done everything right. So they would analyze the problem in detail before coming up with a decision (totally my case). As many Russian-speaking friends I have, the majority prefers breastfeeding newborn up to two years and more if it is possible. They strongly believe there are tons of benefits of breastfeeding as it relates to strengthening the baby’s immune system.
WHO (World’s Health Organization) agrees with that. I must tell they have got a point. On the other hand, English and Argentinian moms tend to be more simple. Fewer worries more happiness, after all, there is common sense and doctors who advise you. Of course, there are situations when mom cannot provide breast milk for numerous reasons and infant formula is inevitable and a must. But what to do if you have enough breast milk supply?
Breast milk vs Formula
7 True Breastfeeding Facts That Will Motivate You
1. Your breast milk is designed for only one human being on Earth
Why is breastfeeding important? I strongly believe breastfeeding moms is a title, after all, they have got something unique incomparable to anything else that is intended only for one human on Earth – your baby (of course, we do not exclude twins, triplets and babies that were born at the same time). So why not use it?
2. Breast milk is a baby’s primary source of development
One friend of mine, who happened to be a lactation consultant in Prague, told me: “Think about it this way: breast milk is a baby’s primary source of development. He is getting all the necessary breastfeeding nutrition with it. While infant formula is a supplement that is prescribed to a baby in case of absence of breast milk. Basically, it is a medicine. Now, why would you like to give medicine for no reason or without experiencing serious condition?”
3. Exclusively breastfeed infants for their first six months and continue breastfeeding up to the age of two years or beyond
In the past, women had to work a lot. They wouldn’t have any maternity leave. It simply didn’t exist. According to my English friend, whose mom is a lactation consultant: “This is why it is not so common breastfeeding baby up until now, but finally we are getting there.” In the former Soviet Union, there were guidelines saying you should give juice and yogurt to a four-weeks-old baby. Crazy, right?
But how long to breastfeed? Nowadays, “WHO recommends mothers worldwide to exclusively breastfeed infants for the child’s first six months to achieve optimal growth, development, and health. Thereafter, they should be given nutritious complementary foods and continue breastfeeding up to the age of two years or beyond.”
4. Mother’s body can change milk’s immunological composition
Besides, did you know that mom’s body can change the milk’s immunological composition after just ONE feed? The benefits of breastfeeding for baby are gigantic! There is no other product in the entire world that can do so. Breast milk not only has everything baby needs at the beginning of his life, but it also protects him. First off, it prevents the baby from the mom. If breastfeeding mom feels sick or she ate something bad, breast milk will not allow any germs to get in.
5. It is safe breastfeeding your baby when you have a contagious illness
According to the Babycenter: “It’s safe to breastfeed your baby when you have a common illness, like a cold or the flu, because these germs don’t pass into breast milk. Even mastitis (an infection in the breast) doesn’t pose any risk to your baby.” So, if you feel sick, the best thing you can do for your baby is to continue to breastfeed. When you have a contagious illness such as a cold, flu, or other mild viruses, keep in mind that your baby was exposed to the illness before you even knew you were sick. Though it is fair to note that breastfed babies should get vitamin D from their birth, and vitamin A and C after they reach the age of six months. On the other hand, formula milk already contains the necessary vitamins in composition.
6. Your breast milk will be loaded with antibodies and fat if baby gets sick
Secondly, if a baby gets sick, it will load milk with antibodies and fat to help fight the baby’s illness. So the breastfed baby recovers from illness much quicker than the one having the infant formula. How does it happen? It is believed that mammary gland receptors interpret the “baby spit backwash” for bacteria and viruses, and they detect if there is anything wrong with your little one. Isn’t it what we call a miracle?
Until now science didn’t answer all questions regarding the content of breast milk. It just changes daily based on signals from a baby. So, breast milk or formula?
7. Breast milk is a potent medicine
I heard quite often: “In order to be a good mom, you should breastfeed.” But breastfeeding is more than being a good mom. And breast milk is much more than food: It’s potent medicine and, simultaneously, a powerful medium of communication between mothers and their babies, called bonding.
Health benefits of breastfeeding
The advantages of breastfeeding are endless. Below are just some of them:
- Breastfed babies don’t need to drink water, milk provides all the necessary hydration.
- Breastfeeding leads to babies with higher IQ and lower chances of getting childhood obesity.
- Based on recent research, Julie Mennella of the Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia believes that early breast milk helps babies develop their own taste preferences, as well as increase their enjoyment of particular flavors.
- If you exclusively breastfeed the baby, you lose up to 300 calories a day. Isn’t it the easiest enjoyable fitness possible?
- And finally, it is FREE. You never think about preparing the milk or places where to warm it up, your breast milk just comes out all ready and at the perfect temperature.
Infant formula is a healthy alternative
What about formula then? I would agree with the statement on NHS. It is believed that “breast milk is the best nutritional choice for infants. But breastfeeding may not be possible for all women. So for moms who can’t breastfeed or who decide not to, infant formula is a healthy alternative. The formula milk provides babies with the nutrients they need to grow and thrive.” In addition, surely, there are some challenges breastfeeding, such as personal comfort and space, diet maintenance, commitment on time and frequency of feedings. But on a personal note, I think it was one of the best experiences in my life.
What’s in breast milk?
Nutritionally breast milk is a complete and perfect food – an ideal combination for your baby and no one more in this entire world. Each drop of your breast milk contains thousands of beneficial components. Scientifically, we don’t know everything about this magic liquid, but the following:
- It has proteins, fat, carbohydrates, and nutrients;
- It has a variety of minerals and vitamins:
- vitamins A, C, and E.
- DHA (an omega-3) and AA (an omega-6) fatty acids help to develop your baby’s brain and nervous system;
- The main carbohydrate is lactose, that provides your baby with energy and calories keeping them active 24/7;
- Other sugars in breast milk help to feed microbes that populate a baby’s digestive system;
- It has thousands of good bacteria that help your baby’s digestive system function properly;
- And finally, it has clear color and appearance, but a variety of aromas, flavors, and textures. They are as dynamic as mom’s diet.
Wish you to have the best breastfeeding experience!
Got another tip? Share with us by leaving your comment below.
If you liked the article, please spread the word by sharing the pin below. We would highly appreciate it!
To get more support from parents and family travelers, join our Parenting Support Group.
And follow us on Instagram to know our crazy expat life!
IMPORTANT: We created the Family Store especially for you. By clicking on the image below you can find anything from Newborn’s First Kit, Baby & Family Essentials, Kids Travel to Travel Gear. We hope you will find something valuable for your own adventures!
Our shop contains products from other companies that we love and use! Everything is based on our values of quality over quantity.
Also, check out:
- Breastfeeding in public: Yes or No?
- How To Increase Breast Milk: 9 Magical Breastfeeding Tips.
- Boost Milk Supply With These Seven Easy Steps.
- Lactation consultant talks: how to increase milk supply in 3 days.
Welcome to check out our best product selection for parents and babies, including traveling gear and resources here.
This post may contain affiliate links that we may or may not receive a small commission for, at no extra cost to you. This helps to fund our blog but we never advertise for anything we don’t personally love or recommend. There is never any pressure to buy anything, we just like sharing things that make our life easier and help you find them if it is something you are looking for. Please, see our full disclosure here.