Breastfeeding vs Formula Feeding: How to Decide

breastfeeding vs formula feedingThe evidence is clear that breastfeeding provides the best nutrition for a baby. But the evidence is also evident that formula feeding a newborn can produce a very healthy, happy child. The decision of breastfeeding vs formula feeding is not an easy one, and should not be taken lightly by moms-to-be. Consider these points when deciding if breastfeeding or bottle feeding is right for you and your newborn.

Have you done your homework about breastfeeding vs formula feeding?

breastfeeding vs formulaThe very first step to deciding if you want to formula feed or breastfeed is to do your homework. Talk to your doctor about the options. You should research non-biased articles about breastfeeding vs formula feeding. While you will no doubt uncover the fact that breastfeeding offers the best nutrition for newborns, you will also discover some issues you may encounter with breastfeeding. Bottle feeding research will show you the facts as well. If every mom in your family has bottle fed, or breastfed, you may naturally feel compelled to follow suit. Don’t make the decision flippantly, or based on others opinions, do your homework first.

Will you be returning to work?

If you are going to go back to work after your baby is born, you will need to take this into consideration when choosing to breastfeed or bottle feed. If you are breastfeeding, you will need to breast pump during the hours you are working. This takes time, scheduling, and some expense to purchase the proper breastfeeding supplies and equipment. When my daughter was born, I returned to work when he was nine weeks old and breast pumped successfully for many months. I did, however, have my office and a flexible schedule, so breast pumping worked out for me. Knowing my current schedule and working environment, I’m not sure I would be able to breast pump if I had another baby. Most bosses are going to be very supportive of breast pumping, but make sure you take your return to work into consideration when deciding whether to bottle feed or breastfeed.

Can you be tied to your newborn 24/7?

Breastfeeding requires you to be there to feed your baby around the clock. If you want your spouse to do some of the feedings, then take this into consideration when choosing to breastfeed vs formula feeding. Breast pumping will allow another person to bottle feed your baby with breast milk, but sometimes babies that are breastfeeding refuse a bottle for a time. Think about this before deciding bottle feeding versus breastfeeding.

What is your budget like?

Breastfeeding is not entirely free. You will need nursing bras, nursing pads, breast pump and pumping materials if you are pumping, storage containers, etc. However, breastfeeding is certainly less expensive than buying infant formula. I know that my family saved hundreds of dollars when I choose to breastfeed for the first several months of my daughter’s life. If having a new baby is going to place a strain on your budget, certainly take this into account when choosing to breastfeed.

How is your health?

If you and your husband are prone to getting sick or have a weaker immune system, take this into account when choosing whether to formula feed or breastfeed. Frequent sickness may make it hard for you to breastfeed at times. However, breast milk will provide your baby with the best defenses against infection. Therefore, helping your newborn have a stronger immune system. When you are sick, your milk supply may reduce dramatically, so consider your health when deciding if you are going to breastfeed or formula feed.

Which is better breastfeeding or formula feeding?

You don’t have to choose one or the other. Do also keep in mind that you don’t have to choose one or the other in breastfeeding vs formula feeding. You can do both! Many mothers breastfeed their babies but at the same time supplement with formula when they are away, or when pumping is not convenient. Don’t get in your mind that these two ways of feeding your newborn have to be exclusive of each other. When my daughter was 4 1/2 months old, I started supplementing with a baby formula. She had already been bottle feeding with breast milk for a few months, and everything went very smoothly.

There is so much to consider when deciding whether to formula feed or breastfeed. This sensitive subject can get mothers excited and downright angry faster than just about any other baby-related subject. Don’t make the decision about whether to formula feed or breastfeed lightly. Do your homework, considering how your family works, and then make this important decision for yourself and your newborn. Do keep in mind, however, that mothers of newborns are prone to make new decisions after that baby is born. You may have been dead set on breastfeeding or formula feeding before your little one’s birth, then feel compelled for the other once he or she is born. Do your homework, but don’t be surprised if you change your mind.

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