Breastmilk or formula – no matter what you choose to feed your baby, as long as the baby is sufficiently fed, hydrated, and gaining weight, you are doing fine.
Not every woman wants to breastfeed. Some new moms may struggle with anxiety due to breastfeeding or not having enough supply. The choice of breastfeeding vs formula should be totally up to moms without pushing them into formula guilt.
Why do moms choose formula feeding over breastfeeding?
Women have to struggle a lot for producing enough milk for their babies, or there are some babies who just don’t want to latch regardless.
Breastfeeding is becoming popular in the US for the past several years as compared to a few decades ago when hardly a new mom attempted to breastfeed.
Although breastfeeding in public gets uncomfortable for some moms, similarly, people get pretty judgmental when they see moms breastfeeding in public. Even if you feed formula or breastmilk in a bottle, you will be bombarded with questions and judged for the baby’s nutrition.
No matter what way you choose to nurture your baby, as long as baby is well fed, active, healthy and happy, that is all that matters.
This post may contain affiliate links. Please read our disclaimer for more information.
Breastfeeding Vs Formula feeding
Not to mention breastfeeding seems tough to new moms but it becomes more convenient as the weeks pass by.
Besides all the benefits of breastfeeding, parents may choose to exclusively formula feed or top feed to meet the nutritious demands of babies.
Reasons why Babies do not want to latch
Typically there are number of reasons babies don’t want to latch.
- Due to small nipple size, or nipple confusion. Using the Nipple shield may be helpful in that case.
- The baby is slightly uncomfortable due to the mom’s nursing position. Make sure the baby has enough breathing room.
Ideally,you should sit in a nursing chair, place a pillow in your lap to level up your baby so you don’t have to bend. For C- section moms, wearing a belly belt would help with pain and support, and placing a pillow in the lap would help tremendously.
- Always make sure you are in the right posture, keep your baby close to you, instead you being close to baby.
- Some babies may have latching issues due to tongue-tie.
Breastfeeding could make moms anxious
Some women are not comfortable with the idea of breastfeeding. They seem to have anxiety and stress as they think about breastfeeding.
Some moms may get scared of being judged for not nourishing their child the natural way or may put them in the mom-guilt. This is important to realize, breastfeeding can be overwhelming, do not feel forced about it. If you absolutely do not want to breastfeed, choose formula.
I am not a medical professional, please do not seek any medical advice from me. I am just a mom with two little ones, fed both of them with a combo feed as advised by their pediatrician.
Breastmilk and Formula feeding Combination
Let’s do some pros and cons for Breastmilk and formula feed.
Breastmilk is easy on Digestion whereas formula takes time
Breastmilk is very light and easy to digest. Baby gets hungry too often in about 1.5 to 2 hours whereas formula feed can go up to 3 to 4 hours as it keeps baby full and takes time to digest. This is to note, these numbers highly dependent on the age of your baby, body type, weight, etc.
Some babies need more feed and get hungry too soon.
Babies may have trouble adjusting to one particular type of formula, as it causes too much gas, while some have more reflux because of the esophagus (food pipe) is not fully developed.
Breast milk is Free and Formula is not free at all
Breastmilk is free, natural, and abundant with healthy nourishment whereas formula milk is expensive. It costs about $30 for every big container that can only be consumed within 30 days after opening.
Additionally, ready to feed bottles are good for one hour after opening.
Exclusive formula feeding can be costly for new parents, and baby needs to be fed formula till she turn one.
Breastfeeding is tough in the beginning and formula is no physical pain
In the beginning, breastfeeding gets painful and tough, but that does not define the whole breastfeeding journey.
Comparatively, the formula is no pain, the only con of using formula is warming up water and wash bottles every hour.
Like I said, breastfeeding pan does not last long. Sore nipples heal in a couple of weeks. Mom can use Lanolin cream to soothe cracked nipples. within a month, you won’t even remember If you ever had pain.
Breastfeeding is a frequent wake-up for moms and babies and the stress continues for the whole time, although things do get better with time.
Breastfeeding on the go and formula feeding is tough on the go
Breastfeeding is the most convenient way to feed a baby while on-the-go. Either you are in the car, or at a restaurant, you don’t have to prepare milk bottles, unless you are exclusively pumping and feeding.
Pumping breastmilk or feeding on demand
Pumping is a great way to deal with breast engrogement or fuller breasts, If you cannot nurse the baby at the time, using haaka manual pump or any pump can be an absoulte reliver. Leaking breast lead to embarrassment in social settings.
Store an extra milk in the fridge or freezer in milk storing bags, with dates on.
What you can do if you want to breastfeed and you are scared
Looking at the bigger picture – despite all the breastmilk benefits, breastfeeding is not easy for every mom. But, rest assured, the first couple of weeks are by no means representing your whole breastfeeding journey.
Millions of mothers have been able to breastfeed their babies successfully for centuries.
We face anxiety sometimes when we fear to do something, or we are scared of facing the situation. It could have many other reasons, but ideally, you have to try to get over with stressed-out feelings.
Let me tell you, stress is the number one killer of milk supply, the more stressed out you are the lesser will be the supply.
Every Mom should try to nurse her baby so she would not have any regret of not trying.
There are chances that you might like the natural way of feeding your baby, and after that, if you are not comfortable and feel more stressed and upset due to all that hardwood, pain, middle of the night frequent waking, so and so forth, you can switch to formula.
Well, there are chances your baby might not like the bottle even.
Reasons why you should consider supplementing with formula
1. When the formula feed is the only option as you do not have enough supply yet
Babies tend to lose birth weight as it takes about 3 to 5 days for moms to have a healthy supply for newborns. Until then moms have a natural pre-milk Colostrum that has potential health benefits for babies that could last for a lifetime.
During this struggle, some babies lose weight more than the normal range, so they need to be fed on formula as they should not get to the starvation level. Try not to be too rigid on exclusively breastfeeding that it could cost you your baby’s health.
If you need to supplement even for the time being do not show rigidness in consulting with your pediatrician. It is certainly understandable that as a mom you want the best nutrition for your baby and nothing beats mom’s milk. Right now just think “fed is the best”.
Read this post on moms regrets on their motherhood journey. In this post, a mom advised new moms not to be too rigid about exclusively breastfeeding when there is not enough supply and your baby is losing more of her birth weight.
Always seek professional advice if you want to consider supplementing.
Read more about mommy mistakes with newborn babies.
2. When your baby is always hungry and crying
While there are other reasons why your baby might be crying, hunger is the top of the list. Crying babies could be stressful for both parents and caretakers, it makes them frustrated and exhausted. Somehow even if you are nursing every 2 hours or on demand and your baby seems to be always hungry then it could be a sign that you NEED to supplement as you are not producing enough.
Talk to your pediatrician about it and make sure your baby is having enough wet and dirty diapers a day.
Read more about what are newborn essentials for sick and uncomfortable days.
3. When breastfeeding makes you more stressed out or anxious than normal
If you are overthinking about breastfeeding and it gives you more stress and you feel you can’t do that for a long time, try at least for 6 months. The only thing that haunted me with my second pregnancy was breastfeeding. Despite all those painful beginnings, I chose to nurse for about one a half year with just a little bit of supplementing. You can read about my biggest regret for not supplementing when I was not having enough milk supply.
4. When you feel you are not emotionally, physically or mentally ready
Everyone at the hospital wants to impose their decision on you, as they want the best feed for the newborn and encourage moms to nurse more and more and to have skin to skin which would help with milk supply. The earlier you start nursing the quicker will be the supply.
Unfortunately, for some moms, it takes a lot to start over something for which they don’t seem to be ready and adding on the social pressure would make it worse.
Its the mom who has to take care of the baby and if she is not mentally ready for something, she shouldn’t be forced to do that. Although breastfeeding is known to have reduced the risk of postpartum depression as it would help moms to have a bonding with their baby.
However, if at any point you seem not ready or it is costing you your health, you should talk to your pediatrician about supplementing.
5. When you just do not want to do that with your 100% consent
There are moms who just do not want to nurse due to their very own reasons and they have a complete right to decide for their baby. So if you do not want to do it, just do your research and have a talk with your doctor about the
Seek help or advice from a Lactation Consultant
Hospitals offer lactation consulting to help new moms to learn the process of breastfeeding. It may seem easy and learn by doing the process, however, you are underestimating the power of lactation consultants. They are professional and they do offer help for new moms to make it easy on your self and babies. I had to take a lactation class at the hospital as it was not as easy as it seemed. She actually knew how to help in a positive way.
Unfortunately, due to all those hormonal changes post-delivery, makes it even harder for moms. Some moms do not have a good experience as they are stressed out and they have to get a job done too. Thus making it hard and stressful for new moms.
While discharging at the hospital nurses are going to guide you with lactation consulting services if you need any in the
Other Issues you might have to face
If you have pain latching, you can try electric pumps.
If you are a working mom, you can either pump or also use a combo feed.
Those who are having less milk supply and want to breastfeed, they can increase milk supply with these supplements. They are made up of fenugreek which is a very helpful ingredient for boosting milk supply.
Read more about How to increase breast milk supply with food.
My pediatrician even advised me to even mix breastmilk and top feed in a feeding bottle.
Despite whatever you choose, breastfeeding is a natural and healthy option for moms too. It will help them shed baby weight in a few months postpartum, also helps uterus shrink within a few weeks.
You are a mom and you know what is best for your child. If you want to choose formula over breastmilk, it would not make you any less of a mom. If your mental and physical health is taking a toll over breastfeeding, you could seriously consider quitting breastfeeding. A healthy mom can take care of a baby in