Feeding Guide: Compare Breastfeeding & Formula Feeding
Most new parents, moms in particular, have questions about what to feed their newborn baby. There’s breastfeeding, bottle feeding, formula feeding… but how much and how often? Is breast really “best” or is it ok to breastfeed and formula feed my newborn? Can you breast and formula feed at the same time? With so many questions, the most important thing to remember is that no matter how you feed your baby, is that your baby is well fed! That means that either breast or bottle is fine! As with so many baby and family related decisions, what and/or how to feed your newborn is a personal choice. You have to do what works for you, and even be okay if that changes along the way. Keep reading to find out more about feeding your newborn.
Can you breastfeed and formula feed your baby?
Whether to nurse your newborn baby or bottle feed is a personal decision with lots of viewpoints. This is why it’s important to make that decision on what works best for you, your family, and your baby. It is possible for babies to drink breast milk and formula, in fact, doing both is called “supplementing” and it’s perfectly ok! For a lot of families, this method of combination feeding works great – it’s convenient, manageable, and totally safe for baby.
How long does the average mom breastfeed?
Believe it or not, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that infants be breastfed until around 2 years old. Some parents may find this an excruciating amount of time, while others think that’s an absolutely acceptable time frame.
Further, the AAP suggests is that infants be breastfed exclusively for the first six months, while continuing to breastfeed along with the introduction of age appropriate foods for 1 year or longer. Your pediatrician will help when it comes time to introduce solid foods (rice cereal and apple sauce have never been so exciting!) and should be able to assist you in making these important kinds of decisions.
At what age is breastfeeding no longer beneficial?
It is generally believed that after 2 years of age, the benefits of breast feeding your baby are diminished. By then, you will probably notice that your baby is no longer interested. That’s because by the time she’s 2, your child has likely been introduced to all kinds of food which is where most of her nutrition will come from.
How do you formula feed a newborn?
According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control), “start by offering your baby 1 to 2 ounces of infant formula every 2 to 3 hours in the first days of life if your baby is only getting infant formula and no breast milk. Give your baby more if he or she is showing signs of hunger.
Most infant formula-fed newborns will feed 8 to 12 times in 24 hours. Talk with your child’s doctor or nurse about how much infant formula is right for your baby.”
When is formula feeding the best option for a baby?
Since proper nutrition and hydration are absolutely necessary for your little one to grow and develop, if you are struggling with nursing, and/or suffering with breastfeeding in any way, or you’ve simply made the decision that it’s not for you, formula is perfectly fine for babies. There are plenty of healthy and nutrient-rich formulas to choose from as well as variety. There are organic formulas, plant-based, soy-based, cow-milk based… ask your pediatrician for suggestions, especially if your baby has any dietary restrictions or fussiness.
Some parents prefer to use formula at nighttime feedings only. That’s because it is sometimes thought that formula lasts “longer” than breastmilk and will give your baby a sense of fullness that may help her sleep for longer stretches of time.
What are the differences between breastfeeding and formula feeding?
- Breast milk naturally has all the nutrients babies need to grow and develop
- Can help prevent health issues like allergies, eczema, ear infections, and stomach problems
- Breastfed babies are less likely to become obese or have diabetes
- May be a preventative of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome)
- May help lower the risk for breast and ovarian cancers, diabetes, and certain other diseases in mothers
- Is more cost effective – money can be spent on things other than formula
- Flexibility: anyone can feed your baby. Dad, grandparents, caregivers… it also gives them time to bond with her
- Convenience: some moms may not feel comfortable nursing in certain public spaces or situations. Formula feedings can happen anywhere at anytime.
- Keeps baby fuller for longer stretches, so mom can likely get more sleep
- Diet: mom doesn’t have to worry about adding extra onions and garlic, she can even have wine! Baby won’t ingest whatever mom is eating and drinking so she can indulge in all of her favorites with little worry
What are the advantages of breastfeeding?
In addition to skin-to-skin contact, snuggle time and overall bonding with your little one, the advantages of breast feeding are plentiful! Breast milk contains antibodies that help your baby fight off viruses, lower her risk of asthma and allergies, and typically, babies who are breastfed have fewer ear infections and less tummy trouble overall. If you’re interested in breastfeeding but find it all consuming or stressful in any way, keep in mind that you can breastfeed and use formula at the same time. Or breastfeed when possible and supplement with formula.
What are the advantages of formula feeding?
Flexibility, inclusiveness and convenience are some of the stand out benefits of formula feeding. Some families prefer it as dads, partners and care-givers can get in on the action! True, breastfed babies can drink mothers’ milk from a bottle, but because breastfeeding isn’t for everyone, and because there are so many formula options available, for some families, formula is best! And for some families, breast and formula fed babies are the happiest babies! Remember that formula offers the best possible alternative to breast milk. Formula feeding also allows moms to eat a wider variety of food as their choices won’t end up in baby’s sensitive tummy!