Newborns Feeding Baby Formula

Deciding whether to feed your baby breast milk or formula is a big decision. While breastfeeding can be uncomfortable, doctors recommend it because breast milk is usually the healthiest option for newborns. However, at times, formula can be more convenient while still providing babies with some health benefits. If you are struggling with the decision on whether to feed your baby breast milk or formula, keep in mind that you can go back and forth between both feeding options when convenient.

Benefits of Infant Formula Feeding

For some moms, breastfeeding exclusively is not realistic. Due to health problems, a hectic work schedule, a finicky baby and many other factors, it may not be possible for you to breastfeed your baby as often as is necessary. Because experts recommend breastfeeding every two hours, some moms need to turn to formula at least part of the time.

Luckily, feeding an infant formula from a baby bottle is an acceptable alternative to the breast. While formula isn’t as nutritious as breast milk, it is still good for babies. Most formulas contain everything that babies need to grow strong and healthy. Next to the breast, there is nothing better or healthier for a baby than high-quality baby formula.

Types of Baby Formula

Although most baby formula is made with cow’s milk, soy-based milk formula is also available for mothers who prefer it. For babies who are lactose intolerant, protein hydrolysate formula is also suitable.

Formula must be administered about every two hours or as often as your baby likes to eat. While you do know your baby best, as you figure out his or her hunger signs and eating needs, stick to the recommendation of feeding your baby a bottle every two hours.

Advantages of Baby Formula

Although breast milk is considered to be the best feeding option for newborns, formula does have some unique advantages over breast milk that many mothers do not consider. Some of the advantages of formula over breast milk include:

  • Availability: Moms can feed their babies formula at anytime, whether or not their breast milk is ready.
  • Convenience: Formula feeding is less of a commitment than breastfeeding a child is. If you can’t feed your child every few hours, you have to make use of breast pumps for the sake of both your breast comfort and your baby’s feeding routine. Similarly, feeding your baby formula can be more convenient than breastfeeding because it allows others, including fathers and other family members, to feed the baby when necessary.
  • More options: The different choices and types of infant formula are an advantage for mothers with babies who have more finicky eating habits.

Formula versus Breast Milk

While feeding your child infant formula from a baby bottle has many benefits, in most cases, breastfeeding is the best feeding method for babies. Studies have shown that babies who are breastfed have fewer inner ear infections, a reduced chance of child or adult obesity and even sometimes higher IQ scores than babies who are bottle fed.

The Advantages of Breastfeeding

Although feeding babies formula can be more convenient at times, breastfeeding does have its own conveniences, as it eliminates the need for mothers to have to buy and prepare formula and baby bottles. Along with saving time, other advantages of breastfeeding over formula feeding include:

  • Establishing a bond with your baby: Intimacy is one of the many advantages of breastfeeding. Studies have shown that children who are breastfed tend to bond more quickly with their mothers and have better relationships with their parents and other adults.
  • Saving money: Constantly buying formula can get expensive quickly. In contrast, breastfeeding is nearly free of cost, outside of the cost of the occasional maternity bra or breast pump.

Whether you choose to feed your baby infant formula from a baby bottle or breast milk is up to you. Both options have associated advantages and drawbacks. If you’re still unsure about which method is best for you, talk to your doctor about your concerns.

Resources

Department of Health and Human Services Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2008). Breastfeeding Frequently Asked Questions. Retrieved February 1, 2008, from Centers for Disease Control Web site.

Mayo Clinic (2008) Infant Formula: Which is Right for Your Baby? Retrieved February 3, 2008, from the Mayo Clinic Web site.