Everywhere you go it seems like somebody has an opinion on breastfeeding versus formula feeding. Due to this, the issue seems completely inescapable. This also means that it can be highly divisive as a lot of people have very firm beliefs on what’s better for a child. In the other corner, people have strong ideas about what's more beneficial for the mother. It isn't always the case that both individuals are considered. Regardless, more science-based information on breastfeeding is readily available for the public, making it easier to swing in that direction. But day by day more facts come out about the benefits of using formula. Additionally, some cons arrive with it as well.
This list will deal with some of the research-based realities of formula feeding. In other words, we aren’t trying to take a stand in the debate. We simply want everyone to be informed of some of the legitimate facts surrounding formula feeding one’s child. All the evidence presented in this list are sourced from doctors, scientists, and other medical professionals who are cited at the bottom. If you’re interested in doing your own research, all of our sources are a great start. Now, without further ado, here are 20 Points on The Legitimacy of Formula Feeding.
20 Not Every Mom Has A Choice
Here's the cold hard truth about breastfeeding; not every woman can do it. Some are physically incapable of breastfeeding their babies. This is due to several issues. First and foremost, it can be incredibly uncomfortable for some women to do it. Some kids won't latch onto a mother making it impossible for them to get any milk. Other mothers have a low milk supply. Then there are scenarios where the mother is too unhealthy to do it. Additionally, adoptions and surrogacies make it far harder for moms to breastfeed, leaving formula use as the only option.
So, the next time that you judge a mother for using formulas, remember that it's not always up to them. There are forces beyond their control preventing them from even having the choice to breastfeed or not.
19 There Don't Seem To Be Lasting Effects
Counter to the beliefs of some, in the long term, there really doesn't appear to be any significant differences between formula-fed babies and breastfed ones. Admittedly, this is an area where we don't yet have all the necessary answers or research to a form firm opinion. However, there is absolutely no evidence that points to any dramatic differences that should force anyone into one camp over the other.
However, for example, in most studies done to date, there has been no difference to how kids turned out in terms of blood pressure, BMI, or even behavioral issues. So, take that into account the next time you are pondering whether or not formula-feeding is legitimate or not.
18 A Connection Between Mother And Child Is Still Made When Formula Fed
One of the largest concerns that mothers have when choosing to formula-feed their kids is that they won't build the same kind of connection with their child. It's obvious to understand how important this is. Additionally, it's easy to see how a relationship can be formed when breastfeeding. But there's very little evidence that shows that breastfeeding allows mothers to build more of a bond with their child than formula-feeding does.
The act of holding one's baby, comforting them, as well as feeding them when they are hungry is the very foundation for establishing a healthy emotional bond. And, it's a bond that can be created with anyone who decides to feed a baby, including a father, whose relationship is also important.
17 Formulas Offer The Same Vitamins And Nutrients As Milk
While there are a couple of differences, commercially prepared infant formulas are a nutritious alternative and are not far off from being a carbon copy. Although it's impossible to copy the complexity of breastmilk, manufacturers can come close. The majority of products even contain some vitamins and nutrients that breastfed babies need to obtain from supplements. When you think about it, it makes sense. After all, manufacturers have complete control over it. Why not attempt to make formulas superior in some ways? That's a benefit of this legitimate form of feeding.
However, they are only recommended when they are manufactured. It's virtually impossible to make proper baby formula at home. This is because it requires the right combination of proteins, sugars, fats, and vitamins.
16 Formulas Are Convenient
One of the aspects that make formula feeding so legitimate is the fact that it's convenient for the mother. Once a bottle is made, it literally can be fed to a baby at any time of the day or night. This means that a mother doesn't need to attempt to pump. It's also something that can be given to a baby anywhere. This way mothers don't need to find a private place to feed their young ones if they are out and about.
It also makes it really easy for maternity leave, given that a lot of women only get six weeks of paid maternity and then have to go back to work. This way, anyone who is looking after the baby while mom is at work can feed them with something that they are already used to. Basically, formula-feeding takes minimal planning.
15 Formulas Give Mothers Control Of Their Food And Drink
Formula-feeding is a legitimate option for both babies and mothers. For moms, it can be a life-saver as it means that they don't need to carefully watch what they eat and drink. This means that they can have a social life and not worry about passing on the contents of their foods and liquids to their babies via breastfeeding. But more importantly, it can mean that a mother can be comfortable.
In some cases, mothers will need to take certain meds to help them with the discomfort they feel after a C-section. If they have to breastfeed this child, they won't be able to take most remedies as doctors don't want the contents of those meds passing to the baby. Formula-feeding can make it easier for everyone.
14 Babies Need To Be Fed Less When On Formula
Another one of the highly beneficial aspects of formula-feeding is the fact that babies need to be fed less of it than they do breastmilk. This is because formulas take longer to digest. Therefore, babies will have their stomach filled for a longer period of time.
Additionally, moms also know precisely how much food their babies are receiving. With breastfeeding, it's impossible to tell just how much a baby is getting. This could mean that they are getting far more than they require or far less. But formula-feedings mean that parents know the precise measurements. This makes it a pretty legitimate option, indeed.
13 It Allows For Moms To Get Proper Sleep
Formula-feeding can also give moms the precious gift of sleep. This is a rare commodity during the first year or so of having a child. This is because it can take a long time for a baby to settle in and get into a healthy sleeping pattern. It can take its toll on moms who need to have their wits about them during the daylight hours in order to work and keep their baby happy and healthy.
But since formula-feeding (as well as all bottle feeding) can be handed off to one's partner, it means that everyone can feed in shifts. Unfortunately, breastfeeding can only be done by the mother, getting her up and out of bed at strange hours of the night. Formula-feeding means that everyone can get what they want at some point.
12 Mothers Are Less Stressed When Using Formulas
Pay attention, moms... research shows that stress rates are down in moms who formula-feed versus the ones who breastfeed. This is mostly due to some of the entries on this very list. For instance, formula-feeding is a lot less time consuming than breastfeeding, as well as less physically demanding.
This research is incredibly important since we don't tend to talk about the mental health of mothers while they are in the first couple years of motherhood. The attention goes to the babies and not the people keeping that baby alive and well. Although both are important, we can't forget the moms who need to be physically and emotionally healthy during this high-stress period of time. For this reason and more, it's vital that we acknowledge the legitimacy of formula-feeding.
11 Moms Who Get Sick Don't Need To Worry
Moms who formula-feed their babies don't need to worry too much about how to feed their babies when they themselves are feeling a bit off. Of course, most doctors don't want moms who have colds and/or the flu to breastfeed their babies when they have something since they are concerned that the bug could transfer. Catching something soon after childbirth is highly likely since the body has been through so much. It's a legitimate worry. This is why moms are encouraged to pump their milk and store them in the fridge just in case.
But if a child isn't used to taking a bottle it can be very challenging for a cold-ridden mom to get their baby fed. This entry is another one of the reasons why moms who formula-feed their babies are less stressed than those who breastfeed.
10 Formulas Can Be Dairy And Soy-Free
There are instances of babies having an allergy to breastmilk. This is why formulas can be really helpful, as they can be made both dairy and soy free. So, if a baby also has an allergy or a general intolerance to soy, formulas can step in and offer them all the required nutrients and vitamins that are needed for them to grow big and strong. In short, formulas can be a life-saver for parents who would otherwise struggle to find an alternative for their sensitive babies.
Formulas can also be processed in a way that helps young ones avoid allergic reactions altogether. Even though it's kind of uncommon for babies to have lactose intolerance, it can happen and can be a thorn in their sides.
9 Formula-Fed Tots Don't Mean More Trots
One of the concerns that some parents have is that formula-fed babies have more liquidy trots. This is because the low-iron formulas may have an undesirable effect on a baby's gastrointestinal flora. However, few clinical studies have truly addressed this issue directly, meaning that it's not only not that big of a deal, but also somewhat unlikely that a baby would have more trots while drinking formula.
The studies that have been done have focused on infants who received both breastmilk and formula. Thus, it didn't really tackle the issue directly. However, the results of the studies were that neither low-iron nor iron-fortified formula had a significant impact on a child's rate of diarrhea, especially in comparison to breastmilk.
8 Negative Formula Reactions Are To Do With Its Preparation
Without a doubt, some babies have had negative reactions to some formulas out there. But studies have shown that the vast majority of these reactions happen when a baby has been fed a homemade or ill-prepared formula. One study, the 2005–2007 Infant Feeding Practices Study II, concluded that most mothers haven't been given proper instruction on formula preparation as well as storage.
Additionally, the study concluded that babies who were fed a ready-to-feed formula also experienced more negative reactions. This is why it's important for those who choose to formula-feed their babies to know precisely how to prepare it. It's a legitimate source of vitamins and nutrients for a child, but it does require the proper care.
7 Formula-Fed Babies Are Happier
Another way that we know that formula-feeding is a legitimate option for babies is the fact that they are found to be happier than babies who have been breastfed. This does seem like a strange conclusion to come to. However, researchers at the Medical Research Council Epidemiology Unit in Cambridge came to this conclusion after examining the temperaments of more than 300 3-month-old babies.
The researches found that the formula-fed babies cried less, laughed and smiled a lot more than the ones who had been breastfed. They were also easier to soothe than their breastfed counterparts. So, what's the reason for this? Well, in short, breastfeeding takes work. Some babies aren't up for it. Additionally, formulas fill a baby's stomach faster.
6 Formula-Fed Babies Grow Faster
Another interesting fact about babies who were formula-fed is the fact that they grow faster than their counterparts. A study by UC Davis in the Journal of Proteome Research compared the sizes of five formula-fed baby rhesus monkeys with five breastfed monkeys and found that the former grew far faster and larger than the latter.
So, babies have a better chance of growing larger and having larger muscles. This is because human milk is only 8 percent protein, while formula lands at about 18 percent. The only slightly troublesome part is the fact that muscles aren't the only thing that grows larger when fed formula. Other parts of the body can pack on as well.
5 A Mix Of Formula And Breastfeeding Can Be Advantageous
Many moms have been taught that one should only breastfeed or only formula-feed. But a combination of both is far from a bad thing. One of the reasons they have been taught that picking both is a bad thing is because mixing in formula-feeding may decrease breastmilk production. But this isn't exactly accurate.
Researchers at UC San Francisco conducted a study that looked at newborns who had formula during their first few days on earth, as well as others who were strictly breastfed. They found that mothers who stuck with breastmilk were far more stressed and more likely to call it quits. But moms who occasionally allowed their babies to formula feed had an easier time switching back and forth, causing less stress. This allowed them to stick with breastfeeding for a longer period.
4 Formula-Fed Babies Have Stronger Bones
Although nothing can precisely mimic the complexity of human breastmilk, formulas do tend to have certain things that breastmilk just doesn't. One such thing is glorious vitamin D. Formulas have vitamin D in spades, whereas breastmilk is lacking it. This tends to mean that babies fall short of their vitamin D intake unless they receive it elsewhere; I.E. vitamin D rich formulas.
The abundance of Vitamin D in formulas mean that babies who are fed it tend to have much stronger bones. One study found that formula-fed babies had higher bone mineralization. This is all the more reason why the Academy of Pediatrics recommends that breastfed babies get vitamin D supplements to make up the difference.
3 Switching Between Formulas Is Fine
One of the signs that formula-feeding may not be legitimate is if there was a drastic change if the brand was switched. Rest assured, that this is not the case. It's totally fine to switch formula brands if you think your baby will like a different one better or if you prefer to go for a more expensive or a cheaper one.
A study done by the University of Virginia found that switching formulas is totally fine. There was no evidence of anything bad happening if a formula brand is switched. In the study, babies did not experience any uptick in spit-up, nor burping, gas, crying, or even irritability as a result of the switch. So, folks, go ahead and make that chance if you feel like your baby or wallet will benefit from it.
2 Most Of The Breastfeeding V.S. Formula Studies Are Skewed
Formula-feeding versus breastfeeding is an age-old debate. Those who are slanted toward the side of breastfeeding often cite various studies that claim that there are less than positive results when choosing to formula-feed. Unfortunately, most of these studies are skewed.
For example, a mother's IQ usually helps to predict whether or not a child will have a higher IQ or not. As well as those parents who are poorer and live in poorer environments have a higher chance of having a kid who is prone to being ill. But a lot of these studies only pertain to breastfeeding versus formula-feeding. Thus, you may have a study that says a child has a lower IQ and is prone to illness because they were formula-fed. But if the mother has a lower IQ or lives in a poorer environment, that has more to do with the outcome than the formula does.
1 Formula-Feeding Doesn't Make Kids Less Healthy or Less Smart
The previous entry talked about how a lot of studies have flawed methodology when concluding that breastfeeding is healthier than formula-feeding. The vast majority of true experts, including the World Health Organization and the Academy of Pediatrics all conclude that breastfeeding is the better choice. But they don't claim that formula-feeding isn't legitimate or causes noticeable differences in illness or IQ.
Two neuroscientists writing for Bloomberg View agreed with this belief, claiming that, “Although it is true that children who were breastfed as babies have higher intelligence than bottle-fed children, the reason for the correlation is in the mother’s brain, not her breast. A U.S. mother whose IQ is 15 points higher than her neighbor's is more than twice as likely to breastfeed".
So, you don't need to worry so much about those who denounce formula-feeding. It is a legitimate option as well as bodes less risk than some claim.
Sources: TheMilitaryWifeAndMom, KidsHealth, NewRepublic, The New York Times, Mom.me, TheAtlantic, Parenting.FirstCry, Romper, AmericanPregnancy, ScienceBasedMedicine, Fatherly, Philly.com, FDA.gov, TheStir.CafeMom.