Formula versus breastmilk: The unending battle that has been brewing for more than a century. Which one reigns supreme? Breastfeeding moms all shake their fists and shout 'Breastmilk!!!' in a frenzy. Formula-feeding moms retaliate with a 'Formula!!!' In the end, doesn't the term 'Fed is Best' seem the most befitting of all?
Still, to answer the insatiable thirst of human kind's curiosity (in short, we are all just nosy people), countless studies have been made to study the similarities as well as to break down the differences between the effects of breastmilk and its formulated cousin. The World Health Organization, the FDA, UNICEF, and every other notable food-related industries have had their say about this golden liquid that babies live and thrive on.
But did you know that after all that is said and done, the effects of breastmilk and formulated milk are pretty much the same? Suddenly there is a deafening silence followed by eyes popping out and jaws dropping worldwide.
Now before anyone jumps up and starts reciprocating, calm down and let us walk you through a list of the similarities. Regardless of which side of the fence you're on, you might just find the facts to ring true.
20 The Bond will still happen
Many mothers claim that babies who consume breastmilk (especially those who latch directly) tend to have a stronger bond with their mothers compared to those who rely on formulated milk.
Surprisingly researchers and numerous pediatricians have claimed otherwise. It doesn't matter if a baby drinks breastmilk or its arch nemesis, the formula, so long as the mother spends time loving and caring for the baby, they will bond. So ladies, have no fear. As long as you do what is best for your child, the bond will only solidify and grow stronger over time.
19 Fed Is Best
'Why is your baby obese? It must be the formula that the baby is consuming' or 'Why is your baby so scrawny? It must be the lack of nutrients in the breastmilk'.
So much pressure! There will be haters and naysayers no matter which side you are on and you will find yourself inundated with complaints either way.
And this is where many doctors have stepped in to help ease our guilt. It doesn't matter if you are unable to supply enough breastmilk or if you can't even pump a drop. What matters most is that your child is fully fed. After all, a full stomach makes for a happy heart.
18 they still Get Essential Nutrients
Many mothers worry whether their milk supply is sufficient enough for their little ones in terms of nutrient supply. Perhaps mummy hasn't been consuming enough iron for the breastmilk or maybe that's why the baby's fingers and toes are always cold.
Or maybe the formula isn't of top-notch quality. Maybe mummy should change to a different formula. Again, calm down. While studies have proven that breastmilk is indeed far more superior in terms of providing antibodies, long chain fatty acids, prebiotics, nucleotides and all the other weird sounding names of biology, it is also a fact that formulated milk have been manufactured to mimic the healthy properties of breastmilk.
In fact, the majority of essential nutrients required for a baby's healthy growth can all be found in formulated milk as well.
17 Mothers Will Lack Sleep
Well, this one's a no-brainer. It doesn't matter if you breastfeed (via direct latching or pumping) or feed the baby infant formula, every mother out there will agree on one thing.
No single mother on earth has ever had enough sleep especially in the first year of the baby's life.
I mean, go look in the mirror. The eyebags and dull flaky skin are no joke. Sure, maybe by using the formula you won't have to be tied up in pumping the breastmilk, or maybe by direct latching you won't have to spend time washing the bottles. But your baby will still keep waking you up. It's the same regardless of what kind of milk they consume.
16 Babies Will Grow either way
As we watch our little ones grow, all the debacle of which milk is better will fade away. Every month when we measure their weight, height, head circumference, we will notice that the numbers will increase exponentially.
So long as they are well fed, properly cared for and have no major health complications, they will grow.
By leaps and bounds too. And one day, it won't be just a baby looking back at us cooing and gurgling. It will be an annoyingly adorable tiny version of us barking orders for us to buy this, buy that, do this and do that.
15 Babies Will still Hit General Milestones
Surprise! Babies from all walks of life will generally hit their respected milestones as long as they have a sufficient intake of nutrients and minerals. And while studies have shown that kids who drink breastmilk generally turn out healthier than those who consume formulated milk, there is no denying that they will still result in a similar growth pattern.
Healthy and normal babies will all learn to sit, crawl, walk and talk according to the general milestones that the professionals have been laid out. Some will be faster while others slightly slower but the important thing is they will all meet the general milestones. It's not how fast they unlock a milestone but their journey. Cue to Miley Cyrus' 'The Climb'.
14 Babies Will Still Cry
This one is another no-brainer. Feeding your little one breastmilk or formulated milk will render the same result. The baby will still cry.
If they are hungry, they will cry -- simple as that. Stick a bottle into their mouth and they will start sucking away happily. They won't care whether it is breastmilk or formulated milk (or a mixture of both) as long as it is something that they are familiar with.
Cry babies will be cry babies. One cannot expect the baby to cry more or less if they are feeding on factory-produced milk than if they are consuming breastmilk.
13 They will still be nourished
As with nutrients, formulated milk has been produced to contain as many minerals as possible in relation to the minerals found in breastmilk. Thus, babies from all walks of life can benefit from the essential minerals for a healthy growth.
There is no doubt that breastmilk reigns supreme in the minerals department but generally, babies have been shown to fare just as well in mineral efficiency when they feed on formulated milk (much to the relief of nervous mothers worldwide. Phew!).
12 Mothers Will Still Feel Inadequate
It is without a doubt that the majority of mothers feel inadequate despite having tried their very best to provide for their baby. Breastfeeding moms often worry that they do not pump enough for their kids or that the food they consume might affect the quality of their milk.
Formula-feeding mums are often made to feel less than a woman for not being able to produce milk and shamed for feeding their children formulated milk instead.
It does not matter what moms do.
The peer pressure will always be there, breathing down their necks and constantly reminding them how poorly they are doing as a mom. But always remember that as long as you do your best, you will have nothing to be ashamed of.
Go ahead, give yourselves a pat on the back and recite the mantra Mind Over Matter (MOM).
11 Mothers Will Still criticize One Another
The pressure to perform and outshine one another is part of woman's nature. When we were younger, we would want to have a better lipstick than our friend's. When we got older, we became jealous when our co-worker got promoted over us. There would be catfights in the office while trying to climb the corporate ladder.
Even as neighbors, we would sometimes compare their houses to ours. And now, as mothers, we still unconsciously pit ourselves against other mothers. Perhaps if we see them breastfeeding in public we'd go tsk tsk tsk.
Of if we see them preparing the formula we'd give them a side look. Some openly shame other moms, while others do it in a discreet way. Either way, we should try to put a stop to judging one another. It's hard enough trying to stay awake and maintaining our sanity looking after the baby, let's all cut each other some slack why don't we?
10 Baby Will Still Go Potty
Some babies have watery stools, while others have a hard time forcing the poop out (word has it some mothers need to feed prune juice to help soften the stools or even physically pull out the stools from the baby's butt -- ewww.) A handful of others are able to poop just fine with no problems whatsoever.
There you have it. The results are the same and either way, the baby will poop. What goes in will eventually find its way out. And no, formulated milk will not churn out gold bars and breastmilk will not produce 50-carat diamonds out of your baby's poop.
9 Mothers-In-Law Will Still Nag
Say you're breastfeeding your baby. Mom-in-law will still find a way to get under your skin. 'No no no, you're feeding your baby the wrong way' or 'Are you sure the baby has enough to drink? His face looks so thin'.
"How about if you feed the baby formulated milk." Or even worse, 'The reason your child falls sick so often is because you're not feeding him breastmilk,' followed by, 'See? If you had eaten the pig intestines then you'd have more breastmilk and not have to top up with formula'.
Try as we may, our in-laws will always have something to say. The best way would be to force a smile and just nod our heads even as their words fall on deaf ears.
8 Everyone Else In The Neighborhood Will Still Nag
Not only that. Practically everyone else will have something to say about what and how we feed our babies. You'd think they would have held multiple PhDs on baby milk from the way they talk. Heck, some of the commenters don't even have kids. Most of the time they mean well and only want to try to help. Sure, our blood might boil at every 'advice' they give but let's just take their nagging concerns with a grain of salt and laugh off what we don't see fit. Hum dee dum....what did you just say? I can't hear you...
7 Babies Will Still Require Immunization
While babies generally benefit more from breastmilk (it is after all the undisputed baby food or God's gift as many would call it), they all still require immunizations at some point in their lives.
Yes, breastmilk may contain antibodies and strengthen the baby against many germs and viruses but breastmilk is by no means the elixir of life.
Hence it is vital to bring your babies for the required jabs as and when it is necessary. So yes, in the end, all babies need to take the jab or oral vaccine regardless of the milk they drink.
6 they Will Still Wake Up For Feeds At Night
Whether you feed your baby formulated milk or breastmilk, he or she will still wake you up at night for additional feeds.
What? Did you think that formula fed babies sleep better than breastfed ones? Just because the milk is thicker doesn't mean that the baby will be able to sleep through the night (well, occasionally a lucky one in a few hundred do.)
Whether your baby drinks from your girls or a bottle, be prepared for sleepless nights for the next year or so of your life.
5 Babies Will Still Have Wet Diapers
Because your baby drinks milk, he or she will definitely have wet diapers. Being fed breastmilk or infant formula will not alter the amount of diaper changes required because it is the amount of milk they drink that determine how much liquid comes out, not the type of milk.
So get ready your diapers, wet wipes and changing tables or mats because lady and gents, you will be changing your baby's diapers more than four times a day for the next few months.
4 and they Will Still Require Follow-Ups
No matter what the baby consumes, he or she will still need to undergo monthly checkups for the next year or so after birth. The doctor will need to update and assess the baby's weight, head circumference, length and check on the baby's physical and mental progress.
It matters not if the baby drinks from diamond encrusted bottles or sips from the queen's twin peaks, follow-ups will still be a necessity. So go ahead, book your appointments with the doctors and never ever skip any visits to the clinic with the little ones.
3 Babies Will Still Need Stimulants
Every child needs to be stimulated for growth. Give them a squeaky toy and they can stay fascinated by it for hours -- some even for days and weeks.
Engage them in colorful and vibrant objects and they will reward you with giggles while their brains absorb all kinds of information around them. Stimulants like colors, sounds, taste and smell help a child flourish.
But keep them cooped up in a dull grey room all day long and they will start turning into cranky wailing babies. And no, the type of milk one feeds the baby doesn't help in this situation.
2 they Will Still need More Than 10 Hours Of Sleep
Babies being well, babies need sleep and boy do they need a lot of it! For the first year of their lives, babies will require more than 10 hours of visitation to dreamland.
Give them milk, burp them and off they will go dozing off. So the effects of both breastmilk and formulated milk are pretty much the same. Both will see the babies needing some downtime before they wake up for the next feed. This is something that all moms look forward and agree to.
Sleep, baby, sleep.
1 and They Will Still want snuggles to Fall Asleep
While cocooned in our wombs, our babies would fall asleep to the gentle swaying of our walks and the muffled sounds and cushioning of the amniotic sac. Then, when they pop out of our 'ovens', they naturally have a hard time adjusting to a whole new environment.
The real challenge comes when we try to put them to bed. They still need to feel comfortable, safe and protected.
After feeding the little ones, mothers will generally pat, rock or even belt out a tune or two to put their babies to sleep. And yes, this goes out to all moms regardless of the source of milk.
References: Babycenter.com, Wikipedia, and Kidshealth.org.