Yes, we all have heard breast is best, but formula feeding is not a felony. Although it is important to tackle the obstacles facing moms who want to breastfeed, formula feeding remains a good nutritional alternative for babies.
Today we will go through some fundamentals of formula feeding.
One survey found around 42% of moms will use formula to feed their baby at some point in the first year.
The decision to breastfeed or bottle feed are complex and personal.
Let’s face it - mothers have been hit over the head with “breast is best” that if they don’t or can’t breastfeed, they are left feeling guilty or marginalized.
We all know the undisputed benefits of breastfeeding for moms and babies and want to find ways to support them BUT sometimes the risk to your emotional wellbeing outweighs the benefits.
If you are:
Choosing to exclusively breastfeed: Awesome! You are a good mom and love your child!
Choosing to exclusively pump milk: Awesome! You are a good mom and love your child!
Choosing to exclusively formula feed: Awesome! You are a good mom and love your child!
Mixing it up: Awesome! You are a good mom and love your child!
Figuring it out still: Awesome! You are a good mom and love your child!
Is the message coming through?
Yup…. Let me say it again……
You are awesome and a good mom who loves your child no matter which way you feed your baby!
Here are just some of the reasons mothers may use formula:
Health conditions: Some conditions or medications taken for health problems may not be compatible with breastfeeding or may affect production of breast milk, making it difficult to feed your baby enough.
Stress/Lack of support/ Exhaustion: These can all contribute to low milk production, which could stress you out more and then further decrease production and thus create a vicious cycle which results in a hungry baby and an emotionally stressed and unwell mommy.
Convenience/Flexibility:Sharing feeding duties with your partner and the fact that formula fed babies go longer between feedings (because formula is less digestible than breast milk) equals more time to figure out all the other transitions of motherhood! Also, there's the plus of not needing to pump or to schedule work or other obligations and activities around the baby's feeding schedule.
Personal Comfort: Many moms feel uncomfortable with breastfeeding at the start and get used to it with the proper support, information and practice...but some moms just can’t get in the comfort zone. And that’s Okay- no judgment here!
Formula is made to mimic mother’s milk (say that fast 3 times!) using a complex combination of proteins, fats, sugars and vitamins. They even contain some vitamins and nutrients that breastfed babies would need supplements for such as Iron and vitamin D.
The only thing it does not contain is antibodies… but of course we all have a large supply of hand sanitizer now!
Formula comes in three forms. There is no best one, just comes down to ease, convenience and cost.
The main difference among infant formulas is their protein base.
Remember no brand or type of infant formula is best for all babies. When you find a formula that your baby likes, use it! Why mess with a good thing?
Talk to your baby’s health care provider to guide you to choose the best type of formula for your baby. If your baby has gas, a rash, diarrhea or vomiting, call your baby’s health care provider, as these may be signs that you may need to try different formulas.
Of course, breastfeeding is a great way to feed your baby. Not only is it free but it has health benefits for both you and your baby. We should continue to support the needs of breastfeeding moms.
But breast is not always the best for all moms….especially if it takes a toll on your emotional wellbeing.
Remember this as you pour/mix the formula for the next feed:
You are a good mom and love your child!
*MaternalWell is here with you no matter what journey you are on. Use our
text support for general questions or our maternal specialist can be
helpful if you are figuring things out or have feelings of guilt
surrounding formula feeding.