In the “mommy wars” there’s one battle that seems to be the toughest: breastfeeding versus formula.
Many people insist that breast is best. Others swear by formula. But most of us land on the idea that fed is best. I believe that every mom has to do what’s right for her and her children. Sometimes that’s breast, sometimes that’s formula. And it may differ between your own kids!
But for all you new moms, I’m going to go over the pros and cons of breast and formula. We’ll start with breastfeeding today and cover formula next time.
Pro: It’s free!
Ok, technically yes, breast milk is free. But there are costs that go along with it, like a pump if you will be away from baby for any period of time, breast pads, and nursing friendly clothes. There may be additional expenses if you struggle with supply or latch – you may need to visit a lactation consultant (sometimes covered by insurance – check your coverage to find out).
Pro: Breast milk changes with your baby.
One of the most incredible things about breast milk is how it adjusts to meet your baby’s specific needs. The milk you produce in the first few weeks is dramatically different than your milk at month 4 or 8 or 12. Your body knows exactly what baby needs, so you don’t have to adjust anything.
Pro: Breast milk can keep your baby from getting sick
Yes, breast milk can help you baby avoid catching what you have! Your body produces antibodies and passes them on through your milk. Which is why doctors strongly encourage women to continue breastfeeding when sick most of the time.
Con: It can be uncomfortable or downright painful for some women.
Breastfeeding comes incredibly easy for some women, while others struggle. Some babies have tongue-ties that can cause problems. Some women have inverted nipples that make things difficult. Or sometimes things just aren’t working correctly. Whatever the reason, breastfeeding can hurt. However, getting help from a lactation consultant can often solve the problem!
Con: It isn’t always easy, especially for working moms.
Even if it isn’t painful, breastfeeding can be hard. Especially in those first few weeks when it feels like all you are doing is breastfeeding! And for moms who work outside the home it can be even more difficult. They’re balancing pumping and nursing, and trying to make sure they have enough saved up for when they are away from their baby.
Con: Pumping sucks.
Literally. Pumping can be super uncomfortable, and for some women it simply isn’t very effective. Plus you have to deal with keeping all the parts clean and sanitized, keeping your bags of milk labeled and cold and stored correctly. And then there’s the problem many working women face: where to pump? Not all workplaces have a good set up for pumping moms, making it even harder.
The truth is that for some women, breast is best because it’s easiest. But if you struggle with breastfeeding, it might not be best for you and your little one. That’s what formula is for!