What to Feed Your Baby: Breastfeeding vs. Formula Feeding

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Choosing between breastfeeding or formula feeding a baby is one of the biggest decisions facing expectant parents.

As one might expect, health experts say that breast milk is the best nutritional choice for infants. Health organizations such as the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the American Medical Association (AMA), and the World Health Organization (WHO) all recommend breastfeeding.

However, breastfeeding may not be possible for all parents. And based on lifestyle, medical situations, and even comfort level, parents might want or need to formula feed their infant.

If you are facing this decision and were wondering how formula stacks up to breast milk, here are some comparisons of the two.

Ease of Digestion

Breast milk is easily digested by a newborn, as it is naturally produced specifically for them. This means that breastfed infants tend to have less difficulty with digestion than formula-fed babies, having fewer bouts of diarrhea, gassiness, or constipation.


Formula is really pricy and the cost will quickly add up. On top of that, you also have to factor in the cost of bottles, nipples and other supplies that you may need.

Breast milk itself doesn’t cost a cent. However, if you will need to pump so that your baby will have milk while you’re at work or elsewhere, you have to factor in the cost of a breast pump, bottles, nipples, and other supplies.

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Health Benefits

Both breast milk and formula will provide energy, hydration, and nutrients that a newborn requires to grow.

Breast milk contains antibodies and other beneficial components that pass from a mother to her baby, strengthening the immune system, supporting the baby’s digestive health, and helping brain development.

Formula does not contain any of the antibodies found in breastmilk, but it does include vitamin D, which is not found in breastmilk. It is recommended by the AAP that exclusively-breastfed newborns be given vitamin D supplements.

Convenience and Flexibility

With breast milk, you never have to worry about running to the store when you run out of formula. Breast milk is always fresh, and available whenever baby needs it. However, if you’re going to be away from your baby, you’ll have to pump and store milk.

It is easier for both parents to share feeding duties when formula feeding. And if you plan on being away from your baby, you don’t have to worry about how much milk to pump before leaving them with a caregiver.

Furniture Wall Straps

Even if your child can’t walk yet, furniture straps for dressers, armoires, bookcases and any other tippable furniture are necessary. They are very inexpensive and can keep things from tipping over on your child. Even crawling babies like to try to pull themselves up on things and this can quickly lead to a severe accidental injury or worse.

Portable Play Yard

As a mom, having one of these saved my sanity on more than one occasion! They allow you to keep your child to a much more confined space which allows you to keep a better eye on them even when you are busy. I often used my portable play yard in the dining area which I could see from the kitchen.

Trying to cook dinner and keep an eye on my little one seemed next to impossible until I invested in one. This also gave me the peace of mind that my son wouldn’t sneak in around my oven or stovetop while they were hot. Look for portable ones that are easy to assemble (or simply ‘pop-up’), lightweight and will fit in your vehicle.

They are even more handy to have when visiting friends or family that won’t necessarily have a child-proof home.

Outlet Covers

Aside from crawling up on things and opening things, curious toddlers also like to stick things in places. Putting the wrong thing into an outlet can lead to death. Although they make cheap, very standard outlet covers, I’d invest in some a little more child-proof than the kinds that simply stick into the outlet prongs and have a face on them.

Safety first makes deluxe outlet covers that are harder to remove, but much safer. If the ones you choose are easy to remove, your child will likely be able to remove them as well. You pick up a set of 32 deluxe covers for right around $16.00.

Time Commitment

Breastfed babies eat more often than babies who take formula, since breast milk digests quicker. This means that mom will find herself in demand every couple of hours, especially during the first few weeks.

Formula-fed babies eat a little less often, but formula feeding requires planning and organization to make sure that you have everything ready when you need it.