What are the benefits of breastfeeding, and the disadvantages of formula feeding?
Breastfeeding provides babies with essential nutrition they need to grow and develop healthily. It also has benefits for the mothers!
Benefits of breastfeeding for babies
Breastmilk provides the right balance of nutrients for your baby to grow and develop healthily. Babies can easily digest breastmilk from which they obtain water, carbohydrate, protein, fat, minerals, vitamins and iron. The carbohydrates and protein in breastmilk give your baby energy, and help your baby to grow.
Breastmilk also contains Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids, which help your baby’s brain and vision development. Most importantly, your antibodies are passed on to your baby through your breastmilk, which helps to build up your baby’s immune system to fight against infections.
Without a doubt, breastmilk is considered the gold standard for infant nutrition.
Benefis of breastfeeding for mothers
Breastfeeding is not only beneficial to your babies, but also beneficial to you! For one, breastfeeding helps you to bond with your baby. As your baby breastfeeds, he or she responds to your smells and how you feel, and both you and your baby feel closer to each other.
Breastfeeding also helps you to lose your pregnancy weight. This is because producing breastmilk requires a lot of energy, which helps you burn calories and shed the weight. Your body also releases a hormone called oxytocin that helps to shrink your uterus.
Breastfeeding is also more economical in the long run compared to formula feeding. Breastmilk is free, while formula can be costly, and your baby is less likely to fall sick on breastmilk than on formula milk, so you have a healthier baby.
Disadvantages of formula feeding
Breastmilk you produce that is tailor-made for your baby will always be more beneficial to your baby than formula milk. It also contains antibodies from you that no formula milk can recreate. In fact, formula milk can only be superficially similar to your breastmilk.
If you give birth in the hospital, you may be given free formula milk. Supplementing breastfeeding with formula is usually discouraged. Keep in mind that you are given this formula milk to persuade you to buy it in the future. The advertised benefits of formula milk are unlikely to trump the real benefits that your breastmilk gives to your baby.
If you are worried about not having enough breastmilk for your baby or have other concerns about breastfeeding your baby, do consult the lactation consultants at the hospital for the best ways for your baby to latch on feed on your breastmilk and get all the advice you need to make you feel confident and comfortable breastfeeding.