Breastfeeding and formula-feeding has been debated for quite sometime. Of course, breastfeeding is championed as the best nutrition for your baby supported by many health professionals and associations, advocating for mothers to choose breastfeeding over formula milk.
It is undeniable that breastmilk have tons of benefit on the baby’s health and development but let’s not forget the struggles that some mothers have to face in order to breastfeed their children. We understand that some mothers may feel down for not being able to provide breastmilk for their baby but formula milk is not the villain some people made it out to be.
What Is Formula Milk?
Formula milk, which is also known as infant formula or baby formula, is mainly made of cow’s milk. The composition of the milk is carefully altered so that it fits the nourishment needs of your baby. Newborns, for example, have immature digestive system which made them unable to digest most foods and drinks. This is why formula milk has multiple varieties following the development of your baby and not just one milk for all stages.
Types of Formula Milk.
Your newborn baby is still developing not just its digestive system but many other of its body functions. As your baby grows, their nourishment needs may also grow. You may want to consider a change of formula milk once your baby reach a certain stage. One of the best thing about breastfeeding is how you do not have to worry about this because your body naturally adjusts to your baby’s needs.
Stage 1: Newborn
Formula milk made for this stage is suitable for your baby to consume from birth. It is also known as first infant formula because it is the first and only nourishment your baby needs until they are ready to be introduce to complementary foods.
There are also other types of infant formula that you can use for newborns. Some baby’s may have a medical condition that does not allow them to feed on cow’s milk. Your medical provider will recommend you some of these formulas if your baby requires them.
- Goat’s Milk Formula
- Hypoallergenic Formula
- Lactose-free Formula
Stage 2: Toddler
Stage 2 formulas are made for toddlers aged 1 year old and older. The difference between the two stages of infant formula is the type of protein base they used. In stage 1, it uses whey protein which is said to be easier digested. In stage 2, the formula uses casein protein which will make your baby feel fuller. That being said, the nutrients in these two stages are generally the same so changing the formula from stage 1 to stage 2 is only optional.
These infant formulas listed below are only suitable to be taken once your baby is older than 6 months old. So, when buying infant formula, do make sure to read the label carefully.
- Follow-On Formula
- Soy Formula
Formula Milk Properties.
Formula milk are made to mimic the properties and benefits of breastmilk. All baby formula is carefully regulated, however, different brands may have different composition, in other words a different formula.
In general, a baby formula would contain:
Which Formula Milk Is Best For Your Baby?
There’s a lot of option to choose from when it comes to infant formula. So how would you know it is the best for your baby?
For a start, you can ask your pediatrician if your baby requires any specific nutrients. For example, if your baby seems to lack in iron, you should try looking for formulas that is enriched with iron. Knowing if your baby is allergic to any ingredients in a formula should also be one of the first thing you need to determine. You can also ask your pediatrician for recommendation on which formula milk to use.
How Much Milk Should I Give When Using Formula Milk?
In the first few days after birth you may need to feed your baby every 2 to 3 hours with each feeding about 25-50ml of baby formula. If your baby seems to need more, you can give them more.
After a week or so, you can observe that the time between feedings has increases. This is because as your baby grows, they can consume more therefore needing less feedings. By this time, your baby now requires feedings for every 3-4 hours.
Note: Take note of your baby’s fullness cues. Stop when your baby says so, be it after a small amount or large amount.
6-12 Months Old
By this age, your baby can already be introduced to solid food. So they would require less milk feedings. If you have yet to introduced them to solid food, they may require about 5-6 feedings per day.
1-2 Years Old
Your baby should be able to consume non-formula cows milk (regular milk) by now. You can transition from formula milk to regular milk gradually by introducing regular milk in small amounts and decreasing formula milk amounts.
Pros and Cons of Bottle Feeding.
1.Bonding During Feeding Time
Feeding time is known to be a good time to bond with the baby. With bottle-feeding, every one now has a chance to bond with the baby during feeding time.
2.Need Less Feeding
Breastmilk is easier to be digested by babies compared to formula milk. As a result, babies who are fed breastmilk becomes hungry faster than those who are bottle-fed. Therefore, if you feed your baby formula milk, your baby would require less feeding compared to breastfeeding.
3.Can Be Measured
Using bottle-feeding, you can easily tell how much your baby is consuming. This means, you can detect if your baby is eating well or if they are receiving adequate amount of nourishment.
Formula milk takes time to prepare. It requires you to mix the the formula with the right amount. You also have to be mindful of the water temperature. If you are planning to go anywhere, you have to bring along a bag full of all the necessary ingredients to whip up a bottle of milk.
2.Can Be Costly
Formula milk can be expensive. The cheapest in the market would cost you about RM30. For newborns, you would need to provide about 6-8 feedings per day. Some parents say a tin of formula milk only last them a week but on average, you may need to purchase about 2 tins per month.
3.Does Not Provide Protection
Not all nutrients found in breastmilk can be found in infant formula. Nutrients, such as antibodies, helps enforce your little ones’ immunity system and protects them from infections and diseases. So, if compared to breast-fed babies, your baby may have less protection from illness.
Both ways of feeding has its own pros and cons. In this journey, the best thing for the baby is to get well-nourished with proper feeding no matter whether it is breastmilk or formula milk!