One of the most perplexing decisions new parents face is whether to breastfeed or use formula with their infant. This is made more difficult when parents have to sift through the massive amount of information available on the internet. In the end, the decision to breastfeed or use formula is a personal one.
Health experts believe breastfeeding is the best possible source of nutrition for infants. However, certain circumstances can make breastfeeding impractical and even impossible. In these cases, infant formula is a great substitute for breastfeeding. It contains all of the nutrients that babies require to thrive.
While expectant mothers are commonly told breastfeeding is the best way to bond with their newborn, it is not necessarily true. Creating special bonds with your infant and feeding, regardless of the method, will certainly bring you closer together.
Finding the best pump and formula recommendations, whether you're breastfeeding or using the formula, is critical to enjoying this bonding time with your baby.
Breast pumps are incredibly useful to breastfeeding mothers. Pumps allow you to collect milk even when the baby is not feeding and store it for later use. Using a breast pump also prevents the awful pain, and possible infections, like mastitis, linked to an event called breast engorgement. Breast engorgement can happen even if you do not choose to breastfeed. However, it will eventually subside if you are not actively breastfeeding.
Manual Breast Pumps
A manual breast pump works without electricity. The manual pump is operated by placing the pump over the breast and using your other hand to 'pump' the lever to create suction. For hesitant breastfeeding mothers, the hand pump's natural suction is more comfortable. Because the pump creates suction with your hand, it can be used on one breast while your baby is breastfed on the other. Breast pumps that are operated by hand are small, portable, and simple to clean. When new mothers are shopping for breast pumps, these pumps are frequently overlooked, but they are a cost-effective and simple pumping solution.
Haakaa Manual Breast Pump is 100% food-grade silicone, which is extra-soft and skin-friendly. This pump is inexpensive compared to other pumps (under $20) and easy to clean.
Electric Breast Pumps
An electric breast pump works through a power source, such as an outlet or a battery. The standard pump works with either single or double breast use. The difference between this method and the manual breast pump is that instead of manually pumping it to create suction, the suction comes from the power source. When you have a free hand, use an electric breast pump to do something else or just sit back and relax for a few minutes. In general, these models are more expensive than manual models. However, there are some excellent options available at reasonable prices.
The Bellababy double electric breastfeeding pumps are lightweight and portable. This model comes with a reasonable price tag of around $60. Includes two pieces for adapting milk bags, a large capacity battery, a USB adapter for the power supply, and several storage options. This is the perfect option for anyone on the go.
Freezing extra breast milk is an excellent option for breastfeeding mothers. Whether you need more flexibility or just want it on hand for emergencies, freezing is the safest storage method. Breast milk freezer bags are specifically designed for safe storage up to a full year when properly prepped. They're not only free of BPA and BPS, but they're also sterilized and ready to use right out of the box. When sterilized again, most bags can be reused. Milk can be stored flat and frozen, allowing for maximum storage efficiency.
Lanisinoh breast milk freezer bags come in a box of 100 bags at a reasonable price. They have reinforced side seals and easy-to-write labels, along with double locking seals at the top. These freezer bags also lay flat to increase the amount you can easily fit into storage. They can also be directly connected to your pump with an adapter.
During breastfeeding, it is common to have leakage from your breasts between feeding or pumping. It can be triggered by hearing your baby cry, when your breasts become engorged, during sexual intimacy, or for seemingly no reason at all. Nursing pads—also referred to as nipple or breast pads, are a must-have accessory for breastfeeding moms. They are fitted into your bra and absorb any breast leakage. Using them while nursing will prevent stains on your clothing and alleviate anxiety about visible milk marks.
Lansinoh Stay Dry nursing pads are disposable and individually wrapped for hygienic purposes. They have a waterproof outer lining and are specially designed to disperse moisture throughout the entire pad to increase absorbency. The pads are created from materials that do not irritate and keep moisture from sitting on the skin.
During the first six months of life, your baby will require only breast milk or formula to meet all of his or her nutritional requirements. When selecting a formula, keep in mind that it should be fortified with iron to ensure that it meets their daily requirements for the nutrient. There are three different types of formula bases to meet the digestive needs of each baby.
Cow Milk-Based Formula
Cow milk-based formula uses real cow milk treated with heat and other processes that make milk itself safe for a baby’s tummy. This type of formula contains both iron and a good amount of lactose found in breast milk.
Simply Organic by Enfamil infant formula is a cow milk-based formula naturally easy to digest, and contains the A2 proteins similar to those found in breast milk. It also contains the recommended amount of DHA, an omega-3 fatty acid, necessary for brain development.
Extensively Hydrolyzed Formula
Because the proteins are broken down into much smaller parts, the extensively hydrolyzed formula is referred to as a "predigested" formula. An extensively hydrolyzed formula is a great alternative if your baby has allergies or any other health condition that makes traditional formula digestion difficult.
Gerber Good Start Extensive HA formula is CMPA allergy-friendly. It is specifically designed to be easy to digest for babies with allergies or health conditions that can cause digestive issues with traditional formulas.
Soy-based formula is a good alternative to a traditional formula if your baby is lactose intolerant. Because it contains a different combination of protein and carbohydrates than cow-based formula, soy-based formula differs from the cow-based formula. When your baby doesn't respond well to the traditional formula, your doctor may recommend switching to soy-based formula.
Dairy and lactose-free Enfamil Prosobee Simply Plant-Based infant formula is fortified with iron and is dairy and lactose-free. It also includes the recommended amount of DHA for proper brain development, as well as other vitamins and minerals. It's especially beneficial for infants who have trouble with most formulas in terms of reducing gas and crying.
Pro’s & Con’s
Both the mother and the child can benefit from nursing. It provides ideal nutrition as well as a one-of-a-kind bonding experience that many mothers values. However, it also has a number of well-known advantages, including:
- Skin-to-skin bonding
- A stronger immune system
- Easier digestion
- Lower costs
- The burning of calories
- Easier digestion for baby
- Less mess during night feedings and when it comes to bottle washing
Breastfeeding can be easy from the beginning for some mothers, but can take a while for others to adjust—whether that be from latching techniques, exposure, or milk supply. Moms and babies need plenty of patience to get used to the routine of breastfeeding. Con's can include:
- Pain tolerance from latching and possible chafing
- Proper dieting
- Time commitment
- Only mom can feed the baby without the help of a pump
If your experience leans closer to the con list, then formula may be the better option for you. The formula comes in many options, with vitamins and other nutrients that your breast milk may not be providing full, depending on your case. Maybe you're just not producing enough milk; that's fine; we've all been there. If that's the case, the convenience of a full tub of powder or a ready-to-feed bottle might be exactly what you need to relax.
After the bottles are prepared, a formula-feeding mother can leave her baby with a partner or caregiver and rest assured that her baby's feedings will be taken care of. There's no need to breastfeed or plan work or other commitments around the baby's feeding schedule.
The biggest con for formula feeding parents can be the cost. As a baby grows, he or she will eat more and more, and the cost of formula can add up quickly. The formula also has the tendency to cause constipation and gas; you’ll need to be wary if constipation becomes a consistent problem as a change in formula may be necessary.
It can be difficult to decide how you will feed your baby. You'll really only know what's best for your family once your baby arrives, whether it's breastfeeding, pumping, or formula feeding.
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