“Feed him only breast milk …” a mommy next door would say.
“No, it is alright to give him formula milk…” another would retort. “Look at Jane’s baby… he’s completely on formula milk and chubbier than most kids around.”
No wonder, this would leave you, a young mother, so confused that you cannot just stop thinking whether your satisfaction of having successfully fought through the pain of labor turned wrong. Based on your hormones and health conditions, some may end up feeling their breasts full and others would feel them quite empty. Do not get confused searching for which is healthier, just continue reading this.
1. Week 1
Babies would lose at least 7-10% of their extra fluid weight soon after their birth which is quite normal. Researchers have found that the babies fed on breast milk lose more weight than the babies fed on formula milk. While the formula feed is always in the proper measure, the breast milk supply would be low during the initial days. But relax, your baby would soon gain more weight than at the time of birth within a span of just two weeks whether on formula or on breast.
2. 1- 3 months
Babies start feeding regularly as per their need, irrespective of whether they are put on breastfeed or formula. Formulas are also as much loaded with all the nutrients as much as breast milk. Hence, the growth rate of the babies fed on breast milk and formula are equal. Researchers have mapped their age-wise activities also as the same.
3. 6-12 months
After six months, your baby needs a surplus of nutrients for their growth. We start putting them on solid foods as well. The transition from nipples to spoons is not an easy task for both babies and their young mothers. After weaning your baby off, he will soon reduce weight. A potent reason for this is that breast milk after six months is incapable of providing all the nutrients that your baby requires. This affects their weight gain.
It is not the case with babies who are fed on formula. The babies fed on formula have almost all the nutrients required as per their body needs, as it is very scientifically prepared catering to the various age groups. The growth and weight gain is much more balanced and steady in the case of formula-fed babies. They also start enjoying solid food easier.
For weight gain and systematic growth of health, your baby needs proteins and carbs. The slow introduction of liquids like pureed fruits and vegetables and semi-solid iron rich cereals is essential for their strong bones and sharper brain development. Cow’s milk is hard for them to digest and hence, you may feed them unsweetened yogurt, which has more calcium than milk.
Breast milk is a rich supplement of antibodies, which helps boost your baby’s immune system. Also, the incapability of the infant’s digestive system to break down some nutrients and fats in the formula milk is likely to cause diarrhea.
Bottle-fed babies are also likely to fall sick soon if the bottle is not hygienically maintained and also if the amount of formula and water (in case of manual mixing) is not taken in the prescribed proportion.
Breast-feeding saves young mothers lots of time which would be otherwise devoted to the cleaning and sterilizing of the feeding bottles. Reducing the wastage of milk should also be a concern.
And, do not worry that your baby would not be as smart as you if you have not breastfed him/ her. Remember! Your intelligence, beauty, and smartness pass through your genes and not through your breasts. To conclude, Breast is Best but, Formulas are also not a Test.