Should I Formula Feed?

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Commercially prepared infant formulas are a nutritious alternative to breast milk. Although they cannot be an exact replica of the natural breast milk, they are produced under hygienic conditions and fortified with the optimum mix of proteins, vitamins, fats and sugars. They are engineered nutritionally to nourish the baby and provide essential nutrients in the right balance for proper growth and development of the newborn. They are easily digestible, although not as much as the breastmilk.

Should I bottle feed?

Realities of Formula Feeding

  • Even though, manufacturers of Formula milk strive to mimic the breastmilk, they still fall short in many areas. For instance, formula lack natural growth factor, enzymes, hormones, antibodies, anti-inflammatory factors, probiotics and prebiotics that abound in breastmilk. Thus bottle fed babies lack the natural protection or immunity passed on from mother to child through breastfeeding.
  • Breast milk is always available, already-made and ready to be served at the right temperature whilst formula feeding involves some degree of work (identifying and buying the right milk, washing and sterilizing bottles, getting the water for the mixing ready, mixing the meal, washing and sterilizing the bottle for next feed). If the baby eats small portions at frequent intervals as some babies do, within a day, this routine of bottle feeding can be quite tasking.
  • High risk of infection (such as diarrhea) to the baby through improper storage of the milk, contaminated feeding utensils, water or hands of the caregivers. This can be averted if special care is taken to wash the utensils thoroughly and sterilized regularly in warm dilute chlorine water.
  • Some babies constipate when bottle fed. This is because formula milk are not pre-digested as breast milk. Other babies tend to swallow gas while sucking an improperly fitted bottle teat. And it does seem that gassy stomach increases the intensity of colic in newborn.
  • Formula milk are costlier than normal milk. It can really affect the family’s savings as healthy babies gulp down an average of I tin of milk in 2-3 days. One simple way to help you appreciate how much you have spent so far in formula feeding is this: save and stack the tins of the milk, one over another for a period of time, e.g. a year….you will notice that it has already built a skyscraper. Well, while this may be an issue in low to middle income households, but inconsequential for many affluent families.
  • Formula feeding isn’t funny at nights. An already tired mother will have to stand up, wash hands, reach out to the milk, mix, shake, check the temperature and feed. That is not the end of the story because the baby will still wake up again for another meal. This challenge can be dealt with if the nursing mother has help and a support system.

    Photo Credit: Pixabay Photos

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