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January 10, 2011

Is Breast Best or Formula Faster?

Opening this up to debate in the Parent Club...

Is Breast Best or Formula Faster?

A hot topic amongst new parents - I know. But I also know its a personal choice - and one that external parties (family, friends, the internetz) must respect (so let's respect ok).

I have known many Moms who planned for breastfeeding only to have a roadblock appear. The dissapointment. The emotional pull ("am I a bad mother if I can't make milk for my own child?"). The challenges of finger feeding and latching and pumping.

There are Moms who chose not to breastfeed because it just isn't their thing. There
are certain cultures and generations where breastfeeding just isn't done.

Studies do show that breastfeeding is best for one's child. It creates immunities and such. Plus, it's always the right tempreture.

But for those who chose (or don't chose must must go with) forumla - there is the decision of which "brand" is the right one.

I direct you to a post by Curious Dad (a Canadian) which compared "brands" from a cost and nutritional standpoint: Store Brand Formula

What think you about Breast Vs. Formula?

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At January 11, 2011 at 11:21 a.m. , Anonymous Danielle said...

It will always be a hearty debate. I couldn't because of a breast reduction. It was hard to lug all the bottles around. I don't know now if I would wait on the surgery until I was older. Maybe I wouldn't have been here if I didn't.
We need to support women for their unique selves and not judge by their choices. There are so many reasons to go either way. Keeping your kid fed is what matters at the end of the day.
Danielle Christopher

At January 11, 2011 at 11:22 a.m. , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'll declare my personal bias at the outset, as being strongly in favour of breasfeeding. And most of the problems I've seen women encounter could have been helped by competent lactation consultants (unfortunately there are many out there who don't actually know the research and who give up too soon).

That being said, whichever brand you choose, please always make sure to check the batch/lot numbers on the cases you buy and keep updated on recalls. They don't necessarily happen often, but when they do, they can be urgent.

At January 11, 2011 at 11:42 a.m. , Blogger Parent Club said...

I agree that keeping the baby's belly full is the main responsibility of the parent - whether by organic or man-made means.

The point to consult a lactation consultant is a good one bc many women may give up breastfeeding bc of frustration. Good to know there are professionals educated to help.

At January 12, 2011 at 12:20 p.m. , Blogger edmontonjb said...

For me, breastfeeding was the best choice but I think expecting and new moms are often misguided into thinking it will come naturally and be easy. I think pregnant women should be given information to prepare them for the typical problems faced by breastfeeding moms - both physical and social.

When my youngest son was a baby, we were out one day and I had a bottle of expressed milk with us and a woman actually commented that I should be breastfeeding. I didn't even bother telling her that it was breastmilk because her (ignorant)opinion really didn't matter to me but I can imagine how I would have felt if I had been formula feeding!

I don't think anyone should be judged about their choice to feed their child as they see fit. It seems that breastfeeding women are shamed into hiding away to feed their child when they're out in public and formula-feeding moms are looked down on as not making the best choice for their baby. There's no winning in the court of public opinion.

At January 14, 2011 at 8:47 a.m. , Blogger michelle said...

OP- I have never heard of a culture that does not bf. Which one(s) do not? Also, it's really not generations that do not bf. It's only a few decades ago that breastfeeding dropped to such a low rate due to the advice from the medical system (which was and still is strongly influenced by the formula industry).

I agree with edmontonjb that all too often new mom's expect nursing to be an easy process. In the hospital, nurses are required to ensure that the mother has a proper latch, and is aware that the new baby will lose weight, that milk does not come in right away, and that a proper latch will correct most pain issues. Unfortunately, this information is not always conveyed to the client, or remembered when issues arise once at home with new baby.

Women worry that their baby is not getting enough milk. Nipple soreness begins and mother can't get a proper latch. Bleeding or infection of the nipple scares the new mother away from breastfeeding. The solution to all these very common issues is to form a proper latch and keep on breastfeeding- not to switch to synthetic powder.

For those mothers who can truly not breastfeed due to physical barriers, donated breast milk should be considered, because it contains components that we are not able to reproduce in formula. For mothers who do not use donated milk, and do use formula, do not feel ashamed!
We do have to recognize that using formula is not a movement or a better choice no matter the circumstances. It is simply a last resort, and should be treated as such.

I strongly believe that women should try breastfeeding despite cultural, religious, emotional, and convenience factors. When a woman has a baby, she signs up to give the baby the best she can, even if it's inconvenient. This is a health topic we're dealing with, not a personal preference issue.

There should be a solid 2 weeks of postpartum home visits for mothers to ensure proper breastfeeding, and overall emotional and physical health of the mother and child. Mothers need a public nurse, or midwife coming to their environments and correcting any issues, and answering any questions to reduce the unnecessary amount of formula use.


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