Choosing How to Feed Your Baby
As a parent, deciding how you will feed your baby is one of the most important decisions you will make. There is a big difference between breastfeeding and formula feeding your baby.
Breastfeeding is the recommended and healthiest way to feed your baby.
Breastfeeding matters to your baby, because breastfeeding:
- has the right mix of nutrients;
- protects your baby from many infections and illnesses;
- changes at every feeding to meet the changing needs of your baby;
- lets your baby eat when hungry and stop when satisfied;
- helps your baby’s jaw to develop properly; and
- helps your baby’s brain to develop properly.
Breastfeeding matters to you, because breastfeeding:
- is convenient, the milk is always the right temperature and available anytime;
- controls bleeding after your baby is born;
- helps you and your baby to bond;
- slows down the return of your period;
- can prevent breast cancer;
- may reduce your chance of getting diabetes and ovarian cancer;
- is environmentally friendly; and
- is free.
The longer you breastfeed, the more you protect your baby’s health and your own.
Infant formula provides nutrients, but unlike breast milk, formula does not provide benefits for baby’s immunity, development and health.
Although it can be, infant formula is not always safe. Powdered formula may have bacteria that can cause serious illnesses.
Infants fed infant formula may be sick more often with:
- ear, chest and bladder infections; or with
- upsets of the stomach and gut, causing diarrhea or later bowel problems.
Infants fed infant formula are at higher risk of:
- Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) or crib death;
- poorer brain development and behavioural problems; and
- childhood cancers and diabetes.
Mothers will not get the benefits of breastfeeding.
There is a cost for infant formula, bottles and nipples. Plus it takes time to clean and sterilize bottles, nipples and utensils.