Breastfeeding vs. Formula: When baby formula is a tough but necessary decision

Breastfeeding has always been considered the best nutritional option for a newborn. Deciding on how to feed an infant it is important to understand what is in breast milk and formula, how they differ, and how they affect the baby’s health and sleep. If for some reason breastfeeding doesn’t work for you, bottle-feeding is the way out, however, you should do this from the first days of the kid’s life, because then it will be easier for a child to adapt to breast milk substitutes.

Even though in some aspects, the formula is quite similar to breast milk and it contains nutrients and energetically valuable ingredients, breast milk is the product of millions of years of evolution that has made it an ideal food for babies. It is much more complex in content as it contributes to the formation of the multiplex brain, unique digestive, and immune systems. For a baby to grow healthy with any diet, the most important is to select the most appropriate feeding that matches its needs.

What are the contents of breast milk?

One of the greatest advantages of breast milk over formula is that it adapts to the changing needs of a child. For example, when a baby gets sick, breast milk builds up white blood cells and antibodies to fight the infection. Every drop contains thousands of beneficial ingredients, including:

  • antibodies to protect against disease
  • hormones to stimulate a healthy appetite
  • stem cells that contribute to the development of organs
  • leukocytes to fight infections
  • beneficial bacteria that protect the baby’s digestive system
  • prebiotics maintain a healthy microflora in the gastrointestinal tract
  • long-chain fatty acids for the development of the brain, nervous system, and vision
  • enzymes to strengthen the digestive and immune systems
  • nucleotides and hormones that promote healthy sleep patterns

What is infant formula made of?

The contents of baby food may vary depending on the country manufacturer, but it is typically made from processed skimmed cow milk with added emulsifiers and stabilizers to make it easier to mix with water. The contents may also include:

  • lactose (a natural sugar) and/or other sweeteners such as corn syrup, fructose, or maltodextrin
  • vegetable oils such as palm, rapeseed, coconut, sunflower, or soybean
  • fatty acids usually based on fish oil
  • vitamins and minerals of plant and animal origin
  • some enzymes and amino acids
  • probiotics

It is also worth noting that the other types of formula, for example, hypoallergenic, goat milk, or soy-based may have different contents. For example, HiPP HA Pre is made based on hydrolyzed milk protein which means it is intended for babies who are at risk of allergies. It also contains prebiotics and probiotics, omega 3 and 6, iron, vitamins A, D, C for a healthy immune system. What’s even more, such formulas can also be used when changing from breastfeeding to bottle-feeding. You can find HiPP HA PRE formula on the website

Breast milk or formula: health benefits

The bottle-fed child sleeps well at night and rarely wakes up. The fact is that it takes a long time to digest formula than breast milk, and therefore a kid does not feel hunger for a long time. This is a big plus of bottle-feeding. In case of milk intolerance or allergies, a formula can be used as a treatment(only after pediatrician prescription). Bottle-feeding provides a possibility of changing the caloric intake for premature infants.

Breast milk is the natural, healthy feeding option. It is the most balanced nutrition in terms of proteins, fats, carbohydrates, and micronutrients. The process of breastfeeding has a positive psychological impact both on a baby and mother.

There is a myth that breastfed babies have a stronger immunity system, however, the bottle-fed baby’s immune system could be the same. The preventive effect of mother’s milk for some infectious diseases certainly exists. But in fact, many other causes unrelated to nutrition affect the child’s immunity.

When change is required?

It depends on the correctly chosen product how easy it will be to start bottle-feeding. The reasons for changing from breastfeeding to bottle-feeding can be very different:

  • individual intolerance (some children are allergic to components contained in breast milk)
  • if a kid gains weight poor then there is a need to supplement it with formula or a complete transition to it
  • termination of lactation in a mother
  • personal desire

Replacing from one diet to another should also be done carefully. Sometimes it takes from a week to a month for a kid to get used to the new diet. Do not rush to immediately change the formula if it seems to you that a child is not very willing to eat.

It is better to think in advance about choosing a tasty and mild diet. Particularly noteworthy are those based on goat milk, which is digested and absorbed faster and easier than cow one. Goat milk is closer to breast milk. For example, Holle formula based on goat milk is additionally enriched with the unique pre-and probiotics, omega fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals, and also contains natural nucleotides and oligosaccharides, as well as the most valuable goat milk whey.

Types of baby formula

Today, the range of children’s stores has a huge selection of formulas. There are hypoallergenic formulas suitable for children with lactose intolerance, a special diet for spitting up, specialized replacers for premature babies, and babies with gastrointestinal problems. A formula can be powder and liquid, adapted and non-adapted.

  • Powder. The most common and easy to store.
  • Liquid. It doesn’t need to be cooked, so it is convenient to take with you on trips or walks.
  • Adapted. It is based on cow or goat milk and is saturated with probiotics, prebiotics, vitamins, and minerals.

Here are some tips to help you pick up the proper feeding:

  • take into account the age of the baby: the formulas are divided into different stages according to the months of life
  • monitor the reaction of the baby’s organism: whether regurgitation has become more frequent, whether the stool is normal. If there are problems, the diet will have to be changed
  • give preference to adapted formulas because they are more nutritious and more often easier to digest