Breastfeeding vs. Formula

Kristin Gunner


grayscale photo of baby feeding
grayscale photo of baby feeding

Deciding how you want to feed your baby can be a big decision. With the vast amount of information out there, this decision can feel overwhelming.

There is a debate among many people about the best way to feed infants: breastfeeding or bottle feeding. This causes many new moms to feel like they’re making the wrong choice.

So which should you go with?

Breastfeeding Pros

  • Breastfeeding your baby offers so many nutritional benefits. Breastmilk provides your baby with antibodies and immune support and even changes to meet their nutritional needs.

  • Breastfeeding promotes bonding between you and your baby. Skin-to-skin contact builds your connection with your baby and produces oxytocin, which helps produce more milk.

  • Breastfeeding is also so convenient. You don’t have to do anything to prep for feeding, and you can do it anywhere at any time.

Breastfeeding Cons

  • Some women have a hard time breastfeeding. Their baby may struggle to latch, which means they’re not able to eat. Some women experience sore nipples, engorged breasts, a low milk supply, and many other struggles.

  • Breastfeeding can also be time-consuming since babies tend to eat more frequently. Many women feel that they have to go away from others to breastfeed in private, meaning they often spend this time alone. While this is great for bonding with your baby, it can also be isolating.

  • For women who want to go back to work as soon as possible, breastfeeding can make that difficult. They have to save breast milk so someone else can feed their baby while they work, and they need time to pump at work.

Formula Pros

  • Using formula makes it easier for other people to help. They can help prepare bottles and feed the baby, so there is less strain on you.

  • It’s easy to measure how much formula a baby eats, and babies tend to have a more predictable schedule when using formula.

  • Going back to work after you have a baby is easier since you don’t have to worry about pumping and saving extra breast milk.

Formula Cons

  • All formula isn’t the same. You’ll want to pay attention to ingredients.

  • Formula doesn’t have antibodies, meaning your baby won’t get the same immunity from sickness as they would from breast milk.

  • You have to plan ahead to ensure you always have enough formula.

  • Using formula can get expensive, especially if your baby needs a special formula.

Things to Consider When Deciding:

  • What is your lifestyle and daily routine like? Are you a stay-at-home mom? When will you go back to work?

  • Do you have a good support system? Think about who will be around to help out.

  • Do you have any health conditions or take any medications that could affect your breast milk? Discuss this with your doctor when making your decision.

  • You also have the option to supplement your breastfeeding with formula.

It’s a Personal Preference

The good news is that there is no right or wrong way to feed your baby. Whether you choose to breastfeed or not, all that matters is that your baby is happy and healthy. You know yourself, your baby, and your family best, so you can have confidence that your decision is the best decision.

I really want to emphasize this: As long as you're feeding your baby and they are healthy, you haven't made the wrong choice. I always say fed is best.

a baby is laying under a blanket breastfeeding
a baby is laying under a blanket breastfeeding

logo of a sun with the words new day doula support
logo of a sun with the words new day doula support