Breastfeeding vs Formula
The debate between the advantages and disadvantages of breastmilk versus formula has been ongoing since the 21st century began. Some have argued that there is no difference between breastmilk and formula milk,1 and many studies support the advantages of both breastmilk and formula milk.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) claims that breastmilk is the best form of nutrition for infants.2 The AAP recommends that babies should be breastfed exclusively for the first six months; other foods can be introduced into their diet after this time. However, the AAP suggests that mothers breastfeed until their babies are at least one year old. The AAP has carried out multiple studies to show that breastmilk provides natural antibodies that help the baby resist illnesses, such as ear infections.2 Furthermore, breastmilk is typically more easily digested compared to formula which may help reduce constipation and gas in the baby. Breastmilk may also lower the risk of sudden infant death syndrome in the first year of a baby’s life. It may also help reduce the risk of being overweight, and of developing asthma, type 1 and type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, leukemia, and lymphoma in the child’s later years.
Many researchers have noted the advantages of using formula milk over breastmilk.2 People tend to choose formula because it is more convenient than breastfeeding. Additionally, formula provides the option for a partner to help during nighttime feedings. Furthermore, scheduling feedings may be easier because formula isn’t digested as quickly as breastmilk; thus, formula-fed babies would not need to eat as often as babies that are fed with breastmilk. When an infant is formula-fed, a mother also does not have to worry about what she can eat because breastfeeding mothers have to avoid certain foods that an infant may not tolerate.
Whether mothers decide to breastfeed or use formula milk, research studies have shown that breastfeeding may not make kids sharper or better behaved compared to their non-nursed peers in the long run.1 Breastfeeding has been linked to improved biological health, but it does not have a direct link to better cognitive development.