Breastfeeding or formula feeding should be a choice that all moms get to make for themselves, without fear of being judged, shamed, or guilted for whatever they decide. The key word there is should be, because unfortunately, that's not always the case. The much discussed benefits of breastfeeding make some moms feel like it's an absolute must, and that's great for them. But there are some awesome benefits of formula feeding as well, and they shouldn't be dismissed.
According to Healthy Children, formula as we know it today has been around since the 1950s, and it's been a great option for families since then. Any reason you choose to formula feed is perfectly valid, and you don't need to justify of defend it. Some moms may want to breastfeed, but are unable to produce milk. Others may experience pain or discomfort (including emotionally). And there are those that don't want to take on the massive commitment of nursing a baby at all hours of the day and night for months on end. Whatever the case may be, having formula on hand will keep your baby happy, healthy, and growing.
From nutrients for little ones to time and sanity for moms, here are nine great benefits of choosing formula.
1. It Gives You Freedom
Moms have already shared their bodies with their babies through nine months of pregnancy. Formula feeding gives moms back some of their independence, and even takes away some stresses about what to eat and what to wear according to What to Expect.
2. It's Convenient
As a mom who exclusively pumped breastmilk for my daughter for nearly 11 months, I can testify that my life got so much easier once we were using formula. No more lugging around a pump and all its part, no more searching the house for a pumping bra, and no more time wasted away hooked up to it. With formula, I just needed a couple of scoops, some water, and a bottle and I was good to go.
3. It's Filled With Important Nutrients
You won't have to worry about giving your baby any extra vitamins when they're on formula, as doctors sometimes suggest for breastfed babies. Formula is typically fortified with both iron and vitamin D, according to What to Expect.
4. You'll Know Exactly How Many Calories Your Baby Is Getting
Another relief I had when I switched to formula was knowing exactly how many calories my baby was consuming. She had trouble gaining weight when she was first born and while we were trying and failing to nurse, which left me with an unshakable paranoia about feeding her enough. Although I could ballpark the numbers when she was drinking breastmilk, I appreciated knowing the exact calorie count when she was on formula.
5. It Comes In Dairy- And Soy-Free Versions
If your baby has a dairy or soy allergy, breastfeeding means you have to stick to a strict diet. For moms who can't do that, formula can be a life-saver. Formulas can be processed in a way that helps babies avoid allergic reactions, according to Healthy Children.
6. It Allows Others To Bond With Your Baby
Formula lets moms share feeding duties with dads, grandparents, siblings, friends, etc. It can be a great time to bond, according to What to Expect, with the added bonus that mom gets a break.
7. It Doesn't Hurt
There's really something to be said for not having a baby mangling your nipples a dozen or so times a day. Nursing can really hurt, whether it's because your baby is a biter or your boobs get painfully engorged. I really enjoyed being able to sleep on my stomach without worrying that I would wake up with my chest in agony once we were on formula.
8. Your Baby Might Stay Fuller Longer
Formula takes babies a little longer to digest than breastmilk, according to Baby Center. That may mean they'll feel fuller longer, and won't need to eat again as quickly. More time between feedings equals more rest for mom.
9. It Makes Life Easier For Working Moms
When I was pumping for my daughter and working full-time, just getting out the door every morning was a huge hassle. Packing up my pump, bottles, a cooler, an ice pack, and a ton of other stuff I'd need to get through the day forced me to get up a lot earlier than normal. It was exhausting and annoying, even with great support from my family and my workplace. For moms who can't or don't want to deal with any of that, formula feeding eliminates a huge amount of hassle.