Breast-feeding, expressing, formula feeding… Chances are, if you are expecting, you’ve heard these phrases a lot! Don’t you feel like the moment you fall pregnant people start giving you their two cents about everything, with or without invitation? Well feeding is one of those things. It can be confusing and overwhelming trying to figure out what will work best for you. But never fear! Here is Milkeaze’s simple, no-nonsense guide to infant feeding. We’re bringing you just the facts – no judgement here guys.
Breast-feeding is awesome. It’s been shown to have lots of health benefits for both mum and bub.
Breast milk contains antibodies straight from mum. These antibodies are essential in helping baby fight off infection whilst their brand new immune system is still working out friend from foe! Some studies also show that it can help to reduce the risk of baby developing certain long-term health conditions, like diabetes and asthma, later in life. Breast-feeding can be a bonding process for you and bub and also have a positive impact on baby’s social, emotional and cognitive development. On another note – breast-feeding is both financially efficient and convenient as it requires nothing but you! It makes packing that baby bag a whole lot easier when you need no extra equipment.
Breast feeding may be the most natural way to feed your baby, but guys, it isn’t always the beautiful experience it is made out to be. Some mums may find breast-feeding painful or uncomfortable, and some may even develop cracked nipples or a breast infection known as mastitis. As well as this, exclusive breast-feeding can mean that baby is totally reliant on you for feeds, making it harder to share the load of infant care. Some babies don’t latch well and some mums can struggle due to low supply. Some mums simply don’t want to breast feed, and that’s okay too. For mums experiencing these things, there can be a lot of pressure and judgement, leading to emotional stress and mental health issues. If you are struggling with negative emotions around feeding, we encourage you to talk to someone you trust, or even a professional such as your GP.
Expressing can be a great way to feed, as it allows a lot of flexibility while still providing many of the protective benefits of breast milk that we just mentioned! It makes it easier for you to return to work and hobbies earlier whilst still maintaining breast milk production. It also creates an opportunity for other loved ones to participate in feeding and bonding with baby, not to mention they can help give you a break from what sometimes feels like non-stop feeding.
Pumps often can’t empty your breast as easily as baby feeding directly, and for some women that might affect their supply. Additionally, you have to invest in a pump, and equipment to express and feed. And then you have to wash it all! This method also can sometimes be inconvenient as it can be time consuming, and ties up your hands (although, we at Milkeaze are here to fulfill all your hands-free pumping dreams— check out our shop to see how)!
Formula feeding is an extremely reliable way to feed baby as it does not depend on your availability or supply. It allows baby’s other carers to have more of a responsibility with feeding and means that you can have a far more flexible schedule. Formula has been developed over years to be a complete diet for human infants so is a totally legitimate and nutritious way to grow that little bean. Some can be specially designed for bubs with concerns like reflux, but please see your doctor before starting any of these special types.
Formula feeding does not share all of the benefits as breast milk such as protection against certain diseases and neuro-social development. Furthermore, many formulas are cow’s milk-based and may not be suitable or even predispose to cow’s milk protein intolerance. It can also be a bit exy and beware mixed feeding Mama, each tin only lasts 30 days.
So which method comes out on top? The answer is that the best method is one that allows your baby to be reliably fed and also makes you feel the most you! The combined use of any of these methods, known as “mixed-feeding” can also be a great way to harness the benefits of each in a way that best suits you and baby. Also, it is important to remember that sometimes even the best laid plans don’t work out, and you may have to change your feeding style depending on your unique journey. Never forget, fed is best!
Sometimes mums and babies have health considerations which might make one feeding type the one to go for. Talk to your GP, obstetrician, midwife or lactation consultant about which option will work best for you and your baby!
Though we hope you find it informative, this blog post is the view of the authors and is for entertainment purposes only. It does not constitute medical or legal advice. Please seek professional guidance if you or your baby are experiencing any issues. Happy reading!