There are a load of things to consider when making a choice between breastfeeding and formula. They range from allowing more freedom in when and how you feed your kid to the quality and smell of their dumps. What you should not consider is how many colors of red will pass across the faces of militant breast-is-besters when they see you pop a bottle into your baby’s face. Unless you like red. And being condescended to.
For now, forget the controversy. If, for some reason, you’re going down formula lane, here’s what you need to know:
They’re All Nutritionally The Same
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reviews formulas to ensure that they meet certain nutritional requirements. Yes, they probably have different recipes, but even if the formula contains gentle fairy kisses it must meet the FDAs standards for nutrition. So your kid will get the protein, vitamins, and other good stuff they need. However, you will want to be on the lookout for iron-fortified formulas that are recommended for infants, because babies are so metal.
Some brands also offer special additives to augment the FDAs base requirements. A couple of the most common additives you’ll encounter are ARA and DHA (though stay clear from any that include MDMA). ARA and DHA are omega-3s. Research shows they aid the development of your baby’s brain. Of course that benefit will cost you, but can you put a price on smarts? (Don’t answer that, Ken Jennings)
But There Are Differences
There are two main ways formulas will differentiate — in their protein source and preparation. Here’s the breakdown:
Cow’s Milk: This formula creates larger curds in your baby’s digestive system, making them feel full longer. So you might have more time between feedings. They also might sleep longer (how awful). The downside is that some babies can’t digest cow’s milk. Better start researching sorbets now.
Soy Protein: A plant-based formula is a bit more gentle and easier to digest for some kids. It helps for babies who can’t digest the animal stuff. Again, it’s important not to worry about nutrition. It has to be in there. Unlike those fairy kisses.
Powdered: Just add water. It’s a pain in the ass to mix and you will undoubtedly be inhaling formula at some point in your day (you’ll get used to the taste). That said, it’s affordable.
Concentrate: Still add water. It’s easier to measure and your lungs aren’t getting simil-shellacked. You will pay for that pleasure, though.
Ready-To-Use: So incredibly convenient. Just plug and play. Can you afford it? Sure! Why not!?
The formula road is one paved with the disapproving eyes of breast-is-besters. But there are legitimate reasons that your partner might use formula, including having a premature infant, stressful and unproductive breastfeeding and personal choice (obviously). But you should resist guilt for several reasons:
- Formula allows you and other family members to be more involved in feeding.
- One study suggested that formula fed baby’s were happier because they don’t have to work so hard for food. If only you could know that feeling.
- Babies fed with formula have stronger bones thanks to increased Vitamin D.
- Moms who use formula get to keep more of their lives. And wine. So much wine.
Some Quick Formula Tips
Because your part of the formula, uh … formula, you’ll want to take these things into consideration to ensure success:
Don’t Stretch It: If you try to make formula go further by adding more water than indicated, your kid could suffer water intoxication, which is a bad thing despite how it sounds.
It Doesn’t Need To Be Warm: You don’t have to heat the bottle of formula. Your kid will eat it regardless. Just like you and a pizza left on the counter all night.
Don’t Overfeed: When your kid is done, they’re done. Don’t push them to finish the bottle. It never worked out with you and tequila. Same thing here.
Prepare For The Stink: Your kids poops are going to be darker and stinker than usual. But you’ll still love them.
Formula may feel a little scary and foreign to some new parents, but know that it’s not too terribly different than breast milk. It does lack important antibodies that come from your partner. And yes, risks exist for increased growth and obesity, but those issues can be managed with a little care.
Besides, soon enough they’ll be on to solid food and you’ll have fewer pie-holes to worry about.