After you've dealt with labour and birth, your biggest concern is your newborn's health and development. You want to ensure that your bundle of joy gets all the nourishment he or she needs for proper growth. With the whole world giving you their opinions on whether you should breastfeed or bottle feed, you're going to be very confused, with good reason. Remember this, moms: breastfeeding is undoubtedly the best source of nutrition for your baby. However, there could be a situation when you have to choose to formula feed your infant. Take a look at these growth differences to understand what you can expect:
Growth Difference Between Breastfed and Formula-fed Babies
A few days after birth:
Babies lose some weight immediately after birth. Studies have shown that when it comes to breastfeeding vs. formula feeding, infants who are fed on breast milk lose more weight than those who are fed formula in the initial weeks of birth. Though breast milk is more nutritious, supply can be low right after birth. On the other hand, there’s no dearth of formulated milk which is why babies who are formula-fed weigh more than breastfed children.
First 3 months:
Health experts believe that once the supply of breast milk normalises, there’s no difference between the growth of formula-fed babies and breastfed babies. Both can enjoy a good supply of nutritious milk and gain weight in a consistent manner.
6 to 12 months:
Doctors recommend that babies be introduced to solid food along with continuing breast milk or formula milk once they complete the 6-month milestone. This is when many mothers begin weaning their babies off milk and adding solid food to their daily diet. However, since many infants don’t finish the food given them, the growth of breastfed babies can be slower. But what about that of formula-fed babies?
For infants to grow at a consistent rate, they require a fair amount of energy and proteins. Once a mom tries to wean her baby by introducing him or her to solid food, breastfeeding gradually decreases. However, babies may not get all the required nutrition from solid food especially if they don’t eat too much or reject it completely. This means lower consumption of energy and protein-rich food. Yet babies who continue to be formula-fed get the required nutrients from formula milk. This is why a formula-fed baby growth chart shows 'better results' than that for breastfed babies.
Breast milk contains plenty of antibodies that equip babies with a better immune system. In the long run, this proves to be more beneficial for their steady growth and development. There is no comparison to the goodness of mother's milk for the baby. Also, some of the constituents in formula may be hard to digest and can result in diarrhoea. Fats in formula milk are hard to break down too and could lead to excessive weight gain. Though the growth chart for breastfed babies may not seem to be as impressive as that of formula-fed infants, studies show that breastfeeding is more nutritious. If you are unable to breastfeed for some reason, please discuss this with your doctor and take a call accordingly.