Which is better: BreastFeeding or Baby Formula Milk?

Which is better: BreastFeeding or Baby Formula Milk?

We’re not going to lie. These days, our culture tends to have a strong preference for the benefits of breastfeeding. Many mothers feel proud and over the moon when their breastfeeding is going well – as though they have passed their first motherhood milestone with flying colours. But the truth is, not every woman can or wants to breastfeed, and mothers shouldn’t be assessed via their ability to breastfeed. Feeding babies with formula milk is definitely not any indication of failure.

Sometimes, it also isn’t a matter of this or that, but a combination of both. Instead of letting your environment dictate your decision to breastfeed or feed babies with formula, it is best to know the pros and cons of each to make an informed choice. Every baby and mother needs to figure out feeding choices that work best for them!


Benefits of Breastfeeding

Sure, the benefits of breastfeeding abound, with health experts saying that breast milk is the most ideal choice for infants.

Robust Immune System

Breastfeeding helps a baby nurture a robust immune system to defend themselves against infections, prevent allergies, and protect against several chronic conditions. This happens when germ-fighting factors and antibodies are passed from a mother to her infant, lowering the occurrences of getting infections

Breast milk is also a living fluid whereby it adapts to your individual baby’s daily needs. Should your baby fall ill, your body can produce additional white blood cells and antibodies in breast milk to help fight infection! That is something that cannot be duplicated in a factory!

Strong Emotional Bond

Newborns are difficult to figure out and even more difficult to soothe. In the preliminary weeks of their arrival into the world, they cry because it is the only way they are able to express themselves. And when you can provide exactly what your baby requires to make them contented and relaxed; the emotional experience is extremely gratifying. Furthermore, holding your baby close and having skin-to-skin contact while cuddling him or her is delightful!

Aids Digestion

The components of breast milk – lactose, protein, and fat are easily digested by a newborn baby. As such, breastfed infants are usually less constipated, gassy, and have fewer bouts of diarrhoea. It also naturally contains many of the vitamins and minerals that a newborn needs.


There is no longer a need to track the amount of remaining formula milk you have in your pantry, or make midnight runs to the store for when it runs out! Breast milk is always fresh and available be it at home or when you are out. It also helps to reduce the chore of washing bottles and sanitising if you were to breastfeed your child.

That being said, breastfeeding comes with lots of pain as well!

In the initial few weeks, many mothers, especially first-time mums, will find it to be extremely uncomfortable. Besides having to watch what they eat or drink, since whatever they consume can be transmitted to the baby via breast milk, they will also have to figure out the best way to help their babies latch on.

The entire breastfeeding journey also requires a huge time commitment from the mother as their newborn babies need to feed more often than formula-fed babies; because babies digest breast milk faster! This means breastfeeding mothers will have to make themselves available to their babies every 2 to 3 hours, on top of juggling the new mom life of putting their child to sleep and caring for their infants. We have not even talked about the pains of breastfeeding such as mothers having trouble with their milk supply, babies not being able to latch properly, and mastitis (an inflammation of breast tissue that sometimes involves an infection)…

As such, especially in the initial few weeks, mothers may want to supplement breast milk with formula or even pumping to bottle-feed their children while they figure out how to manage the entire breastfeeding process. I’ve heard numerous stories where mothers stress over breastfeeding only to relieve it when they have decided to supplement their supply with formula milk in the interim. Doing so not only ensures that their infant is well-fed, but it also helps them to stay calm and patient and may even improve a mother’s emotional well-being in the long run.

Formula-milk, unlike popular belief, does have its own advantages too.

Benefits of Formula Milk

Independent Mothers

After going through nine months of pregnancy, formula-feeding does give mothers back some of their independence and even take away some stresses about what they can or cannot eat, and what they can or cannot wear. Post-natal depression is real and mothers should first care for themselves before they can care for their little ones.

Especially for mothers who have infants with a dairy or soy allergy, formula-feeding with dairy-free and soy-free options can be an alternative to a strict diet.

Additionally, feeding your child with formula milk can lessen the hassle for working mothers of packing pumps, bottles, coolers, ice-pack, and the intermittent need to excuse yourself in your workplace.

Emotional Bonding with Fathers

Formula-fed babies allow mothers to share feeding duties with their loved ones; the baby’s father and his or her grandparents. Daddies, now too, can share the amazing feeling of cuddling with their children. Though this also applies to bottle-fed breast milk babies, it is noteworthy that daddies can be responsible for the entire process of preparing formula milk and taking over the night feeds. This helps mummies to sleep through the night instead of waking up for the middle-of-the-night (motn) feeds!

Ultimately, we do recognise that there is a plethora of benefits to breastfeeding that cannot be replicated in formula milk. Yet, the decision to breastfeed or not, should be left to mothers themselves, without fear of being judged, shamed, or guilted, whatever they decide. There is no one best way of feeding your child, but whichever a mother chooses, there are its own benefits and costs!


Looking for Infant Care or Child Care in Singapore?

Established in 2006, Mulberry Learning is an award-winning Reggio-inspired preschool with 11 locations around Singapore. Its Full-Day and Half-Day Infant Care Programmes help your babies and toddlers aged 2 months to 17 months to learn and grow in a fun and engaging environment. Mulberry Learning is the world’s first and only preschool network certified by the USA for the Habits of MindTM framework, and its curriculum has been voted as “Singapore’s Best Holistic Learning Programme” for 3 years running by leading parenting publications.

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