The Good And Bad Things No One Tells You About Baby Formula

Even though I would have liked to practice exclusive breastfeeding at least for the few months of my babies’ life. But, I could barely survive weeks, without resorting to the baby formula. In fact, my mom told my husband to buy a tin of milk on his way from work, one morning like that, after we had both had a sleepless night, with crying babies, who were not satisfied with the milk that they were getting from me.

From that time onward, I just settled into the breastmilk mixed with baby formula routine and I must say, it took a huge burden off me. No longer, was I so worried about the fact that I was not producing enough milk for my children. Ironically, my milk supply increased after the introduction of the formula and I was literally begging my kids to suckle, so as to relief the pain of my engorged breasts.

At a time, my son would turn up his nose at the baby formula, my mom prepared for him and he would only want to be nursed by me. My mom allowed him a few times, before, he realised, this breastmilk wasn’t going to always fill him and that he needed his bottle.

Before the decision to buy a baby formula was made, my mom had been pestering me for weeks to try the baby formula. She mentioned the brand and said, she that was what she fed me as a baby. That alone swayed me but it took trying it to actually and seeing the effects for me to be sold on the baby formula. Thank God, it was also affordable at that time, so double dose of awesomeness in one tin.

Moms, I know some would be wondering why I’m writing about baby formula that had received so much bashing…well even in between the bashing, there are some undeniable goodness to be found at least from my own experience.

The Good:

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  1. Formula-fed babies need to eat less often, thus sleep longer

This was an instantaneous result for me. When I introduced the baby formula to my older twins, where they had cried for most of the night, they slept for hours even as young as they were then and my mom gladly pointed that out to me, the next morning and we were feeling a lot more energised, than we had in weeks.

Studies have shown that formula made from cow’s milk is more difficult to digest than breast milk. The curds formed stay in the tummy longer, giving a baby a feeling of fullness that can last several hours.
Of course, that adds up to longer breaks between feedings — up to three or four hours, even when babies are small; and potentially longer sleep periods which is not a bad thing at all.

Another research linked infant irritability to breastfeeding. When scientists from the Medical Research Council Epidemiology Unit in Cambridge observed 300 3-month-old babies, they discovered that formula-fed babies cried less and were easier to put to sleep. Another reason to think about incorporating the formula into the feeding routine or switch all together.

2. It could boost gut health
Another good side, I learnt about baby formula was something I found out yeas after my children had stopped both breastfeeding and baby formula. Baby formula influences a baby’s gut health. The early exposure to different bacteria other than those from breast milks helps to mature the gut of the baby. Having diverse gut bacteria can provide innumerable health benefits including stronger immunity and a reduced risk of disease.

What does this have to do with baby formula, you may ask? Scientists are always looking for a way to make formula better. Researchers found that this breast-milk-gut-bacteria benefit, which is absolutely essential for a healthy baby, could be used as a prototype to design better baby formula.

3. It can improve your babies weight
I don’t have any latest study to back this up but in using the baby formula, I had seen my older twins grow some more flesh and some chubby cheeks. All of which suited me all just fine.

4. Baby formulas have improved over the years, making it safer.
Today, we conveniently mix up a bottle with a scoop of powder like it’s no big deal. And it really is no big deal. But, it took a lot of trial and errors to get here. What’s reassuring is, it gets better, as the day goes by in terms of the vitamins that ar.

5. You can do both:
It doesn’t have to be all or nothing. This is something every new mom, who have found themselves making this decision figure eventually. You really don’t have to say, “I will only breastfeed or only stick to the baby formula.” You can do both. In fact doing both help to extend your breast milk supply or give you breathing space, when you need it.

The Bad

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1. Formula-fed babies may develop sweet tooth early
Although, the benefits of baby formula have been discussed, it would be a major disservice if I didn’t talk about the side effects. One major side effect that all parents need to know about it, it can cause a baby to develop a sweet tooth too soon.

My younger son has a bad case of sweet tooth, I thought he took after me but now, I’m beginning to think, baby formula might have laid the foundation for both of us.

2. It can be hard to digest
This is a two-edged benefit of baby formula. Just its being hard to digest, means, longer stretches between feeding times, specialty formulas, like soy formulas recommended for babies allergic to cow’s milk, can be harder on a baby’s digestive system than many moms realise.

So if you find yourself dealing with this dilemma or will have to deal with it soon, I have laid the cards on the table and the ball is firmly in your court.

Feeding baby, milk that is not from your body is not necessarily a sin.

So stay off the mom guilt.

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