Breastfeeding vs Formula Benefits

Many people feel very strongly about bottle feeding and breastfeeding, but I wanted to write a quick top 5 list about the benefits of both options. Here goes:

Formula Feeding:

  1. Anybody can feed your baby and at 3am that’s really awesome
  2. You always know how much your baby is eating
  3. You can drink tequila and smoke peyote to your heart’s content
  4. Formula is harder to digest than breastmilk so your baby stays fuller (aka asleep) longer
  5. You can wear anything because you don’t have to worry about boob access

Breast Feeding

  1. Technically speaking, it’s the way we’re designed to feed babies
  2. Nothing gets much cheaper than free
  3. Convenient and fast – you can never forget it at home and nothing silences a crying baby like an instant boob
  4. It’s easier to digest (aka less crying) than formula
  5. Your antibodies pass to the baby so it boosts their immune system

Now, you may already have a good idea of what you’d like to do once your baby is born but keep an open mind about this one. If you can breastfeed, I say give it a shot. If it doesn’t work out, don’t beat yourself up about it. Both are completely acceptable ways to feed your kid including a little bit of both (do I hear the shrill of a public health nurse screaming “nipple confusion!!”?)

Depending on where you live there will probably be pressure to do one or the other. I’ve read about women being asked to leave an establishment  because they were breastfeeding but I’ve also known people who peeled the labels off formula cans so they wouldn’t be ridiculed for bottle feeding.

I honestly believe there’s a special place in hell for people that make a women feel like shit about the way she chooses to feed her child. Folks need to recognize that every woman wants what’s best for her baby and they aren’t helping the situation by adding to her doubt and fears. (Insert Little House on the Prairie type music here). I’ve done said what I feel is right. Go on now, be gone with ya.

P.S. Here are two links to sites that I think really have a good, non-crazy grasp on both sides of the issue: Fearless Formula Feeder and KellyMom.

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  • I love this… sometimes breastfeeding is hard! With my first, I tried for four months, and It didn’t matter how many times I adjusted or how wide I got her mouth open, I couldn’t get her to latch right and I ended up with a right nipple so scabbed that she took half of it off and it became infected and I ended up feeding on one boob that couldn’t satisfy her when her growth spurt hit, so I ended up having to formula feed her and she was healthy regardless. With my second one however, I’ve had no complications and it’s been pain free, some babies just get it, others don’t. No one should feel bad about the way they feed their babies… lol especially when my grandma says she fed her babies canned milk and tea. 🙂

  • It’s worth mentioning Exclusive Pumping as an option. Some babies have a hard time latching and mamas end up switching to formula.

    EPers get the bottle/others feeding benefit and knowing the amount benefit of formula fed babies, plus the antibodies and free benefit of breastfeeding.

    • Only downside is it takes twice as long because you have to feed baby and then pump on top of that. I EP’d for 8 months with my first and am currently EP’ing with my second, who is 3 weeks old. Neither of them had/have been able to get a good latch and struggling with it made me super depressed. Pumping makes you feel like a cow, but it’s preferable to feeling like you failed as a mother because you can’t get the baby to latch on right and stay awake long enough to get full. I did switch to formula after 8 months with my first, pumping does really suck sometimes. Apparently the four months of formula didn’t hurt him, he’s only been sick once in his 19 months of life.

  • Breastfeeding downsides: blocked ducts/mastitis/bleeding nipples. I do it anyway; it’s nice to take longer breaks at work. Plus nothing corks the cry hole like a boob.

  • There is a third side. Bottle feeding breast milk. My daughter won’t take a boob during the day, but is perfectly fine with it at night. I am thinking about bottle feeding at night as well since I have no idea how much she eats and giving that she’s waking up very hungry quite often I think she may not be getting enough. I also like that I don’t have to worry about pooping a boob (I am not shy, by kind of shy to feed her in public). I just bring a bottle of expressed milk with us wherever we go.

  • "If it doesn’t work out, don’t beat yourself up about it."

    This is the biggest thing I worry about and just having SOMEONE say it’s OK to not be able to makes me want to hug the shit out of you.

  • I bottle fed my first baby, and I had so many people tell me that if you formula feed, your child will be sick more often, not as smart, etc. Completely untrue– my son is 5.5 years old now and the ONLY time he has ever been to the doctor (except for check ups and shots, of course) is one time for pink eye. He was even in daycare for 2 years and still did not get sick! Frankly, after 10 months of being pregnant and having your body do insane things, I think women who want to bottle feed so they are not completely responsible for feeding their babies should go for it. That being said, I am 4 weeks away from delivering my second, and am planning on breastfeeding. But anyone who tells me I should will most likely get hit.

  • I just found your blog and I love it! I experienced issues with people getting on me for not breastfeeding. Even if I wanted to, I couldn't because I am on a medication that can pass to the baby through breast milk. A lot of people felt like they put their foot in their mouth after I explained!

    We are TTC #2 and look forward to reading your blog! Keep them coming!

  • I was thinking of breast feeding but also getting a breast pump for a back up, maybe when I'm not with the baby or for when I'm finding it particularly hard or just so that OH can get up during the night to feed, once in a while (haha!).

    I read this article from the NHS about storing breast milk, which claims that breast milk can also be frozen for up to 6 months before use and is still healthier than powder milk.

    Jo, xo

  • Hey,

    I stumbled across your site the other day, and I'm happy to have found you!

    I like that you tackled both sides of the story, and I think it does no one any good to be judgmental about infant feeding practices… However, I think we also need to be honest with mothers. I'm a Ph.D. student who studies maternal behavior and infant development and I've recently started a blog with a colleague of mine to try and help mothers make sense of all the evidence. I actually referred to this post in my blog on breastfeeding two days ago – I hope you don't mind! (

    Good to know you're in TO – we're also in the GTA! I am happy to be aware of more and more bloggers in the area 🙂

  • Thank you for this hilarious website! My daughter is 8 1/2 months old and we are transitioning from breastfeeding to supplementing with formula…no one has been "hard" on me about it but I have been beating myself up about and I have no idea why! The more that I read that whatever works for your family is best the better I feel about my decision. Keep the hilarity coming!

  • I just found your site the other day and although I'm neither a mother or pregnant yet, my husband and I will be taking this journey soon and I can't tell you how refreshing, hilarious, and just logical your blog is! Pregnancy/Motherhood is something that I've always wanted and am excited for but at the same time the whole thing is extremely terrifying ESPECIALLY when you read the millions of things available on the subject. It's nice to come across blogs like yours that are realistic and truthful while keeping it light and humorous, it really qualms a lot of fears I have!

    Some sites and friends/family that have had children tend to be so opinionated about the "right" way to do things that it puts immense amount of pressure on pregnant women/new mothers. The subject of breastfeeding is probably the biggest of these opinions (along with the method of birth) and on some sites, it is alarming to see people basically demonize mothers who either can't or choose not to breastfeed or even those who do a little of both. You would think these mothers who dare not to breastfeed are starving their infants or something the way some talk about feeding a baby formula! Don't get me wrong, I think breastfeeding is great and no one can deny the health benefits to the baby but formula isn't like giving the baby a bottle of Coca Cola or something either!

    I sincerely believe as you do that every mother and child is different and you can only do what you are capable of and every mother wants what is the best for the child. For myself, I hope I can breastfeed/pump for as long as I can, I think it's important for the father to be able to experience feeding the child too, so I would hope to pump as much as possible so that that can happen. I also work full-time so I can realistically only do as much as I can do as far as breastfeeding and be able to financially support myself and my family so whether that means pumping breastmilk all day, combination of forumla/breastmilk, or all formula, then that's what will happen and I refuse to feel guilty about it. Babies who drink formula don't sprout extra legs or become horribly sick automatically, I know for a fact that my sister, brother, & I were not breastfed as well as many cousins, aunts, uncles, and friends/co-workers babies who were formula fed and they were all perfectly normal, healthy babies. I don't know how it became such a travesty to not breastfeed to the point where mothers are being publicly chastised for it. On the same token, it saddens me that women who do breastfeed are told they can't do it in some places. The whole issue is pretty maddening but the bottom line is that every mother, child, and lifestyle is different and you can only do what is possible for you to do and as long as having a healthy, happy child is the goal, then either method is just fine.

  • Thank you, thank you for pointing out that formula feeding is not evil and breast is not always best! I had supply issues feeding my 1st baby and ended up having to formula feed exclusively and some people made me feel like the worst mom in the world. I got over it, and now I'm totally okay with the combination of breastfeeding and formula feeding that I've used with my other kids. But – especially for the 1st timers out there – I don't think it can be said often enough that each mom and baby is different and they need to do what works for them!

  • Excellent point, Lorien.
    I’m going to pop that link on the breastfeeding post too in case folks miss it here.

  • I agree totally. I would add that breastfeeding (and I do, FWIW) is not always as super easy as you’d think it should be after 28 hours of labour, especially when you were so focused on said labour that you forgot they handed you a baby 20 minutes after delivery… I found the website a lifesaver if you need info/advice on how to make breastfeeding work for you. The forums are amazing too. That said, they wouldn’t appreciate your five benefits of bottle feeding.

  • Thanks so much for the shout-out! I’m so glad I discovered your site – this is such great info to have out there (and freaking hilarious to boot – I love your writing style). I’ll be checking back, esp. when I’m pregnant for the second time – if the first was any indication, I could use some common sense during those anxiety-filled 9 (10) months…

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