We’ve all heard about how all babies do is eat, sleep, and poop. For the first three or four months of their lives that’s pretty much true, although they don’t seem to do any of those things when you want them to. All three are vital to your baby’s development, and they will each be discussed at every visit to the doctor’s office.
Perhaps the most volatile topic of the three is eating, unless of course the kid is sick, then poop can be pretty volatile. When I was growing up, everyone knew formula was better for babies. Before Wife and I had our boys, everyone knew breastfed babies were healthier. So which is it?
There are arguments for and against both sides and gobs and gobs of research and statistical findings to support either. I’m not going to quote anyone’s opinion other than my own here, which is the beauty of having your own blog. If you don’t agree with me, start your own. But subscribe to mine first.
Both of my boys were bottle fed. Before Bubby was born, Wife and I were dead set on breastfeeding. We wanted our kids to be healthy and get all the natural benefits of Mama’s milk. That lasted about a month. I really, really pushed Wife to stick with the breastfeeding thing, because some part of me felt like we weren’t doing our best if our kids didn’t get breast milk. But in the end our decision came down to one simple fact: Only one of us has boobs, and the one with the boobs didn’t want to breastfeed anymore.
We tried both approaches and formula just worked out better for everyone involved. Wife didn’t have to live her life attached to either a suckling child or a pump, and we were able to share the responsibility of midnight feedings, which resulted in more sleep for both of us. Bubby is now four and Boo closing in on two. Guess what: they both survived. To help you decide which approach might be best for your family, I’ll outline a few of the pros and cons of both.
Please keep in mind I’m not a doctor. I’m simply sharing our experiences.
- Breastmilk is free. As in you don’t have to buy food for your child for a few months. The kid will get all the nutrients he needs from Mama Bear. You will still need bottles and a pump, but these are one-time costs and substantially cheaper than buying formula every week.
- There’s no denying the special closeness that develops between moms and babies when breastfeeding. This is obviously a one-sided benefit that only moms can take advantage of. Although I suppose if your baby’s mother chooses to breastfeed, that means she bears the brunt of the responsibility for midnight feedings. Gotta find the silver lining in there somewhere, right fellas?
- A number of studies have reported a strong correlation between breastfeeding and things like health and intelligence. Those attributes may be a direct result of breast milk, but here’s a brief lesson in statistics: Correlation is not the same as causation. It could be that breastfed babies are simply more often raised by intelligent parents who read more to their children and keep them germ-free. I’m personally not sold on the argument that breastmilk makes smarter, healthier babies. Both my kids were fed formula and they are just as healthy and smart, if not more so, than their breastfed counterparts. Do some research; there are articles out there supporting both sides.
- A typical generic brand of formula will cost between $20 and $25. Depending on how often your child eats, this could be as much as $100 every month. And it only gets worse as they get older and start eating more. The good thing is you only have to rely on formula for about a year, and you can start supplementing with solid foods after about six months.
- Many parents I’ve talked to report their bottle-fed babies sleep better. This was my experience, as both of our boys were sleeping between six and eights hours a night as young as two months. Maybe we just got lucky with good sleepers, but I’ve heard a number of anecdotal reports that mesh with my own experiences. Maybe there really is something to it.
- We’re big on shared responsibility at our house, so the fact that both parents were able to feed at any time went over really well. Wife didn’t develop any (additional) resentment toward me for not being able to help with the feedings, and we both got to spend a little extra bonding time with the boys during meals. There are no words to express the joy a parent feels while wearing half of a baby’s regurgitated bottle.
So is there a right or wrong answer? Maybe, maybe not. The direction we took with our kids was to do what worked best for us, for our family. And I wouldn’t change a thing about it even if I could. So sit down with your partner and have a conversation about what you think is best. In the end do what works best for you. And don’t let anyone shame you or tell you you’re doing it wrong, regardless of what you choose. Except maybe the baby. Definitely listen to what the baby has to say.