In parenting circles, the formula VS breastfeeding debate is a pretty controversial topic. On one hand, endless clinical trials have proven that breast milk has numerous advantages and can help keep the baby protected from infections and diseases. But on the other hand, breastfeeding can be really hard for mothers, especially during the emotional first few weeks.
So which one is really better?
Well, the better question is about which one is a better fit for your family.
No two families are the same. Consider your work situation, finances, mom’s milk supply, and your exhaustion level as parents. All these factors play an important role when deciding which option to choose.
The important thing is to make an informed choice. Don’t let anyone else pressure you into choosing one over the other.
Sure, breastfeeding is mainly a mother’s responsibility. But this doesn’t mean that you have to be completely hands off. As a dad, it is important to arm yourself with techniques that can help support mom. You wouldn’t want to just sleep soundly while your partner does all the hard work right?
Whether you choose to breastfeed or to use formula, here are some awesome ways to get involved. Roll up your sleeves and get ready to work.
If you choose to breastfeed…
Breastfeeding means you get to save money because you don’t spend money on formula. If your baby is nursing directly, it also means that you get to do less work because you don’t need to wash bottles anymore. But this also means that mom is carrying a heavier load. For the first six months when your baby is exclusively breastfeeding, she is 100% responsible for making sure that the baby doesn’t go hungry. That is exhausting.
In this situation, your biggest role is to make sure that mom gets all the help she can get. If she’s hungry, make her dinner. If she’s thirsty, get her water. If there is a way for you to get the baby out of her hands, do it. You just have to make her life easier because even if you want to, you can’t really breastfeed the baby yourself.
If you choose formula…
Nowadays, a good number of parents agree that “fed is best”. Formula feeding is a good alternative that gives babies the nutrition they need to grow. However, one thing you might have to deal with is “mom guilt”. Most mothers today are pressured to breastfeed their children and they might think that choosing formula is failure. It is therefore your duty to give mom reassurance that she is doing a good job even if your baby is not constantly getting milkrunk on a boob feast. Remind her again and again that she is a good mother.
When you are formula feeding, you have a chance to be more involved in the entire process, 50/50. Make sure you do your share of the load. Even if you are tired from work, go wash the bottles or go get the warm water. And take it upon yourself to make sure that you have an extra can of formula at home. Nothing is more stressful than having a bawling hungry baby who wants milk when you have none.
If you choose to mix-feed…
It is also possible for you and your wife to decide to mix feed the baby. This means that mom breastfeeds the baby when she can, but on moments when she can’t, formula has to be available.This is a good option because it gives your baby all the benefits of breastmilk while allowing your wife to get a break whenever she needs one.
In this scenario, since mom is already taking care of the breastfeeding part, you should take it upon yourself to take charge of the formula-feeding. This allows mom to take a break while giving you an opportunity to play a role in feeding your baby.
Time to roll up your sleeves
Gone are the days when dads are seen as cold and detached. Always look for opportunities to help out and bond with your child. As you get more involved in child caring duties, you will realize that being a dad is an incredibly exhausting but also incredibly rewarding opportunity. Appreciate every moment and enjoy the journey!