Breast vs Formula

Parenthood is full of decisions. One of the first decisions you will have to make is what you will feed him. Believe me, this decision will not occur in a bubble. Everyone from your mother to the grocery store checkout clerk probably offered an opinion when you were pregnant.
You have three options when it comes to infant nutrition for the first year of life: breast milk, infant formula, or a combination of the two. Your baby will start eating solid food between four and six months of life, but that is only a complement to breast milk or formula—his main source of nutrients and calories.

Ultimately, you and your partner should decide what you feed your baby. But, I will tell you what virtually every major medical organization worldwide recommends. Hands down, human breast milk is the perfect nutrition for human babies. Infant formula is an acceptable substitute, but it will never be exactly the same as breast milk. Breast milk has so many advantages for both mother and baby.

For mom, any duration of breastfeeding can lower your risk of breast cancer. It can also lower your risk of several diseases, such as diabetes. It’s a great way to lose your pregnancy weight. And let’s face it, it’s free and ready to serve!

For babies, breast milk protects them from certain infections. That’s because you pass your own immunity to infections through your breast milk. It also lowers your baby’s risk of several diseases, and some forms of cancer. It naturally contains products that help brain development. And, unlike infant formula, babies do not develop food allergies to human breast milk.

Despite the advantages of breastfeeding, you may, for whatever reason, feed your baby with formula. Or, you may plan to breastfeed exclusively but need to supplement with formula or discontinue breastfeeding entirely before your baby’s first birthday. That’s okay. I just hope that you will give breastfeeding your best shot because “Every Ounce Counts”. You do not have to breastfeed exclusively for you and your baby to reap the benefits.

If your baby is formula-fed, you’ve got a few more decisions. Cow’s milk based or soy? Ready-to-feed? Liquid concentrate? Powder? Organic? Prebiotics or Probiotics? Omega 3’s? Brand name or generic? For full-term babies, I recommend using a cow’s milk based formula with iron in powder form (it’s the cheapest!). But, we are happy to help you sort this out.

Dr. Ari Brown, DadLabs,
Breastfeeding positions

Meet our Lactation Consultants

Alice Stegmann

Alice Stegmann

Alice, the founder of Austin City Lactation, has worked with breastfeeding families for over 15 years. 

Tracy Gubelin

Tracy Gubelin

Tracy has worked with mothers and their newborns for over 12 years. She started her journey as a NICU nurse, working with medically fragile and premature infants.