Breast is best, right? Not necessarily.

As it turns out, formula fed babies are considered just as healthy, as long as mum does her homework beforehand.

Okay, so before we bring out the breast/bottle boxing gloves, let us start by saying that we all know that breastmilk is good for baby. It’s a known fact. Breastfeeding is a beautiful bonding experience that comes with heaps of benefits for both mum and bub.

But if you, for whatever reason, are not able to breastfeed and turn to formula feeding instead, it can feel like you’ve failed at this aspect of being a mum (which, you have NOT). New research reveals formula fed babies are JUST AS HEALTHY as breastfed babies.

That’s right. JUST AS HEALTHY. So even if you can’t breastfeed, you don’t have to feel like you’ve let anyone down by formula feeding, especially not your baby.

Fed is best. As long as you do your research.

According to a paper published in the journal Social Science & Medicine: Population Health, as long as you have done the research about breastfeeding, health and nutrition, then you’re giving your baby the best start to life.

The study explains,

“Only about half of mothers who intend to breastfeed are able to do so. Often their ability to breastfeed is beyond their control and not known until their baby is actually born.

The findings suggest that the benefits of breastfeeding reported in the vast majority of prior research could be influenced by the mother’s characteristics, such as what they know about health and nutrition.”

In other words? As long as you are educating yourself about baby’s nutritional needs, you’re doing the right thing, even if you don’t end up breastfeeding in the end. 

Informed mumma, healthy bubba

“What we found is that intending [breastfeeding] mothers had more information about nutrition and diet; they more frequently consulted their physicians; and had better access to information related to infant health than those moms who did not intend to breastfeed,” says study co-author, Jessica Su.

The findings are based on data from more than 1000 participants in the Infant Feeding Practices Study II. Researchers are hoping the results will lead to health care professionals better educating expectant mums about feeding their newborns. And hopefully not pushing the ‘breast is best’ angle so much, which can lead to some serious new mum shame if unsuccessful.

Of course, breastfeeding is the ideal option for most mums. And 96% of new Aussie mums intend to breastfeed their babies. But if you cannot breastfeed, then don’t stress. You’re still doing an awesome job and giving your baby the best start to life with formula feeding.

After all, whether your baby is fed breast milk or formula, they will still end up eating play dough when you’re not looking. Oh and sand. Possibly dog food too. And sometimes – ugh – even their own poo.

For more information on infant feeding, check out these photos celebrating the Fed is Best message.

 

Author

Born and raised in Canada, Jenna now lives in Far North Queensland with her tribe, including her son, daughter, cat, dog and partner. When she's not writing, you can find her lounging by the pool, watching princess movies, frolicking on the beach or nagging her kids to put on their pants.

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