Free The Controversy: Breastfeeding Vs. Formula Feeding Research Paper Example

Type of paper: Research Paper

Topic: Breastfeeding, Children, Family, Women, Health, Feeding, Formula, Parents

Pages: 8

Words: 2200

Published: 2021/01/02

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There has been a long, on-going debate about the issue of mothers with young babies having to either breastfeed them or bottle-feed them especially when in public. Breastfeeding is a relatively primitive method of feeding a child who has its own benefits, of health and well-being of the child and the mother. On the other hand, there is formula feeding which has its own advantages of feeding along with the added comfort of feeding; however, it has its disadvantages as well. Both these methods are used separately by people who belong to different parts of the world or come from different social backgrounds. It is highly important to look at the advantages and disadvantages of both before one can give a convict over the better of the two methods. (Formula Feeding vs. Breastfeeding | Baby Development).
The advantages of breastfeeding are given as it being good for the health of both the mother and the baby. Breast milk carries the natural ingredients of health and goodness for the child. It is God-gifted formula containing all the vitamins and minerals necessary for the child’s immunity and strength as well as a healthy development. It is also essential to be given at the time of the first feed that the child gets because the milk carries all the needed nutrition for the child to open its eyes to the world and to live in it. It is said that at least six months of feeding is necessary for the child so that he or she establishes a strong immune system and does not fall ill or prey to various diseases. Children who have been breastfed have lower mortality rate from various illnesses as well as develop healthier and stronger than children who are not breastfed. According to the WHO report, children who were breastfed for six months did not incur diarrhea and had good brain development. Breast milk is specifically tailored to the baby. The mother’s body responds to pathogens (virus and bacteria) that are in your body and secretes antigens that's specific to those pathogens, creating protection for the baby based on whatever one is exposed to. Not only that, it also prevents the baby from developing allergies and also prevents the child from getting long-term illnesses such as diabetes 1 and 2 and prevents from various cancers with older age as well. (Disanto, J).
In addition, breastfeeding helps to establish a very strong emotional bond between the mother and the child. It also helps to strengthen the mother as well. It is good for the emotional health of the mother and also prevents her from gaining all that extra weight that mothers gain during conception. It helps to keep her active and it develops a special bond between the mother and her child so that she and her baby can bond well in their life. (Web M.d).
However, as the risk of diseases caused by breastfeeding may be significantly reduced, there are chances that not all diseases can be prevented by breastfeeding. There are many diseases such as cardiovascular diseases, mental diseases and increased cognitive performance that are unconnected with breastfeeding. Sometimes, breastfeeding also takes a toll on the mother’s health because she may not be having a diet supportive enough for her to feed the child and keep herself healthy at the same time due to which many mothers lose excessive weight and often become weak and susceptible to back aches and bodily weakness. (Breastfeeding vs. Bottle Debate Gets Ugly).
The most basic disadvantage of breastfeeding is that caused by mothers feeding their children in public. People get squeamish and uncomfortable at the sight and discourage this activity in the open. Some hold the opinion that is an unseemly activity that must be done in private because it is a private affair that must not be done in front of everyone. It is also considered unfavorable because there is no timing for it. Many times women who feed their children in hotels or cafes have been asked to leave the place or quit feeding because it seemed inappropriate and made others around them uncomfortable. They are also criticized by mothers who bottle feed their children and have to bear derogatory remarks or disapproving looks because they are nursing in public.
On the other hand, there is formula feeding that also carries some advantages and disadvantages. One advantage of it is it being ready to use; the formula is liquid, concentrated liquid or powdered. It is up to the mother to decide which formula to use, how long to use and when it is planned for use such as when the mother is going out or would be out for a long time. Formula feed is also known to be heavy hence it digests slower than breast milk and the feed needn’t be given after short intervals. The biggest advantage of all is the convenience in feeding because the mother can give the bottle to anyone, any other caregiver, and she does not have to be around the child all the time. This is especially helpful when the mother is working.
However, there are some disadvantages that accompany formula feeding. Firstly, it is the careful measurement that needs to be taken care of when mixing it with water. Secondly, the bottle and the pacifier need to be rigorously sterilized so that the child cannot get into contact with germs and bacteria of any sort. Also, formula feed does include all nutritional components but it does not include antibodies necessary to boost the child’s immune system. It can also cause the child to develop gas in the stomach and constrict the bowel movements, as compared to the child who is being breastfed.
Formula feeding is done by three main ways: Powdered milk, liquid concentrate, and ready-to-feed. With powdered milk comes the responsibility of choosing the correct brand that suits all the nutritional needs of the child. Moreover, while preparing the feed, the amount required should be in accordance with the weight and age of the child. (Jana, L).
Liquid concentrate needs to be mixed with water as well in accordance with the child’s age with water that is well-boiled or sterilized and special precaution needs to be taken in storage as the formula can go bad hence it should be kept in the coolest part of the refrigerator for staying fresh. (Chopra, S., Lotvin, A., & Fisher, D).
Ready to feed requires no mixing or measuring and is readily available in small containers of a few ounces. However, though they are convenient, they are the most costly out of the above-mentioned methods of feeding.
Furthermore, a comparison between breastfeeding and formula feeding is raised on the basis of their cost analysis and the amount required for each of the processes. There is a significant amount of health experts and doctors who recommend breastfeeding for infants and encourage it during the first few months of life. However, there remains a very low rate of mothers who feed their children in the age period of three to six months. Breastfeeding can actually help to save millions of dollars because it is cost effective and natural and moreover prevents the child from acquiring any illness. This does not only save the cost required for buying the formula feed but also saves the doctor’s fee and extra expenditure on medicine and treatment if the child falls sick. Breastfeeding is economic and healthy at the same time. (Cook, W. J., Johnson, R. V., & Krych, E. H). A comparison of the costs for both the methods showed that families could save up to $2500 a year if they took to breastfeeding in place of formula feeding. According to some health experts breastfeeding should be continued through one and one a half years of age even till two years and that could help save heaps of money and the family can invest that in any other way. Substantial savings could be made if the family took to breastfeeding. A 2001 study revealed that if the rates of breastfeeding went up 21 percent from the current amount, then $3.6 billion could be saved all over the country. A study conducted in 2010 in the Pediatrics read that if 90 percent families living in the United States would take to breastfeeding only for six months then the country could save well up to $13 billion annually and moreover they can prevent over a thousand deaths that occur due to children’s’ illnesses. (Dallas, M).
The biggest advantage of breastfeeding is that it is absolutely free. For mothers who stay at home and do not work, it is convenient for them to breastfeed their children along with saving up a handsome amount that could have gone in formula feeding. For those women who work out there is the added conveniences of having to purchase a breast pump for easier feeding. The cost of buying a pump is much less than the total cost of purchasing a whole year’s supply of formula feed and other expenses. (Ellington, S., & Triplett, S).
Not only are there concerns about the costs of feeding the children through formula feed but then there are children who have specific needs such as those being intolerant to cow’s milk and would need soy milk for an alternative which then increases the expenses even more. (Hobey, P., & Nied, A)
However, there are a few downs in breastfeeding too especially for the mother who is working out. The mother may have to take maternity leave from work so that she may feed the child and spend time with him. Sometimes she may have to take a few hours off work and work half time, and this will reduce her overall earnings. (The Economics of Breastfeeding, n.pag).
There exist some differences in rates of breastfeeding among women who belong to various ethnic and racial backgrounds. In the year 2000, the prevalence of breastfeeding among black women was 58.9% and among white women is as about 75.2%. 80% of Hispanics took to breastfeeding over formula feeding. Although the trend over breastfeeding increased with the passage of time, there still remained a low rate among the black women who took to breastfeeding as compared to women of other races. Wiessinger, D., West, D., & Pitman, T).
A major issue related to this is the breastfeeding in the public issue that discourages many women from breastfeeding their children especially when they have to go out or have to nurse in public. It is usually other women who pass remarks or look at nursing women derogative because they think it is inappropriate and something private that needs to be done at home in the privacy of the bedroom or in seclusion and not out in the open. However, it is nothing illegal or that inappropriate because it is natural. In fact, nursing a baby in public can have the added impact of encouraging other women to feed their children as well since it is healthy for their child. (Slusser, W).
However, the pains of this are associated with women also. Some do not breastfeed because they know that it is something untimely, and the child may get hungry when the mother is out with him, and she would then have to feed him. Some women feel shy about it and worry if they would not be able to do it right especially when in public. (Fredregill, S., & Fredregill, R).
However, breastfeeding in public has a legal standpoint to it. It is a woman’s right to feed her child and give her best. The breasts are not only an object of sexuality but nature’s own way of feeding the infant born to a woman. In the United States, it is the legal right of a woman to feed her child anywhere in public because it is for the well-being of the baby. Some states even implement that specific legislation that protects the right of the mother and the child when she is feeding. Seventeen states have passed laws that allow women to breastfeed in public, and there are thirteen that exempt breastfeeding in public from under the indecency laws. It is only an issue of modesty and exposure when the mother is feeding that makes it controversial otherwise it is an activity that needs exposure and support. It depends on the mother as to what degree she respects this issue and if she does breastfeed in public she is careful of not getting overexposed as this leads to her hearing remarks from those going on about her. (Wallace, K).
Breastfeeding in the United States is a favored activity where it is beneficial to the family as well as the country because it is healthy and safe. According to the United States Breastfeeding Committee, breastfeeding is good for the family. Human milk is preferred by health experts because of its natural goodness, health, and immunity-boosting characteristics. Moreover, it is essential to make a foundation in the child’s life as a method to promote goodness and well-being. It is good for employers because 50 percent of women working in the labor force are usually prevented from taking days off due to their child’s illness, and long maternity leaves are prevented. Moreover in the country lactation is good for the economy. Mothers can save their children from fatal illnesses, and they can benefit from this as this process is completely free of cost. Also, as there is no cost required for packaging or transporting, breastfeeding is environment-friendly and green. (Bologna, C).
Around the world, there are various countries where breastfeeding is highly encouraged and practiced. Taking Madagascar as an example, 48% of the women breastfeed their infants. Then comes Bolivia where the rate of breastfeeding is 50%, ninth highest in the world. It is an a poor country where formula feed cannot be afforded. Egypt and Iran are at 56% where in both the countries there is sufficient knowledge of breastfeeding and many women adhere to it as the safest for their children. Uganda stands at 57%, a poor country however, it sticks to breastfeeding. Eritrea has a population of 59% of women breastfeeding their children. Peru has a high rate of 71% of the women breastfeeding their children. Malawi is a poor country with 72% of women breastfeeding their children out of which many women have HIV AIDS. Nepal has 74% of women breastfeeding their children because of the various awareness campaigns. Sri Lanka has a high rate 76% where there is much awareness among women about the benefits of it. And Rwanda, a poor country where a vast majority of the women have HIV or Aids, yet they manage to breastfeed their children; up to 90% of the women do. (Abano L).
Breastfeeding is, on the whole, a personal choice of the mother. At the same time, formula feeding is also a personal choice. Both the methods are safe, and the choice lies in the hands of the parent; she will choose which is more convenient for her and what suits her needs. Therefore, one cannot be placed more importance over the other because they are more or less similar in nature and beneficial to the child. No one can impose one method on a mother since it is a personal decision; however, the mother must have awareness on both before she decides which one she wants to go with.


Abano, L. (2014, April 14). 10 Countries With The Highest Breastfeeding Rates.Web. 14 April 2014. N.pag. 25 Mar. 2015
Breastfeeding Saves Dollars and the Economy. Web. N.d. N.pag. 25 Mar, 2015
Breastfeeding vs. Bottle Debate Gets Ugly. (2014, August 21). Web. 21. Aug, 2014. N.pag. 25, Mar. 2015.
DiSanto, J.Breastfeeding vs. Formula Feeding. Web. 1 Jan 2012. N.pag. 25 Mar. 2015
Dallas, M. The Economics of Breastfeeding: A Cost-Benefit Analysis - Ph.D. in Parenting. Web. 20 Mar, 2011. N.pag. 25 Mar, 2015.
Ellington, S., & Triplett, S. The must-have mom manual: Two mothers, two perspectives, one book that tells you everything you need to know. New York: Ballantine Books.Print.
Jana, L.. Formula Form and Function: Powders, Concentrates, and Ready-to-Feed. Web. 9 Jul. 2014. N.pag. 25 Mar. 2015
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Slusser, W. CDC. Web. 2007. N.pag. 25 Mar 2015.Choosing the formula that's best for your baby can be tough for new moms. Here are some tips. Web. 25 Jan 2015. N.pag. 25 Mar 2015.
Fredregill, S., & Fredregill, R.The everything breastfeeding book: Basic techniques and reassuring advice every new mother needs to know. Avon, MA: Adams Media. 2002. Print
Hobey, P., & Nied, A. The working gal's guide to Babyville: Your must-have manual for life with baby. Cambridge, MA: Da Capo Press.
Cook, W. J., Johnson, R. V., & Krych, E. H. MayoClinic guide to your baby's first year. Intercourse, PA: Good Books.Web. 2012. N.pag. 25Mar 2015.
Chopra, S., Lotvin, A., & Fisher, D. Doctor Chopra says: Medical facts and myths everyone should know. New York: Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martin's Press.
Wiessinger, D., West, D., & Pitman, T. The womanly art of breastfeeding. Newyork: Ballantine Books. 2012. Print
Bologna, C.. How Breastfeeding Is Viewed Around The World. Web. 16 Sept 2014. N.pag. 25 Mar 2015.
Wallace, K.. Why are we still so squeamish about breastfeeding? - Web. 29. Aug. 2014. N.pag. 25 Mar 2015.
Web M.D. Breastfeeding Benefits. Web. 2015. N.pag. 25 Mar 2015.

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