Difference between breast milk and formula

Difference between breast milk and formula



You may be wondering why formula seems to have such a bad reputation when, if you were born during the 60’s or 70’s, there was a good chance you were bottle fed and also there was no maternal anxiety over the decision.


Back then, babies were also placed to sleep on their stomachs, a practice that is strongly advised against today due to the high risk of babies dying from SIDs.



Medical knowledge has advanced greatly over the decades, as has also our understanding of the unique properties of breast milk. And while many babies have successfully been nourished with formula; there are also good reasons why breast milk is considered the best choice for babies.


Differences between breast milk and commercial formula.



ALSO READ: ‘My husband is addicted to my breast milk’




Breast milk

Health Benefits for baby:

Designed by the human body to feed human babies; its composition changes to meet the needs of your baby or toddler.

Valuable antibodies protect babies against viral and bacterial infections such as:

  • Ear infections
  • Respiratory tract infections
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Bacterial meningitis
  • Necrotizing Enterocollitis

The longer you breastfeed, the more protection your baby has.

Decreases the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).

Improves baby’s brain development.

Easier to digest, decreasing baby’s risk of:

  • Diarrhea
  • Stomach Infection
  • Inflammation of the stomach

Has an analgesic effect, meaning it comforts baby when he or she experiences pain.

Decreases your baby’s risk of developing health issues later in life such as:

  • Obesity
  • Crohn’s Disease
  • Ulcerative colitis
  • Celiac Disease
  • Type I & II Diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Heart Disease
  • High cholesterol
  • Cancers such as acute lymphoblastic leukemia and neuroblastoma
Health benefits for mom:

Breast milk is always available, always the right temperature and also always free. Breast milk also requires no preparation.

Decreases your risk of developing:

  • Breast cancer
  • Ovarian cancer
  • Cardiovascular Disease
  • Type II Diabetes
  • Metabolic syndrome
  • Postpartum Depression
  • Hypertension
  • Osteoporosis

Alternative care-givers can feed your baby – if you express milk before hand


ALSO READ: Dear husband, taking care of baby is not a woman’s work – Pearl Osibu



Difference between breast milk and formula




Created in a lab, and in most cases, is commercially altered cow’s milk. Different brands and also different types of formula can lead to confusion; mistakes in preparation as well as contamination, putting your baby’s health at risk.

Formula does not contain the same antibodies found in breast milk. There are substances added to formula to help protect babies from illness but these are also not as easily absorbed by baby as breast milk and do not offer the same kind of protection. Higher concentrations of vitamins and minerals in formula make it more difficult to digest and more likely that your baby will suffer:

  • Gas
  • Constipation
  • Upset stomach


Formula must also be prepared following certain guidelines to ensure it is sterile and your baby doesn’t get sick. Bottles must always be thoroughly cleaned and as well as sanitized.

About The Author

Lilian Osigwe

Osigweh Lilian Oluchi is a graduate of the University of Lagos where she obtained a B.A (Hons) in English, Masters in Public and International affairs (MPIA). Currently works with 1stnews as a Database Manager / Writer. lilian.osigweh@1stnews.com

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