Difference between Breast Milk and Formula Feeding

One of the most crucial decisions for a new mother to make is to choose between breast milk and formula feeding for her baby. To most of us, it is known that breastfeeding is the best way to feed a new-born, but there are many who don’t know why. Experts recommend breastfeeding since it helps prevent allergies and illnesses in an infant. But some mothers, maybe due to their lifestyle or a medical condition, prefer formula feeding for their child. In order to make an informed choice for your child, read on to learn the advantages and drawbacks of each.


Breast Milk vs Formula Feeding
Two samples of breast milk (the left one produced initially, and the right one produced later).

Breast milk is natural milk that is produced by human female breasts to feed the new-born. For any new-born, milk is the only and foremost nutrition source, at least for the first six months until they are able to digest other food. Nevertheless, slightly older infants may also be breastfed while they are given other foods to eat, for periods of up to a year or more.

On the contrary, Formula feeding or formula milk for infants is cow’s milk which is processed to suit the baby’s digestion. When it comes to formula milk, it may comprise several things including antioxidants, re-structured vegetable oils, and soya protein. You can find various types of formula milk such as first milk, second milk and follow–on milk. Before choosing one, it is really important to check the labels since the type of milk you give to the baby may affect his health.

Breast Milk vs Formula Feeding

Breastfeeding and formula feeding are two different forms of feeding a new-born. However, the purpose of both is the same. The difference concerns the nutrients contained by each. Breastfeeding involves swallowing of the milk by the baby directly from the mother’s breast.  Formula feeding  provides the baby with prepared milk by means of a baby bottle.

Breast milk is the healthiest milk for babies, and is recommended by doctors for the initial six months after the birth of a baby. In fact, experts discourage the use of any supplement for these six months. During the initial delivery hour colostrum, the first secretion from the mammary glands after giving birth, is rich in antibodies and nutrients such as fat, water, protein and sugar – all in the appropriate amounts. These help the child develop a strong immune system to fight diseases.

Formula milk is usually given when the mother either fails to produce milk or is taking some medication. It is also suggested if the mother is ill with some disease.

Comparison Chart

Breast milk Formula Feeding
Breast milk is natural milk. Formula milk is custom made to substitute breast milk.
Breast milk helps the baby develop immunity by passing antibodies to him. Formula feeding does not pass any antibodies.
This type of feeding includes over 100 ingredients. Formula feeding fails in this context.
Breast feeding is a direct process from mother to child. Formula feeding involves a bottle or some kind of container to feed the baby.
Breast milk has more whey than curd which makes it easy to digest for the baby. Formula feeding has more curd and makes it hard for the baby to digest it.
Breast milk makes baby feel hungry at frequent time intervals due to easy digestion. It being difficult to digest makes baby feel full for longer.