Differences Between Breastfed and Formula-Fed Babies

You may notice (or hear of) some differences between your baby and babies who are formula-fed, especially if you’re in any groups for new moms in your community or on social media.

Hearing other moms talk about their formula-fed babies might perk up your ears a bit, making you wonder, “Is my baby’s sleep, weight gain, etc. normal?”

Chances are, yes! Here are some differences between breastfed and formula fed-babies.

  • Breastfed babies tend to wake up more easily at night. (The reasons for this difference are not clear, but it may contribute to the lower rate of SIDS among breastfed babies.)
  • Breastfed babies are leaner and tend to have healthier cholesterol levels later in life and less risk of becoming obese.
  • After 4 months of age, breastfed infants gain weight less rapidly for the remainder of the first year. Your pediatrician should take this weight gain difference into account when tracking your baby’s growth.
  • Breastfed babies go to the doctor for illness less frequently and are hospitalized less often than formula-fed babies. A 2010 study suggests that the U.S. would save $13 billion per year if 90% of U.S. families breastfed exclusively for 6 months.
  • Breastfed babies are often less constipated and have less smelly poop.

This message is not intended to provide individual medical advice. Always seek the advice of a physician or qualified healthcare provider for any questions you have about your health or medical condition, your breastfeeding issues and your infant's health. Never disregard, avoid or delay contacting a doctor or other qualified professional because of something you have read in our emails, webpages or other electronic communications.

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