Formula Will Never Be as Good as Breast Milk Even if This Study Says So

baby with bottleThere is a part of me that reads a study that says formula is as good as breast milk for iodine levels and I only see "formula is as good as breast milk." And that is just wrong. Nothing is going to be as good as mama's milk. This is not a knock on formula feeding moms -- I love all you, mamas. I know you're all doing what you can. But saying that formula is as good as breast milk is disregarding all the hard work a woman puts into breastfeeding, and how good it is. It's like saying the amazing babysitter is just as good as mom. Sure, the babysitter could be really fantastic, but she just isn't mom. No one can be. Just like nothing can be breast milk.

But then there is a part of me that sees "formula is as good as breast milk" and I feel it's some sort of vindication for formula feeding moms. I know I'm a good mom. I also had to leave my kids with the awesome babysitter if you know what I mean.


I breastfed my twins for about 16 months, but I also had to supplement with formula when my supply dwindled. I'm standing in both camps. I get it. I felt the guilt. I lived through it. And I have always felt formula should be better than it is. And formula companies should be better for the moms who must go the formula route. It's never going to be as good as breast milk, but it can be better than it is. We should always expect the best for our babies, even when we cannot breastfeed.

Still, the statement that formula is just as good as breast milk when it comes to iodine levels is just one area. I'm glad formula companies can get something as best as they can. Iodine is key for thyroid hormone synthesis and for mental and physical development. And the researchers found that both breastfed and formula-fed babies are iodine sufficient, which is great. But to celebrate this is premature. So much more needs to be done to make formula better, to make formula companies better. And so much more needs to be done to help moms breastfeed, including having more people support and not discriminate against breastfeeding mothers.

What do you think of this study?


Image via David Precious/Flickr

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