Will Formula Feeding Harm My Baby?

When a mother has her new child, she faces a tough decision: breastfeed or formula feed? Perhaps a combination of both? Many mothers have reservations about breastfeeding because of the time commitment and concerns over producing enough milk, but also fear that formula feeding could impact their baby's health. Are these fears warranted, or is formula feeding a safe and effective alternative to the natural method?

Breastfeeding not only provides your newborn with sustenance but it also creates a warm safe place your baby wants to be. All the skin on skin contact provided by breastfeeding creates a bond between mother and baby. And all the hormones produced gives you wonderful motherly feelings.
Formula was introduced as a supplement for mothers who couldn't breastfeed and should be treated as such. It will always be inferior, unless somebody comes up with a way to add live cultures specific to each mother and child, buI would never look down on somebody who couldn't breastfeed for any reason, and any breastfeeding is better than none!
I am living proof of the superiority of breast milk! My siblings were breastfed and I wasn't. I am lactose intolerant, have been diagnosed with IBS and have terrible allergies. My siblings have never suffered from either..

I think that this is a very personal decision and whatever a mother feels would be best for her and her baby than that choice is the right one! My daughter is 4 months old I breastfed her without any difficulties for the first 3 months. I began to notice that my milk supply was not keeping up with her demands, so I continue to give her breastmilk by pumping and I supplement with formula. She is just as happy and healthy as she was before. Of course I would have loved to keep breastfeeding exclusively, however it was not enough for my daughter to be satisfied which is sometimes the case. As long as you make a choice and do it lovingly, your baby will be happy ( =

While I don't think that feeding your baby formula is going to harm your baby, I think it is pretty common knowledge that breast milk is certainly a healthier choice for your child. Sometimes formula is needed.
Certainly formula is healthier for a child of a woman with HIV than her breastmilk is, considering that HIV can be transmitted through breastmilk. What about women who have to be on a medication?
When I went back to work, I could not pump enough during the day to feed my son, I had to supplement with formula. My work had a very accomodating pumping schedule for me (three to four half hour breaks a day, in addition to my lunch break), but I just couldn't make enough. The supplementation did not harm our nursing when I was at home. He is 12 months old now, and we are still nursing.
I have a cousin who planned to breastfeed exclusively, but never put in the amount of time required to breastfeed. She fed her son for 5 to 10 minutes at a time only three times a day! Furthermore, she did not eat nearly enough calories to make good breastmilk. She literally lived off of two cans of low fat chicken noodle soup a day for the first six months of her child's life. At 8 months old, her son had only gained three pounds. He was literally starving. Certainly, formula would have been better for him than her lame attempt at nursing. That is an extreme example, but it is a real one.
I think rather than demonizing formula we should be singing the praises of breastmilk. We should be making it easier for women to breastfeed by passing laws like the one recently passed in Colorado that makes all employers with more than 2 employees provide paid break time for pumping and offering national paid family leave, like in every other first world country. Formula should be marketed as a choice for mothers who for medical reasons cannot breastfeed, from HIV to borderline eating disorder (like my cousin, who, at the very least, got her prepregnancy figure back very quickly).
I don't think formula is an alternative to breast milk, but when breast milk is unavailable, it is certainly better than letting a baby starve.

Breastfeeding is not the "Gold-Standard". It is the biological norm. Formula is inferior to breastfeeding.

Much research I have seen clearly demonstrates the superiority of human milk to manufactured formula for human babies. But no one can adequately answer the question as you word it without obtaining more information on the specific "baby" in "my baby". After breastfeeding one child for several years, I experienced what appears to have been an idiopathic primary failure to lactate with another. While artificial infant milk may have been hazardous to the health of the first, withholding it would have been hazardous to the health of the second! So unless the wording of the question is stated more specifically, I must remain uncommitted.

I think it is especially sad that we are even having this debate. I don't personally know of a single mom who didn't at least try to breast feed. I appreciate that LLL and other organizations were very necessary twenty or thirty years ago when the tide had turned against breast feeding. However I believe that the majority of moms today are well aware of the risks and benefits on both sides. I think that breast milk is best whenever possible, however there are a lot of moms that aren't able to provide that for their baby for the entire first year or at all. I think by even having this debate you are just causing undue stress on those moms. My mom battled with breast feeding for three months. I consulted with LLL members, friends, and visited with a lactation consultant at least five times. By the end even my lactation consultant was recommending that I move to exclusive pumping. I was able to pump for until my son was eight months and we have been doing formula for the last two months. Yes, I would prefer to still be giving him breast milk, but that isn't want worked for us. I have enough personal guilt that breast feeding didn't work for us. What I don't need in my life is other mom, who didn't encounter the challenges I did, making me feel like less of a mom or a bad person for a decision that I made to preserve my sanity and my relationship with my son. Please continue to encourage breast feeding. Educate people. Offer resources. But DON'T make people feel scared or guilty when they are using formula.

Just a heads-up to users who might be confused by the format and phrasing of this question. The experts are answering the question, "Will Formula Feeding Harm My Baby?" so the "Yes" side is for breastfeeding and the no side is for formula (at least as an option). The poll on the right sidebar asks, "Should You Formula Feed?" It's not the same question. If you vote yes in the poll, you're voting with the No Side expert, and if you vote no in the poll, you're voting with the Yes Side expert.

Breastmilk will always be superior to formula, but formula needs to be there. My sister gave birth three days before my dad died. he body went into shock and she never produced milk again. Since we know formula doesn't measure up, that should be our opportunity to help make it better for unfortunate mothers like mny sister who simply cannot get her body to make milk.