The Hidden Cost of Baby Formula on Women's Health

Mothers who use baby formula incur more costs than breastfeeding Moms do. After all, they need to buy the formula, along with feeding bottles, artificial nipples, and sterilizing equipment. They also have to spend sterilize and store everything. However, there is a hidden cost of baby formula that many do not realize. This is the cost to women’s health in terms of increased risk to diseases and other conditions that women who do not breastfeed, or do so for limited periods, are exposed to.

When a woman uses baby formula, she ends up either not breastfeeding or doing so for a limited period. Because breastfeeding is part of the pregnancy and childbirth process, when a woman’s breastfeeding is disrupted by the use of baby formula, her health risks increase.

For women who do not breastfeed, or do so for a limited time, the risks for the following increases:

Breast Cancer

Non-breastfeeding women are at greater risk to develop breast cancer than women who breastfeed. The longer a woman breastfeeds, the greater is her protection against breast cancer. The scientific evidence for breastfeeding’s protective effect against cancer is so great that The World Cancer Research Fund/American Institute for Cancer Research identified breastfeeding and being breastfed as one of 10 ways to prevent cancer.

Being Overweight

For every month a woman breastfeeds after birth, her weight is reduced by 0.44 kg, according to a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Being overweight and obese increases the risk for a number of diseases, such as diabetes, heart disease and cancers. Since breastfeeding helps women control their weight, then it also helps protect breastfeeding women against those diseases that are associated with weight gain.


For every year that a woman breastfeeds, a woman’s risk for developing diabetes is lessened by 15%. This was found by a study published by the American Medical Association. The longer a woman breastfeeds, the more she is protected against diabetes.

Endometrial and Ovarian Cancers

Other studies have found that women who never breastfeed have increased risks of developing endometrial cancer than their breastfeeding counterparts. Moreover, those who breastfeed longer and have more children have greater protection against ovarian cancer.


Contrary to popular belief, breastfeeding makes for stronger bones. Higher bone density and fewer bone fractures were observed among women who had more children and breastfed for longer duration than women who never had any children or never breastfed.

Rheumatoid Arthritis

In a study published in Arthritis and Rheumatism, breastfeeding for at minimum of 1 year lessened women’s chances of having rheumatoid arthritis.

Stress and Anxiety

In a study in Biological Research for Nursing, mothers who use baby formula said they had fewer positive moods and positive events in their life, and more stress than breastfeeding mothers did. Formula-feeding Moms also had more experience of depression and anger than mothers who breastfeed. Breastfeeding causes oxytocin to rush into the mother’s brain. Oxytocin is a hormone that creates positive feelings and increases feelings of trust. No wonder it is also called the “feel good” and “love” hormone.

Closely Spaced Pregnancies

Breastfeeding, when it is done exclusively during the first six months after birth, has a natural contraceptive effect. According to a study published in the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, none of the test women who were breastfeeding got pregnant within six months after birth. Women who use baby formula do not have this natural reduced fertility.

Using baby formula brings about more costs than what can be computed in dollars and cents. Baby formula increases a family’s – and society’s – medical expenses, reduces productivity, and could even contribute to death. If one wants to understand the real cost of baby formula, you should take all this into consideration. Parents, especially, should be aware of the hidden cost of baby formula so that they can make an informed choice on the feeding and care of their children.

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