Curious...: HRT vs breastfeeding

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-11-2006
Curious...: HRT vs breastfeeding
Sat, 07-13-2013 - 10:21pm
What Are the Pros and Cons of Hormone Replacement Therapy?


Prevents bone loss that can lead to osteoporosis

Relieves symptoms of menopause

Lowers risk of colon cancer

Lowers risk of macular degeneration, vision loss that occurs when the macula, the part of the retina at the back of the eye that provides sharp, central vision, deteriorates with age


While HRT may help many women get through menopause, the treatment is not risk-free. Known health risks include:

An increased risk of endometrial cancer (if a woman still has her uterus and is not taking progesterone along with estrogen)

Increased risk of blood clots

Increased risk of stroke

Increased risk of gallbladder disease

Increase in blood pressure in some women

Increased risk of larger, more invasive breast cancers (combination HRT only)

The decision to use hormone therapy after menopause should be made by a woman and her healthcare provider after weighing all of the potential risks (including breast cancer, stroke and blood clots) and benefits (relief of menopause symptoms and prevention of osteoporosis). Scientists are continuing to learn more about the effects of HRT.

Further Reading:

Hormone Replacement Therapy and Breast Cancer Risk

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-11-2006
Sat, 07-13-2013 - 10:29pm

Breastfeeding vs. Formula Feeding

Of all the battles in the "mommy wars," none may be more fiercely fought than breast vs. formula.

If you breastfeed your baby, you may catch flack for nursing in public. If you formula feed, you may be scolded that you're not feeding your baby "nature's perfect food" -- breast milk.

Welcome to mommy guilt. No matter what you decide, other people will surely have an opinion. Only one thing really matters: Which choice is right for you?


The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends breast milk as the best nutrition for infants. Babies should be breastfed exclusively for the first six months, according to the AAP. After other foods have been introduced, the AAP encourages mothers to continue to breastfeed until baby is at least a year old, and as long after that as both mother and child are willing.

Breast milk is good for your baby in many ways:

It provides natural antibodies that help your baby resist illnesses, such as ear infections.

It's usually more easily digested than formula. So breastfed babies are often less constipated and gassy.

It may lower the risk of sudden infant death syndrome in the first year of your baby's life.

It may raise your child's intelligence. Studies show breastfed babies have higher levels of cognitive function.

Breast milk may even help your child in later years, by reducing the risk of being overweight, and of developing asthma, type 1 and type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, Hodgkin's disease, leukemia, and lymphoma.

Breastfeeding is good for moms, too. Women who breastfeed have a reduced risk of breast cancer, diabetes, heart disease, osteoporosis, and ovarian cancer.

But let's not forget a key reason many new moms want to breastfeed. It's a wonderful bonding experience with your baby.

Formula Feeding

Formula feeding is also a healthy choice for babies. If you use a formula, your baby will get the best possible alternative to breast milk. (You should not attempt to make your own formula or feed an infant cow's milk.)

Many moms choose formula for a variety of reasons:

It's convenient. Formula-fed babies can be fed by anyone at any time.

It's flexible. You don't have to fit pumping into your work schedule. Instead, you can simply leave formula for your babysitter or day care center.

Your partner can help out with nighttime feedings and share that bonding experience with your baby.

Scheduling feedings may be easier. Formula isn't digested as quickly as breast milk, so formula-fed babies don't need to eat as often, especially in the first few months.

You don't have to worry about what you eat. Moms who breastfeed may have to avoid certain foods that her baby can't tolerate.

You can have a glass of wine or a cocktail once in a while. Alcohol is a no-no for women who breastfeed because they pass on tiny amounts of it to their babies.

Whichever way you choose to feed your baby -- breast milk, formula, or a combination of both -- the most important thing is that your baby is well fed, well cared for, and loved. So ditch the mommy guilt!

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-11-2006
Sat, 07-13-2013 - 10:57pm

Is it just me? Or do these WebMD article read very differently? On the whole, HRT can not be recommended because of the risks. Similarly, on the whole, formula is more risky than breastfeeding. Based on personal circumstances, any mom might choose HRT or formula.

Although the risks of formula are very difficult to measure, I suspect that they are similar to the risks of HRT. (I am sure there are many who would argue that they are greater.)

What I find curious about the WebMD links is the difference in the  tone of the articles. IMO, HRT is presented as an option that has known risks. I wish that formula were presented similarly, as I believe the risks are comparable.

Oftentimes in this debate analogies are presented such as formula vs smoking. IMO, the analogy is appropriate, but the level of risk is very different. I suspect that the risk of smoking two packs per day for twenty years is much greater than than whether or not one was breastfed.

That is very different from what I am saying here. I am saying that the measurable risk of HRT is roughly equivalent to the measurable risk of infant formula. In neither case is the risk so over whelming that the product (hormone replacement or commercial infant formula) should be banned. However, the risks in both cases are known and should be considered when making a decision about the usage.

I think the WebMD article about HRT is well written. It presents the option of therapy while acknowleging the risks. It also encourages a consult with a knowledgeable medical person.

The WebMD breastfeeding article, OTOH, presents the idea that infant feeding is a personal "choice" rather than a medical one. It uses formula industry propaganda such as dads can help with feeding, don't feel guilty, "mommy wars" and holds formula as the norm while breastfeeding is considered better or worse. In addition the artilce has erroneous information such as: "Alcohol is a no-no for women who breastfeed because they pass on tiny amounts of it to their babies."

Do you find the differences in the artilcles interesting? Does the HRT article allow for the decision to use it while acknowledging the risks? Does the formula article attempt to white wash the differences between breast and bottle, emphasizing choice rather than risk?