Breastfeeding vs. Bottle Feeding

image001One of the most fiercely fought battles in the “mummy wars” is breast vs. formula feeding. Whether you breastfeed or formula feed your baby, you will always be scolded for one reason or the other. For instance, you may receive flak from others for breastfeeding in public places or be chastised for not giving your baby “natures perfect food” if you formula feed. Others' opinion may not matter to you in the least, but the real question to ponder is: what choice is right for you?

Breastfeeding vs. Bottle Feeding: Why Should I Choose Breastfeeding over Bottle Feeding?

Breast milk is the ideal food for infants (including premature and sick newborns) because it is cheap, readily available, not likely to cause allergies and its immunity composition food supplements help babies fight off some infections. During the first year of your baby’s life, his weight is bound to triple and the major source of this weight gain comes from the milk they drink.

Infant formulas have been developed to substitute for breast milk, though no formula has proven to be a direct replacement based of nutritional and immunity properties. Mothers may opt for formula feeding because of medical or other reasons best known to them.

Breastfeeding vs. Bottle Feeding: Advantages and Disadvantages

Comparison

Breastfeeding

Bottle Feeding

Advantages

Good for infant's immune system. Antibodies passed from mother to child help reduce the occurrence of diseases and improve the infants immune system.

More nutritious. Breast milk contains lactose, fats and certain proteins which are very easy to digest, rich and more nutritious for the all-round growth and development of the child.

Free. Breast milk is free and costs nothing. Since it improves immunity, it means there will be less visits to the doctor due to outbreak of infections.

Different flavors. Nursing mothers need about 500 extra calories per day which means they should eat a wide variety of foods. Different flavors are thus available for the child based on the kind of foods the mothers have eaten.

Chance to have "skin-to-skin" contact. Improves bonding and emotional connection of mother and child, especially with the skin-to-skin contact.

Good for mums’ physical health. Helps the mother burn calories and reduces risk of certain medical conditions such as high blood pressure and cardiovascular diseases.

Very convenient. Both parents and indeed any member of the family can take part in the bonding process of feeding a child. This makes feeding less stressful for the mother.

Quite flexible. Once the bottles are made, the child’s feeding for a particular period is taken care of and feeding can be done by anybody. Also feeding is not a particular problem in public places.

Less frequent. Formula food is heavier and less easy to digest than breast milk, so formula-fed babies eat less frequently.

Less worry about diet for mums. Mothers who feed their babies with formula need not worry about the kind of foods they eat and may not be too particular about their diet.

Disadvantages

More chances for being uncomfortable, especially at the onset of breastfeeding when latch-on pain is not familiar.

More frequent. Frequency and timing of breastfeeding may be inconvenient for the mother, especially in public places or very late at night.

Could be unsafe. Medical conditions such as HIV, certain treatments such as chemotherapy and certain medications may make breastfeeding unsafe for infants.

More concerts about diet for mums. Mothers should eat healthy and be careful about their food diet, especially alcohol and caffeine intake. Foods taken by the mother can be passed on to the child.

More Preparing work. Formula food involves more time and care in preparation. Proper storage for certain periods is also vital so as to prevent formation of bacteria which can harm the child.

Short of antibodies. Formula does not contain any of the antibodies found in breast milk and thus does not improve the immunity of the child against certain infections. This makes formula-fed babies more prone to infections.

More expensive. Formula can be very expensive depending on the kind you decide to use. But none is as cheap as breast milk.

More possible to cause bowel problems. Babies fed with formula are likely to have more gas and firmer bowel movements than their breastfed counterparts.

Breastfeeding vs. bottle feeding has been discussed for a long time. If you want to know more about it, watch the video below which adequately highlights the differences between breast milk and baby formulas:

Can’t I Use Both Forms of Feedings for My baby?

Combining breastfeeding with formula food is a much better option than stopping the breastfeeding of your baby totally. It is very possible to combine these two modes of feeding for your baby, but advisable to start this combination after a minimum of eight weeks. Exclusive breastfeeding is recommended for less than eight weeks, so the mother’s milk production is not affected.

Combination of both forms of feeding may be helpful for career mothers returning to work or mothers who find it difficult to produce enough breast milk. Reduction in breastfeeds should be done gradually to allow the breast to adjust to missing a breastfeed and reducing the risk of developing mastitis. For instance, if your swap a daytime breastfeed for a formula food bottle instead, your breast milk production at that time of the day will decrease.

When the baby is around six months old, his intake of milk will reduce as he is gradually introduced to solids. If you have not introduced your baby to formula food up until now, this may be the ideal time to do so, but it will take some time for him to adjust to formula food and the mode of feeding. The different sucking motions could confuse him, and if he can smell breast milk, he may be reluctant to take formula food. Try a variety of sucking teats that have been softened with warm water and you could ask someone else to try feeding him for starters. You may also change his normal breastfeeding position altogether as this may help him adjust quickly to the new position and the formula.