Should I Breastfeed or Bottle-feed My Baby?

College of DuPage Nursing Student Tiffany Alindog writes that Motherhood is something most, is not all women look forward to. When it comes to having your first child or having a second, third, or fourth child, the question mothers often ask is, “am I doing what’s best for my child?” The answer to this question is based on how one would raise their child. Such questions as, is it more nutritious for a child to breastfeed or bottle-feed, and the advantages and disadvantages to this, are ultimately up to the mother or parents and what they prefer.

When considering infant nutrition, let’s consider some benefits of breastfeeding compared with bottle-feeding. Breastfeeding is recommended by The American Pregnancy Association during the first 6 months of life. Breast milk contains a perfect balance of nutrients that are easily digested and absorbed by the child. Moreover, it is free, always the perfect temperature, requires no preparation, is readily available at nearly any place and any time provides skin-to-skin contact and facilitates bonding between mom and baby. When breastfeeding, the latch by the baby to the nipple stimulates the release of the hormone oxytocin for milk to flow. A mother’s milk contains immunoglobulins that provide passive immunity for the baby (mother’s immune system goes to a baby through breastmilk). Given all of these advantages, the only disadvantage is the difficulty some mothers have with breastfeeding. Consulting a lactation consultant is beneficial, as they have many great tips to support new moms. There may also be medical reasons which prevent breastfeeding in certain cases, such as illness, the use of medications, or a lack of milk production. Breast tenderness and nipple soreness are common during the first week but usually resolves quickly.

Some mothers are not able to breastfeed. In this circumstance, it is helpful to remember that this doesn’t make you a bad mom! The formula is a healthy alternative for a child to obtain the necessary nutrients. Here are some benefits to bottle feeding your baby: 1) anyone, i.e., a grandparent or babysitter, can also easily feed your baby while you work or spend some time with your partner; 2) you can get help ‘around the clock.’ A partner or caregiver can help out with nighttime feedings and have the added bonus of bonding with baby while you get some much-needed rest; 3) you may not have to feed the baby as frequently, as babies typically digest formula more slowly resulting in fewer feeding sessions.

With every advantage, however, there is often a disadvantage and with a bottle, feeding cost is a disadvantage. The formula is expensive; the cost ranging from $54-$198/month depending on the brand. In addition, preparation time is required and not all babies tolerate formula. Perhaps the greatest disadvantage is that formula does not contain immunoglobins which provide the baby with passive immunity from the mother.

All things considered, when deciding to breastfeed or bottle-feed, ultimately the choice is yours and whatever is best for your child, although the love, attention, and care that you are providing to your child in this decision is also a very important part of doing what is best for your child.

References:

Breastfeeding vs Bottle-Feeding. Retrieved from https://americanpregnancy.org/breastfeeding/breastfeeding-and-bottle-feeding/

 

Breastfeeding vs. formula feeding: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://medlineplus.gov/ency/patientinstructions/000803.htm

 

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