Breastfeeding vs. Bottle-feeding

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If you are a mom to be, one of the difficult decisions you need to make is whether to breastfeed or to bottle-feed your baby. You may have heard “breast is best” but truth is there are many pros and cons of both breastfeeding and bottle-feeding.

 

Breastfeeding:

Breast milk provides the ideal nutrition for babies; it has a perfect mix of vitamins, protein and fat. It is more easily digested than formula. Breast milk contains antibodies that help fight off viruses and bacteria. Breastfeeding also has benefits for the mother; it will help you lose pregnancy weight faster, reduces the risk of breast and ovarian cancer, and lowers the risk of osteoporosis too. You save money because you don’t need to buy formula or bottles, you don’t need to worry about sterilizing nipples or to warm bottles so you have more time to bond with your baby.

The first few days after birth, your breasts make the ideal “first milk” which is called colostrum. Colostrum is a thick yellowish liquid that helps your baby’s digestive tract develop and to prepare itself to digest breast milk.

What are the benefits?

  • It’s always available
  • It’s free
  • It’s easily digestible
  • It contains infection-fighting white blood cells and natural chemicals that increases protection against infections.
  • It helps prevent SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome)
  • It contains the perfect nutrients.
  • It helps protect against allergies and asthma
  • Decreases baby’s risk of obesity in the future
  • It contains fatty acids that promote brain development.
  • Breastfeeding is linked to higher IQ scores.
  • The physical closeness and eye-to-eye contact help your baby bond with you and to feel secure.
  • Freshly pumped breast milk is good for 5 hours at room temperature.
  • Refrigerated breast milk for use within 5 days.
  • You can freeze breast milk for 5 months at a temperature of -5 degrees or for 1 year at a temperature of -20 degrees.

What are the challenges?

  • You may get sore, dry and cracked nipples
  • You may worry about producing enough milk
  • You may get blocked ducts
  • Inverted nipples
  • Pumping and storing milk
  • Breast infections such as mastitis

Bottle-Feeding:

Formulas have gotten better and better at matching the ingredients and nutrients to that of breast milk. A happy and unstressed mother is the best mother, if you choose not to breastfeed, do not feel bad, if bottle-feeding best fits your needs then it’s the best for meeting your baby’s needs as well.

What are the benefits?

  • The nipples come in various shapes and sizes.
  • Mixed formula from powder can be stored in the fridge for 24 hours.
  • You do not need to heat the formula, drinking it at room temperature is fine.
  • You do not need to worry about breastfeeding in public; you can bottle-feed your baby any time anywhere.
  • Your husband, child, mother, father or babysitter can also feed your baby.

What are the challenges?

  • You need to sterilize the bottle before use.
  • You need to replace the bottles frequently.
  • Chemicals leak from plastic when exposed to heat.

You need to decide if breastfeeding or bottle-feeding is best for you. What works for you may not work for your baby and vice versa. Decide on a feeding choice that suits both your needs.

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