Deciding the best way to feed a newborn is a very personal choice for a woman. Whether she chooses breast feeding or bottle feeding, feeding time is an extremely important phase in the life of both a mother and an infant.
It also lays the foundation of the relationship between a mother and a child. Therefore, choosing the correct feeding method may pose as a tough choice for new mothers.
Here we’ve listed down all that you need to know about breast feeding and bottle feeding which would help newborn mothers in taking this important decision wisely.
Health professionals consider breast-feeding to be the best choice for babies. But for first-time mothers, it can take a few weeks for a mother and her newborn to get the hang of breast feeding, as both of them are learning the process together and they haven’t established a predictable feeding schedule.
Ultimately this decision lies with the parents, but parents should strongly consider breastfeeding as a very healthy option. Because of its numerous health and relational benefits, it is strongly suggested by all the medical practitioners.
Each drop of your breast milk contains thousands of components that can benefit your baby in numerous ways. The components include –
- Antibodies to protect against various illnesses
- Hormones that promotes regulate appetite
- Stem cells that supports organ development and repair
- White blood cells for fighting
- Prebiotics called oligosaccharides for baby’s healthy gut
- Fatty acids to help develop your baby’s brain and nervous system
- Enzymes to keep the digestive system intact
- Hormones that help develop healthy sleep-wake cycle
Benefits of Breast Feeding
Free of cost– Breast milk doesn’t cost a penny, though bottle feeding quickly adds up the cost of the bottle. So, unless you are processing breast milk and then feeding it to your infant; bottles, nipples and other items that may be pricey are not required. Since breastfed children are less prone to fall ill, that accounts to fairly less visits to the doctor’s hospital, and less money is spent for medications and over-the-counter drugs.
Unique tastes– Nursing mothers typically consume between 300 and 500 extra calories a day, which can come from a wide variety of foods. This exposes breastfed babies to diverse tastes through breast milk of their mothers, which has different flavors based on what their mothers have eaten.
Convenience– Breast milk is extremely convenient. With no last minute runs to the supermarket for more bottle milk, breast milk is still fresh and available regardless of whether you are at home or outside. And when women breastfeed, in the middle of the night there is no hassle of washing bottles and nipples,
Promotes emotional bonding- Most breast feeding mothers feel very glad to interact with their babies so closely. And the skin-to-skin contact can lead to a blooming emotional bond between the mother and the infant.
Beneficial for mothers- The opportunity to feed and nourish a baby will make a new mother feel comfortable in her abilities to take care of her children. Breast feeding also burns calories and helps the uterus to shrink, so women can easily shed their post pregnancy weight. The studies have also found that the chances of breast and ovarian cancer tends to greatly reduce in women who are breastfeeding.
Breast Feeding Challenges
Producing ample milk– One of the greatest challenges is producing enough milk to feed the kid when breast feeding. Females tend to get exhausted after a point of time, and this could really get in the way of producing milk.
When a woman first starts breast feeding , her nipples can get swollen and her breasts can get sore when the baby latches on and feeds, so feedings can get uncomfortable. Unlike bottle feeding, how much a breastfed infant has consumed and whether the infant has had enough milk may be difficult to predict.
More frequent feedings– Another challenge confronting mothers is that breast-fed babies need to eat more frequently than formula-fed infants so nursing a young baby could be a time-consuming and exhausting task.
Affects lifestyle habits- Similar to pregnancy, a breast feeding mother ought to be mindful about maintaining a balanced diet (she may still require an additional 400 to 500 calories a day) and change her lifestyle habits, such as consuming alcohol and smoking tobacco, while she is breast feeding relative to mothers who use formula feeding for their children.
Limited guidance and support– Many new mothers don’t have the appropriate knowledge and support regarding breast feeding. When a mother is inexperienced with breast feeding and how to do it, workshops are available to help her educate when she gives birth, as well as peer support groups.
There are of course times when it’s just not practical, or possible, to breastfeed. Especially for young and working mothers.
In such situations, the option of bottle feeding can act as a blessed substitute for mothers.
Typical bottled milk is made of processed skimmed cow’s milk with added emulsifiers and stabilisers to better balance the oils and water content. It also contains the following ingredients –
- Lactose (a natural sugar found in milk) and/or other sugars such as corn syrup, fructose or maltodextrin
- Plant-based oils, such as palm, rapeseed, coconut, sunflower and soybean oil
- Fatty acids, usually derived from fish oil
- Vitamins and minerals from plant and animal sources
- Many enzymes and amino acids
Benefits of bottle feeding
Good quality products – Despite being unable to match the goodness of mother’s milk, babies today are lucky to have really good quality products which are carefully produced and delivered. When breast feeding is not practical, bottle feeding is a suitable choice because it is a more healthy solution for infants than evaporated milk or cow’s milk.
More convenient – A mother can plan an infant bottle feeding routine so she doesn’t have to wake up in the middle of the night to feed the baby; a husband or caregiver might give the kid a bottle instead
No change in habits – Mothers who choose bottle feeding their baby don’t have to worry about altering their dietary behaviours to feed their baby. Caffeine, alcohol, and calorie intake is more flexible.
Bottle Feeding Challenges
More preparation and expense. Bottles and nipples need to be sterilized, and if a woman is not using ready-to-use formula, which is more expensive, it would be required to mix and prepare the formula.
Less protection from infection. Formula doesn’t provide all the specific nutrients that breast feeding can offer, and a baby doesn’t get the same immune protection that’s found in a mother’s milk. As a result, an infant who is bottle feeding is at a greater risk for developing infections during the infection years.
Additionally, bottle fed babies are more likely to have ear infections compared to breastfed infants.