Breastfeeding is the best method of feeding a newborn baby. It benefits both the mother as well as the baby. It is the most nutritious, easily digestible, readily available, and the purest and cleanest source of nutrition. Breast milk boosts immunity and improves the bond between the mother and the child. This bond gives physical, mental, and emotional health to the baby. However, a new mom may be overwhelmed with many responsibilities and may find it difficult to feed the baby time and again. There may be work responsibilities or even medical reasons that breastfeeding may seem next to impossible. And that's where bottle-feeding gets into the picture. It can be feeding the formula to the baby or using the breast milk expressed through a breast pump. This article takes up the breastfeeding vs bottle feeding aspect of the mother and baby’s feeding journey. We hope to clear all your doubts!
The Take on Breastfeeding
Mother's milk is no less than the Holy Grail for a newborn. Nature's miracle, it is as if tailor-made for the baby. A newborn is completely dependent on its mother for feeding. Breast milk offers numerous benefits including,
- On comparing breastfeeding vs bottle feeding, breast milk is inexpensive and super convenient. A mother can feed the baby as and when required. No extra supplies such as feeding bottles are needed.
- It develops a bond between the mother and the baby. The hormones you release while breastfeeding and your skin contact will give that required warmth to the baby. It also helps in improving the emotional connection between a mom and a baby.
- The antibodies and growth enzymes in breast milk develop a baby’s immunity and help it fight sickness. This improves the baby’s overall health.
- Your baby gets the taste of all types of foods you eat while breastfeeding. This results in babies who are not picky eaters as they are adjusted to different tastes already.
- Breastfeeding helps moms to lose weight easily and fast post-delivery. Breast milk production burns calories and this helps moms to get fit sooner.
- It also lowers the chances of certain diseases in women who breastfeed. Research shows that breastfeeding mothers have reduced chances of breast cancer, ovarian cancer, uterine cancer, high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes.
- No preparation and cleaning is involved in case you are breastfeeding. You don't have to worry about the sterilization of the feeding equipment.
- Breastmilk is easily digestible by the baby. Its light composition is best for a baby's little tummy.
When to Choose Bottles?
Breastfeeding for some women may be a complicated task. There are certain situations when a mother is unable to breastfeed and a bottle should be used, such as,
- Breastfeeding for some moms is painful due to certainmedical conditions such as mastitis (infection accompanied with inflammation in the breast tissue), sore nipples, thrush, or clogged milk ducts. Breastfeeding is even unsafe in case a mother is undergoing some medical treatment like chemotherapy or is on certain medications.
- Some women may experience latch-on pain which may become unbearable and they have to switch to an alternative.
- Pumping is required in case you are going to be away from your baby and your baby is adjusted only to breastmilk. It, no doubt, is going to make your task easier but requires some extra time and effort. You would need to pump out extra milk supply to be always one step ahead of your baby’s feeding schedule.
- Breastfeeding is a never-ending process in the initial days and may make the mother feel tired and stressed. It requires consistent effort and commitment. Breastfed babies even need to be fed more frequently than formula-fed babies.
If you are to start the bottle feeding journey of your newborn, do take a look at our top picks for the best glass feeding bottles for your little one.
The Take on Pumping
If you are a mom who desires only to breastfeed, you can use a breast pump to express your feed and use it as and when required. It can surely help you in the extraction, pumping, and storing of milk at your comfort and that can be used at any time and anywhere. Anyone can feed the baby, what you need to do is to express and store the milk for future use. Here we list the reasons why and when you should use a breast pump.
- If you are working and wish to breastfeed your baby, use the breast pump. The expressed milk, if stored hygienically, can be served to the baby as and when required
- Pumping supports night feeding and gives the mother the required rest. You can express the milk and feed your baby when required. This will work great for both you and your baby
- Your child would eventually become adjusted to the expressed milk feed using a bottle or sipper. This would lower your burden to breastfeed time and again. All you need to do is to express the milk as per convenience and feed the baby at the right time
- You have more control over the feed and the feeding schedule becomes more organized
- It keeps your milk stash ready while increasing the breast milk supply and you are always ahead one feed
- In the case of medical conditions, a breast pump is the best alternative to keep a connection between the mother and the baby
Don't forget to check out our article on the best breast pumps in India.
The Take on Formula Feeding
Formula feed is an important aspect to consider amongst breastfeeding vs bottle feeding in case of insufficient milk supply that cannot fulfill the baby's nutritional requirements or some kind of medical problems. Fortunately, in India, we do have baby milk powders available that are just as good as a mother's feed. Mothers can safely use this formula milk as and when required. This offers several benefits including,
- Formula available today are supplemented with Vitamin D
- It is super convenient and can be prepared anywhere anytime. So, if you are the kind of mom who has to stay outside of the house most of the time, formula feeding is super convenient for you.
- A formula-feeding newborn can be fed by anyone in the family, a father, a grandparent, or even the caretaker. It is not necessarily being the mom every time. Hence, it can take a little burden off the new mother.
- Formula feeding can be done publicly. You don’t have to worry about a secluded place to breastfeed your baby or things to cover up.
- It also keeps the baby full for a long time and is not required to be given as frequently as breast milk. It increases the time between feedings and is a viable option to consider especially for night feeding when both the baby and the mother need rest.
- You have full control over the amount of feed you are giving to the baby. It is visible to you and you can be assured of the baby’s diet.
Find the expert selected the best formula available in the market today.
Challenges to Bottle Feeding
Comparing breastfeeding vs bottle feeding, bottle feeding is easier and convenient, but it has its associated challenges. These include:
- Bottle-feeding may cause nipple confusion in newborn babies. It’s easier for babies to adapt to bottle feeding and they may then refuse the mother’s nipple.
- It may result in colic in babies as babies tend to suck air along. This makes them suffer from more spit-ups and gas.
- This also results in a higher risk of infection in babies due to the improper cleanliness of the baby bottles.
- The use of bottles is addictive in babies and may be a cause of dental caries, cavities, and decay.
- Expenditure is also involved in buying new bottles, nipples, sterilizers, and cleaning accessories time and again.
However, all these challenges can be taken care of if bottle feeding is done the right way. Ensure thorough cleaning of bottles, use anti-colic bottles available in the market today, and avoid making bottles a regular habit for kids.
The Final Take
Every mom can't breastfeed the baby. This can be due to several reasons, such as insufficient milk supply, latching issues, breast pain, or any medical reasons. In such cases, bottle feeding should be adopted and it serves as the safest option for feeding infants. Bottle feeding can be done using formula or even expressed breast milk. Make sure you choose the option that you find the best for your baby. Have a happy and healthy feeding!