Pros of bottle feeding babies

Breastfeeding vs. Formula Feeding (for Parents)

Choosing whether to breastfeed or formula feed their baby is one of the biggest decisions expectant and new parents will make.

Healt experts believe breast milk is the best nutritional choice for infants. But breastfeeding may not be possible for all women. For many, the decision to breastfeed or formula feed is based on their comfort level, lifestyle, and specific medical situations.

For moms who can't breastfeed or who decide not to, infant formula is a healthy alternative. Formula provides babies with the nutrients they need to grow and thrive.

Some mothers worry that if they don't breastfeed, they won't bond with their baby. But the truth is, loving mothers will always create a special bond with their children. And feeding — no matter how — is a great time to strengthen that bond.

The decision to breastfeed or formula feed your baby is a personal one. Weighing the pros and cons of each method can help you decide what is best for you and your baby.

All About Breastfeeding

Nursing can be a wonderful experience for both mother and baby. It provides ideal nourishment and a special bonding experience that many mothers cherish.

A number of health organizations — including the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the American Medical Association (AMA), and the World Health Organization (WHO) — recommend breastfeeding as the best choice for babies. Breastfeeding helps defend against infections, prevent allergies, and protect against a number of chronic conditions.

The AAP recommends that babies be breastfed exclusively for the first 6 months. Beyond that, breastfeeding is encouraged until at least 12 months, and longer if both the mother and baby are willing.

Here are some of the many benefits of breastfeeding:

Fighting infections and other conditions. Breastfed babies have fewer infections and hospitalizations than formula-fed infants. During breastfeeding, antibodies and other germ-fighting factors pass from a mother to her baby and strengthen the immune system. This helps lower a baby's chances of getting many infections, including:

  • ear infections
  • diarrhea
  • respiratory infections
  • meningitis

Breastfeeding also may protect babies against:

  • allergies
  • asthma
  • diabetes
  • obesity
  • sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)

Breastfeeding is particularly beneficial for premature babies.

Nutrition and ease of digestion. Often called the "perfect food" for a human baby's digestive system, breast milk's components — lactose, protein (whey and casein), and fat — are easily digested by a newborn.

As a group, breastfed infants have less difficulty with digestion than do formula-fed infants. Breast milk tends to be more easily digested so that breastfed babies have fewer bouts of diarrhea or constipation.

Breast milk also naturally contains many of the vitamins and minerals that a newborn requires. One exception is vitamin D — the AAP recommends that all breastfed babies begin receiving vitamin D supplements during the first 2 months and continuing until a baby consumes enough vitamin D-fortified formula or milk (after 1 year of age).

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates formula companies to ensure they provide all the necessary nutrients (including vitamin D) in their formulas. Still, commercial formulas can't completely match breast milk's exact composition. Why? Because milk is a living substance made by each mother for her individual infant, a process that can't be duplicated in a factory.

Free. Breast milk doesn't cost a cent, while the cost of formula quickly adds up. And unless you're pumping breast milk and giving it to your baby, there's no need for bottles, nipples, and other supplies that can be costly. Since breastfed babies are less likely to be sick, that may mean they make fewer trips to the doctor's office, so fewer co-pays and less money are paid for prescriptions and over-the-counter medicines.

Different tastes. Nursing mothers usually need 300 to 500 extra calories per day, which should come from a wide variety of well-balanced foods. This introduces breastfed babies to different tastes through their mothers' breast milk, which has different flavors depending on what their mothers have eaten. By tasting the foods of their "culture," breastfed infants more easily accept solid foods.

Convenience. With no last-minute runs to the store for more formula, breast milk is always fresh and available whether you're home or out and about. And when women breastfeed, there's no need to wash bottles and nipples or warm up bottles in the middle of the night.

Smarter babies. Some studies suggest that children who were exclusively breastfed have slightly higher IQs than children who were formula fed.

"Skin-to-skin" contact. Many nursing mothers really enjoy the experience of bonding so closely with their babies. And the skin-to-skin contact can enhance the emotional connection between mother and infant.

Beneficial for mom, too. The ability to totally nourish a baby can help a new mother feel confident in her ability to care for her baby. Breastfeeding also burns calories and helps shrink the uterus, so nursing moms may be able to return to their pre-pregnancy shape and weight quicker. Also, studies show that breastfeeding helps lower the risk of breast cancer, high blood pressure, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease, and also may help decrease the risk of uterine and ovarian cancer.


Breastfeeding Challenges

Breastfeeding can be easy from the get-go for some mothers, but take a while to get used to for others. Moms and babies need plenty of patience to get used to the routine of breastfeeding.

Common concerns of new moms, especially during the first few weeks and months, may include:

Personal comfort. Initially, many moms feel uncomfortable with breastfeeding. But with proper education, support, and practice, most moms overcome this.

Latch-on pain is normal for the first week to 10 days, and should last less than a minute with each feeding. But if breastfeeding hurts throughout feedings, or if their nipples and/or breasts are sore, it's a good idea for breastfeeding mothers to get help from a lactation consultant or their doctor. Many times, it's just a matter of using the proper technique, but sometimes pain can mean that something else is going on, like an infection.

Time and frequency of feedings. Breastfeeding requires a big time commitment from mothers, especially in the beginning, when babies feed often. A breastfeeding schedule or the need to pump breast milk during the day can make it harder for some moms to work, run errands, or travel.

And breastfed babies do need to eat more often than babies who take formula, because breast milk digests faster than formula. This means mom may find herself in demand every 2 or 3 hours (maybe more, maybe less) in the first few weeks.

Diet. Women who are breastfeeding need to be aware of what they eat and drink, since these can be passed to the baby through the breast milk. Just like during pregnancy, breastfeeding women should not eat fish that are high in mercury and should limit consumption of lower mercury fish.

If a mom drinks alcohol, a small amount can pass to the baby through breast milk. She should wait at least 2 hours after a single alcoholic drink to breastfeed to avoid passing any alcohol to the baby. Caffeine intake should be kept to no more than 300 milligrams (about one to three cups of regular coffee) or less per day because it can cause problems like restlessness and irritability in some babies.

Maternal medical conditions, medicines, and breast surgery. Medical conditions such as HIV or AIDS or those that involve chemotherapy or treatment with certain medicines can make breastfeeding unsafe. A woman should check with her doctor or a lactation consultant if she's unsure if she should breastfeed with a specific condition. Women should always check with the doctor about the safety of taking medicines while breastfeeding, including over-the-counter and herbal medicines.

Mothers who've had breast surgery, such as a reduction, may have difficulty with their milk supply if their milk ducts have been severed. In this situation, a woman should to talk to her doctor about her concerns and work with a lactation specialist.


All About Formula Feeding

Commercially prepared infant formulas are a nutritious alternative to breast milk, and even contain some vitamins and nutrients that breastfed babies need to get from supplements.

Manufactured under sterile conditions, commercial formulas attempt to duplicate mother's milk using a complex combination of proteins, sugars, fats, and vitamins that aren't possible to create at home. So if you don't breastfeed your baby, it's important to use only commercially prepared formula and not try to make your own.

Besides medical concerns that may prevent breastfeeding, for some women, breastfeeding may be too difficult or stressful. Here are other reasons women may choose to formula feed:

Convenience. Either parent (or another caregiver) can feed the baby a bottle at any time (although this is also true for women who pump their breast milk). This allows mom to share the feeding duties and helps her partner to feel more involved in the crucial feeding process and the bonding that often comes with it.

Flexibility. Once the bottles are made, a formula-feeding mother can leave her baby with a partner or caregiver and know that her little one's feedings are taken care of. There's no need to pump or to schedule work or other obligations and activities around the baby's feeding schedule. And formula-feeding moms don't need to find a private place to nurse in public.

Time and frequency of feedings. Because formula is less digestible than breast milk, formula-fed babies usually need to eat less often than breastfed babies.

Diet. Women who opt to formula feed don't have to worry about the things they eat or drink that could affect their babies.

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Formula Feeding Challenges

As with breastfeeding, there are some challenges to consider when deciding whether to formula feed.

Lack of antibodies. None of the antibodies found in breast milk are in manufactured formula. So formula can't provide a baby with the added protection against infection and illness that breast milk does.

Can't match the complexity of breast milk. Manufactured formulas have yet to duplicate the complexity of breast milk, which changes as the baby's needs change.

Planning and organization. Unlike breast milk — which is always available, unlimited, and served at the right temperature — formula feeding your baby requires planning and organization to make sure that you have what you need when you need it. Parents must buy formula and make sure it's always on hand to avoid late-night runs to the store.

And it's important to always have the necessary supplies (like bottles and nipples) clean, easily accessible, and ready to go — otherwise, you will have a very hungry, very fussy baby to answer to. With 8-10 feedings in a 24-hour period, parents can quickly get overwhelmed if they're not prepared and organized.

Expense. Formula can be costly. Powdered formula is the least expensive, followed by concentrated, with ready-to-feed being the most expensive. And specialty formulas (such as soy and hypoallergenic) cost more — sometimes far more — than the basic formulas. During the first year of life, the cost of basic formula can run about $1,500.

Possibility of producing gas and constipation. Formula-fed babies may have more gas and firmer bowel movements than breastfed babies.

Making a Choice

Deciding how you will feed your baby can be a hard decision. You'll really only know the right choice for your family when your baby comes.

Many women decide on one method before the birth and then change their minds after their baby is born. And many women decide to breastfeed and supplement with formula because they find that is the best choice for their family and their lifestyle.

While you're weighing the pros and cons, talk to your doctor or lactation consultant. These health care providers can give you more information about your options and help you make the best decision for your family.

Breastfeeding vs.

Formula Feeding

Written by Gina Shaw

In this Article

  • Breastfeeding
  • Formula Feeding
  • Supplemental Feeding

A big decision new moms must make for their little one’s nutrition is breast vs. formula.

Some people can be uncomfortable around women while they are breastfeeding. However, if you pull out a bottle of formula, there are those who may criticize you for not feeding your baby what they might consider "nature's perfect food" -- breast milk.

Welcome to mommy guilt. No matter what you decide, other people will surely have an opinion. Only one thing really matters: Which choice is right for you and your baby?


The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) says breast milk is the best nutrition for infants. Babies should be only breastfed for the first 6 months, according to the AAP. After the baby begins to eat other foods, the AAP encourages mothers to continue to breastfeed until at least the baby’s first birthday, or longer if the child and the parent are willing. Breastfeeding up to 2 years and beyond is beneficial for both, especially for mothers. Long-term breastfeeding may protect against diabetes, high blood pressure, and breast and ovarian cancers.

Breast milk is good for your baby in many ways:

  • It contains the proper proportion of nutrients that your baby needs, including protein, carbohydrates, fat, and calcium.
  • It provides natural antibodies that help your baby resist illnesses, such as ear infections.
  • It's usually more easily digested than formula. So breastfed babies are often less constipated and gassy.
  • It may lower the risk of sudden infant death syndrome in the first year of your baby's life.
  • It may raise your child's intelligence. Studies show breastfed babies have higher levels of cognitive function.
  • Breast milk may even help your child in later years, by reducing the risk of being overweight, and of developing asthma, allergies, type 1 and type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, Hodgkin's disease, leukemia, and lymphoma.
  • It’s always available and it’s free.

Breastfeeding is good for moms, too. Women who breastfeed have a reduced risk of breast cancer, diabetes, heart disease, osteoporosis, and ovarian cancer. It can also help you lose your baby weight more easily, and make it less likely you’ll have postpartum depression.

But let's not forget a key reason many new moms want to breastfeed. It's a wonderful bonding experience with your baby.

Breast milk can also be pumped which will allow for public feedings and other family members to participate in feeding.

Formula Feeding

Formula feeding is also a healthy choice for babies. If you use a formula, your baby will get the best possible alternative to breast milk. (You should not attempt to make your own formula or feed an infant cow's milk or another kind of milk.)

Many moms choose formula for a variety of reasons:

  • It's convenient. Formula-fed babies can be fed by anyone at any time.
  • It's flexible. You don't have to fit pumping into your work schedule. Instead, you can simply leave formula for your babysitter or day care center.
  • Your partner can help out with nighttime feedings and share that bonding experience with your baby.
  • Scheduling feedings may be easier. Formula isn't digested as quickly as breast milk, so formula-fed babies don't need to eat as often, especially in the first few months.
  • You don't have to worry about what you eat. Moms who breastfeed may have to avoid certain foods that their baby can't tolerate.
  • You can have a glass of wine or a cocktail once in a while. Alcohol is a no-no for women who breastfeed because they pass on tiny amounts of it to their babies.

Supplemental Feeding

Your doctor may recommend that you both breastfeed and give your baby formula, or that you add powdered or liquid fortifiers to pumped breast milk. That may be needed if:

  • Your baby was born premature or with a very low birth weight and needs extra calories and nutrients
  • Your baby has trouble latching on to breastfeed
  • Your body isn’t making enough breast milk
  • Your baby is dehydrated, has serious jaundice or low blood sugar

While your baby is getting supplemental feedings, it’s a good idea to pump your breast milk so you can start nursing as soon as baby is ready. Once their growth has caught up, you may be able to switch them exclusively to breast milk if you choose.

Whichever way you choose to feed your baby -- breast milk, formula, or a combination of both -- the most important thing is that your baby is well fed, well cared for, and loved. So ditch the mommy guilt!

Bottle feeding: pros and cons

Due to certain circumstances, a mother may not be able to establish lactation, and then bottle feeding becomes the only option. As resentful as breastfeeding advocates may be, bottle feeding has its benefits.

What are the benefits of bottle feeding?

There are several benefits to bottle feeding your baby.

1. Anyone can feed a baby

One of the benefits of bottle feeding is that anyone can do it. Breastfeeding does not give dad the opportunity to get close to the child, artificial - on the contrary, allows brothers and sisters, the father and other family members to spend extra time with the newborn.

2. It can be done in public

Some mothers find breastfeeding in public uncomfortable. If you do not want to expose your chest or go to a place secluded from prying eyes, a bottle will help you. nine0003

3. It's easy to keep track of your intake

It's not easy to know how much milk a baby sucks. Bottle feeding will help you instantly determine your baby's daily intake of milk or formula.

4. No need to worry if the supply of breast milk is low

Many breastfeeding mothers worry that the baby will remain undernourished, and based on these considerations, they choose artificial feeding. This ensures that the baby gets all the milk it needs for full growth and development. nine0003

5. Don't worry about making changes to your diet

A formula-feeding woman doesn't have to worry about adding certain fruits and vegetables to her diet. She can eat and drink whatever she likes.

6. Formula feeding helps babies with lactose intolerance

Rarely, a baby's body cannot process natural milk. This feature is known as lactose intolerance. Especially for such babies, there are mixtures with a specific formula (for example, soy protein content), which are easily absorbed by the body. nine0003

7. The health of the mother does not affect the baby

If a woman becomes ill after giving birth or has health problems that prevent lactation, a bottle can be used for feeding.

What are the disadvantages of bottle feeding?

Of course, bottle feeding has a number of significant disadvantages compared to breastfeeding, namely:

1. Formula is not as nutritious as breast milk

Not only does breastmilk contain all the nutrients a baby needs for growth and development, but it is also easily digested in the stomach - unlike some formula milks. In addition, artificial feeding may increase the risk of obesity in early childhood.

2. If you are lactating, you can easily feed your baby on demand. But if the baby is accustomed to the bottle, then first you need to wash and sterilize the bottle, pour milk into it or dilute the mixture in it and warm it. This is a big job! Improper sterilization can also endanger the health of the child. nine0003

3. Bottle feeding accessories are an additional cost. Artificial feeding can be costly. If you decide to bottle feed your baby, you will need to buy everything you need for this: containers, cleaning brushes, a sterilizer, and a quality breast pump or formula.

4. Formula feeding can compromise the baby's immune system

Research shows that breast milk develops and improves the baby's immune system. On the other hand, formula milk does not contain similar vital and naturally occurring nutrients. Formula-fed babies are at greater risk of developing certain health conditions, such as chest infections, ear infections, or diarrhea. nine0003

5. It affects the bond between mother and child

Feeding is a bond between mother and child. When the baby is pressed against the chest, contact is established. Formula feeding can interfere with this connection.

6. Bottle feeding can be uncomfortable

When you travel, you will need to carry clean bottles, formula, baby nipples and other essentials. This can be quite troublesome. nine0003

Bottle feeding is also inconvenient if the baby likes to wake up in the middle of the night for a snack - you will have to get up every time and dilute the formula.

7. Breastfeeding keeps the mother healthy

Some studies have shown that breastfeeding mothers are less likely to get breast cancer, ovarian cancer and osteoporosis.

8. Baby may not be receptive to formula

Some babies may not be able to use formula, which can lead to diarrhea and dehydration. nine0003

Freedom and more: what are the advantages of artificial feeding - . It has become a symbol of freedom: you can work, get financial independence. A real social revolution is evident. Of course, when breastfeeding for the first 3-4 months, you literally can’t move away from the baby. It is necessary to monitor your diet and beware of any infections and negative emotions. In other words, to do only feeding and practically nothing else. nine0109 And yet there is nothing better for a newborn than breast milk.

An axiom that does not require proof. But, on the other hand, many have their own arguments. Work, older children who have no one to delegate even for a couple of hours, a small amount of milk, frequent colds, and even just psychological discomfort that occurs during feeding. Many of these problems are solvable, of course. But artificial feeding is also a great option. And the problems associated with it are mostly exaggerated. The advantages of artificial feeding are as follows:

  • Your baby's immunity will not be affected. The preventive effect of mother's milk against some infectious diseases (such as diarrhea, pneumonia, respiratory diseases, otitis media) certainly exists ... For others (allergies, autoimmune diseases), its effect is debatable. In fact, many other non-nutrition related causes affect a child's immune system, either related to the mother (age, upbringing, socioeconomic status) or to the child itself (birth weight, mother's age at birth, child count). in family). nine0003

  • All children have digestive problems and allergies. A problem that can arise in "artificial" babies is intolerance to cow's milk protein. But even here there are alternatives: mixtures based on goat or soy milk. And among children who eat their mother's milk, there are also a lot of allergy sufferers now. As for colic: when bottle-feeding, the baby, of course, swallows more air than when breast-feeding. But breastfed babies also suffer from colic. And their causes have not yet been studied: the immaturity of the digestive system, poor regulation of sleep or oxygen intake . .. And the digestive problems of a breastfed baby are highly dependent on the mother's diet. nine0003

The right to choose

According to the regular study TGI Baby, conducted by the research company KOMKON, a third of Moscow mothers breastfeed only when feeding a child up to a year (31% do not feed with substitutes), RBC reports. Market Research". 19% of mothers use only breast milk substitutes. Mixed feeding (both substitutes and breastfeeding) is typical for half of mothers (50%). On average, mothers stop breastfeeding their babies at 6 months of age. According to the WHO (World Health Organization), at 9In 4 countries of the world, only 39% of children are fully breastfed until the age of six months.

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