The Benefits of Breastfeeding vs. Bottle Feeding

breastfeeding vs bottle feedingIt’s an exciting time! Your new baby will soon be a member of your family and you are doing all that you can to prepare for his or her arrival by buying clothes, setting up a nursery, and doing research on the best way to nourish your little one. If you are wondering about breastfeeding vs. bottle feeding your baby, we’ve compiled benefits for both options. The Association of Childcare Physicians knows that no matter which feeding option you prefer, placing their health and happiness first is a parent’s utmost concern.

Breastfeeding is the most common recommendation you will often hear from other mothers as well as physicians. Breastfeeding offers your new baby supreme nourishment, offering the baby an abundance of health benefits that breastfeeding provides. Breast milk is the perfect combination of proteins, fats, vitamins, and carbohydrates. There is nothing better for your baby’s health than breast milk, especially during the first six months of your baby’s life.

There are many pros to breastfeeding, but one attractive reason to breastfeed is that it’s free. Formula is not cheap, and the costs can add up quickly. Bonding time with your baby is another huge benefit of breastfeeding. Studies show that skin to skin contact between mom and baby exchanges sensory information that helps the baby stay calm and maintain a healthy body temperature and blood sugar level. Moms that breast feed are able to pump and save their milk for later so other family members can help during the feedings, which alleviates some of the sleepless nights.

One of the largest benefits to breastfeeding are the nutrients and health benefits breast milk provides to the baby. Breast milk helps protect against allergies and eczema, causes less stomach upset and constipation than formula, reduces the risk of viruses and lessons the risks of SIDS. The mother also benefits physically from breast feeding as studies show it can lower the risk of getting breast and ovarian cancers. Breastfeeding moms also tend to burn any extra baby-weight faster.

Breastfeeding is not for everyone. Cons of breastfeeding do exist, and one main issue is getting the baby to latch to the breast. Often times poor latch can cause nipple and breast pain for the mom when nursing. Breastfeeding can also cause painful clogged milk ducts and even lead to mastitis. Breastfeeding moms also have to be cautious of certain foods, drinks and medications because it can be passed on to the baby through breast milk.

Bottle feeding, also known as formula feeding, is a convenient alternative to breast milk and can be utilized by all caregivers of a new baby. Some babies do indeed have trouble latching on to a mother’s breast for milk. If this happens and the baby is not gaining weight appropriately, using formula to nourish your baby is a wonderful option. The nipples of a bottle come in a variety of sizes and options, making it easier for the baby to drink. Formula also comes in a variety of options. Consult with your baby’s pediatrician for recommendations.

Pros of bottle-feeding your baby may vary, but one benefit that stands out is that the pressure to feed the baby is not always on you. For working moms or moms that travel often, it’s comforting to know that anyone can make the formula and feed the baby. Another benefit of bottle feeding is that you don’t have to worry about altering your diet or medications because your baby isn’t breastfeeding. Today, there are very good formulas available with nutrients that will help your baby grow strong and healthy.

With bottle feeding, there is more cost involved. Bottles, nipples and the formula itself can get costly. For some babies, it’s difficult to find a formula that the baby digests easily because they can react differently to different ingredients. The good news is there are more options available than ever before.

Have more questions about breastfeeding or formula-feeding your new baby? We can help answer any questions that may surface as you prepare for your baby’s arrival. Learn more by contacting the Association of Childcare Physicians by calling (618) 235-2311 or by visiting our website. Dr. Kellow and Dr. Shaw can help you decide the best feeding option for your entire family.