A very common conflict that new mums find themselves facing is whether to breastfeed their babies or use formula and a milk bottle to do the deed. There is always contradictory advice from different sources about the advantages and disadvantages of both methods, which can leave you feeling lost and more confused than before. To all you mums out there who can’t seem to find the right path, we hope this helps.
-Breast milk provides antibodies from the mum to the baby which helps fight off infections causing diarrhoea, ear infections, and respiratory infections.
-It contains a wide range of nutrients for your baby.
-Breast milk is to easy to process and digest by an infant’s body.
-Studies have found that babies that have been breastfed have a lower risk of suffering from obesity and diabetes.
-Breast milk helps protect the infant against developing allergies and asthma.
-It is convenient when it comes to feeding as it can be done even in the absence of the mum.
-It helps parent work around work schedules because the milk can be left with a babysitter or whoever is looking after the infant.
-It helps dads bond with their babies as bottle-feeding enables them to carry out the feeding as well. This helps build attachments with both parents.
-Since formula takes more effort to digest, babies that are bottle-fed get hungry less quickly and are therefore less likely to get cranky very often.
-Mums don’t have to worry about what they’re eating and how that might affect their babies if they’re using formula.
-Mum needs to be present at all times that feeding is necessary.
-It can get uncomfortable and lead to soreness for the mum.
-Whatever is ingested by the mother also affects the baby, so mums have to be extremely wary of what they eat and drink.
-The milk needs to be warmed to the right temperature which can get tricky.
-In some cases, babies may not be able to tolerate the formula.
-Bottle-feeding may cause different attachment formations between parents and babies.
-Bottle-feeding does not have the added advantage of supplying antibodies to the baby.
While there are pros and cons of both methods, what is important to keep in mind is the health of mum and baby. If you are feeling sore, you might not be able to easily supply milk to your baby which is unhealthy for your baby as well as uncomfortable for you. In such cases, bottle-feeding can go a long way to help both of you. It also comes in handy when you’ve got a career focused mind, since a babysitter can also feed your child, meaning your constant presence is not necessary. Conversely, too much delegation of feeding would affect the bonding between you and your child. Your baby may not get all the necessary nutrients from the formula or may not take well to the formula you’re buying.
While doctors do suggest breastfeeding your baby for the first few months at least, you could try a mix of both methods. This will also make it easier to switch over when it’s time to start weaning your baby off breastfeeding. You can see when it’s convenient for you to breastfeed and when it’s necessary to bottle-feed (like if you have to go to work). This can help you work out a good balance to ensure that your baby gets everything he/she needs, and that you don’t overexert yourself, or put yourself on the backburner. What is important is to find a balance that works for you and your family.