If you are expecting or a first-time parent, you may be wondering what the best choice is for you and your baby: breastfeeding or bottle feeding? The decision is dependent on your comfort level, lifestyle, and specific medical situations.
Health experts highly recommend breastfeeding as opposed to formula, especially during the first 6 months. There are many benefits to breastfeeding, which include:
- Strengthened Immune System – During breastfeeding, antibodies and other germ-fighting factors are passed from the mother to the baby, strengthening the immune system. Breastfed babies are proven to have fewer infections and hospitalizations than formula-fed babies.
- Nutrition & East of Digestion – In general, breastfed babies have less difficulty with digestion than formula-fed babies. Breast milk also naturally contains the majority of vitamins and minerals that are crucial to the health of a newborn.
- Free – Breast milk is completely free, while the cost of formula can be quite pricey over a period of time. In addition, if you are breastfeeding there is no need to purchase items such as bottles and nipples.
- Contact – “Skin-to-skin” contact during the breastfeeding process creates a bonding experience between the mother and baby that cannot be replaced by bottle feeding.
For some mothers, breastfeeding is not an option due to existing medical conditions. In other cases, a mother may just feel more comfortable bottle feeding than breastfeeding. Some benefits of bottle feeding include:
- Convenience – Bottle feeding is not limited to just the mother. Either parent or another caregiver can feed the baby a bottle at any time. Furthermore, there is no need for the mother to schedule work or other obligations and activities around the baby’s feeding schedule.
- Frequency – Formula generally takes longer to digest than breast milk. Therefore, formula-fed babies usually don’t need to eat as often as breastfed babies.
- Diet – When a mother breastfeeds, they must be conscious about their own diet to ensure their baby is receiving both to right kinds of nutrients and enough. Women who opt to formula don’t have to worry about the things they eat or drink that could affect their babies.