Every new mum is determined to do what’s best for her newborn baby and has a few decisions to make within just hours of the birth as to the best possible way to start baby’s life. Now one of these decisions is incredibly difficult for some mums – whether to breast feed or bottle feed.
Midwives and nurses are renowned for putting pressure on new mums to try to breast feed their newborns so it’s definitely worth thinking about and making up your mind what you want to do in advance. Always remember that it’s your decision. Both breast feeding and bottle feeding have their own merits and their own disadvantages, all of which are below for ease of reference.
o Breast milk is free. You don’t have to pay for it at all and it is always readily available.
o There’s no preparation time at all. Your baby won’t have to wait if he or she is hungry.
o The nutrient content of breast milk is designed to meet that baby’s needs so it includes everything that will help your baby to grow.
o Breast milk is easily digestible because it’s completely natural and there are no artificial substances in it at all.
o Breast feeding is said to strengthen the mum/baby bond.
o Breast feeding can be really uncomfortable for you and some women don’t breast feed because of that feeling.
o You have to be the one feeding the baby so it can be really inconvenient if you want to go out or are ill.
o If you are on medication then you might not be able to breast feed because those medications could get into baby’s bloodstream via your milk.
o Some babies find it difficult to get used to a bottle if you aren’t going to be able to feed them and have to pump the milk instead. This can lead to missed meals.
o Anyone can feed your baby so if you’re not available his or her routine won’t be disrupted.
o You can tailor the formula to suit your baby’s nutritional needs at any time.
o You know that medications you’re on won’t affect your baby.
o It’s usually easier to move your baby from the bottle to solids, whereas you’d have to move your baby from the breast to the bottle to solids otherwise.
o You have to concentrate and spend a little time preparing the bottle to make sure that the formula contains all the nutrients baby needs.
o It costs around £50 a month in formula, without the expense of the bottles and equipment, although there are government initiatives to take a little of that cost away.
o Your baby may not be able to tolerate formula milk, depending on allergies and intolerances.
Now you have all of the advantages and disadvantages laid out for you, you can make an informed decision about what you want to do. Whether you choose breast feeding or bottle feeding, it has to be right for you.