The choice between whether to breast feed or bottle feed is often a difficult one and everyone has an opinion on what you should or should not do. The health experts suggest that breast milk is best nutritionally leading some woman to feel guilty if they choose to bottle feed their baby. For many new Mums breast feeding is not possible due to lifestyle, specific medical conditions, and other personal practicalities. Bottle Feeding you baby does not mean your little one won’t thrive and you will still create a special bond with your baby, that time spent feeding them, whether bottle or breast is a time just for the two of you, and if you do decide to bottle feed then Dad and other family members can share in the experience which can only be a positive thing.

In the end the decision to breast or bottle feed is  very personal one but if you are in a position to make a choice it is always worth looking at the pros and cons what is best for you and your baby.

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. Breastfeeding helps defend against infections, prevent allergies, and protect against several chronic conditions.

It is recommended that babies are 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 happy.

New-borns tend to find breast milk easier to digest and therefore suffer less with diarrhoea or constipation

The biggest plus point of breastfeeding is that it is free and convenient where ever you want to go, you are unlikely to run out and if you get delayed on a day out with baby you have their food on ‘tap’.  

Breast feeding often means lots of skin to skin contact with baby which encourages a real emotional connection between the mother and her child, however there is nothing to say that if you are bottle feeding your baby that you can’t ‘strip’ off in your own home.

Breast feeding helps Mum to burn calories and helps to shrink your uterus back to its normal size quicker, it has also been shown that breast feeding can 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.

However, it is not always that simple, and some people find breast feeding a struggle. It can take time to get established and if you do not have a good support network around you it can be difficult to get into a good routine. It takes time and patience to get breastfeeding established and obviously Mum is ‘on call’ 24/7 unless she is also expressing. Even currently there is still some occasions when feeding in public can make you feel awkward, especially in the first few weeks when it is all new to you. You may not feel able to go out often or for very long and if you have other little ones this is not always convenient

There can be pain involved in the first week or so but this should get better as time goes on but it is always worth considering getting someone in to help you with those first few days and teach you the proper technique if this is something that you really want to persevere with. Keep an eye on any pain in case it is a sign of infection.

Remember breast fed babies will feed more often than bottle fed babies and you will have to watch your diet as whatever you eat, or drink may well be passed on to the baby.

Bottle Feeding

Infant formula is a great alternative to breast milk and can often contain extra vitamins and nutrients that you do not get in breast milk.

Breast feeding can be difficult and stressful for some woman or they may have medical conditions which prevent them from being able to breast feed. Woman who know they have to return to work quickly or have a busy household and don’t necessarily have the luxury to spend the time it takes breast feeding often find the convenience of bottle feeding makes life easier and less stressful. Their partner and other family members are able to help out and they may get a better nights sleep if someone is able to take over one or two of the night feeds, ensuring they are well rested and ready to cope with another day.

In the same way that breastfeeding is flexible so is bottle feeding as you can leave your baby with someone else whilst you work or deal with other commitments or other children. You do not feel the need to ‘hide’ in public when you are feeding, and you are much more able to time your little ones feeds around your day.

You can eat and drink what you want, although whilst I will not affect you baby, it is always worth eating healthily when you have just had a baby.

Some of the downsides to bottle feeding are that Formula cannot provide a baby with the added protection against infection and illness that breast milk does.

You do need to be organised if you are going out for the day and make sure you have enough bottles prepped and ready and that you don’t run out of formula in the middle of the night. There is a lot of prep work in cleaning and sterilising and making the bottles up, so they are ready and waiting for that hungry, demanding baby.

Formula is expensive and if you have a hypoallergenic child then the cost can go up. Formula fed babies are often prone to colic and constipation and can get upset and distressed.

It is your decision

As I have said many times over, what works for you and your baby is not necessarily right for someone else and deciding whether to breast or bottle feed can be a difficult decision. Often you chose one method prior to giving birth and then find you change you mind once baby is born. Whatever you decide the most important thing is that you and your baby are happy and healthy both physically and mentally.

If you are unsure about whether to bottle or breast feed or are struggling with breastfeeding please do get in touch, we are happy to help you and answer any questions you may have.

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