Breast or Bottle? Making the best decision for you

I don’t think you will disagree with me when I say that there is a lot of pressure to breast feed.  Many women long to nurse, while others just don’t feel the same way.  Not for any particular reason, except that they just don’t feel that breast feeding is for them.  That said, I don’t know if you have decided to breast or bottle feed your new addition, but I’m sure you have given it some thought by now.  If  you haven’t here are some facts about both breast and bottle feeding to help you decide.

Of course, you want to do what’s best for your baby and for yourself, so you may be wondering if breast or bottle feeding is better.  So what’s the answer? The answer is that it’s a completely personal decision that should be left up to you, the parent. In order to decide what feeding method to choose, you must consider several factors.  First, how long would you nurse if you decided to? Do you plan to put the baby to the breast or only pump and feed from a bottle? (I have strong feelings about this by the way.)  Do you want others to participate in feedings?  Can you afford the cost of formula every month? There are so many questions, but I want to help you think about your options so you can make the best choice for you and your new baby.
Breast Feeding Positives:

  • breast milk is always warm, and readily available
  • its FREE
  • breast milk is more easily digested and absorbed which usually meansfewer tummy troubles for baby
  • perfectly balanced nutritional content

Breast Feeding Negatives:

  • mom is primarily responsible for all feedings and pumping
  • more difficult for others to feed baby
  • mom must be mindful of any medications that may transfer to baby through milk
  • pumping will be required when mom is away from baby for feedings

I once saw a young mother  who wanted to breast feed make a rapid decision to the contrary.  Immediately after delivery, the nurse assisted mom in latching the baby to feed. Immediately, mom stiffened, threw her arms out and said “get it off me! get this baby off me!” Now that was dramatic, but I say that to say this: breast feeding isn’t for everyone. For some moms, it just feels too strange. For others, mom may take medications that are necessary for her, but dangerous to a breast feeding baby if transferred through milk. Mom may have an infectious disease like HIV that makes it impossible to nurse. In these cases, bottle feeding will be a better choice.
Bottle feeding positives:

  • Easy for others to participate in feedings.
  • While not entirely nutritionally complete, formulas have come a long way in recent years to offer a more complete nutritional balance.
  • With many types of formula (powder, concentrate and ready to feed) parents can choose a type that works best for them.

Bottle feeding negatives:

  • Cost.  Some formulas can cost up to $40 a can for hypoallergenic brands, and most families spend between $50 and $200+ a month on formula alone.
  • More difficult to digest and may trigger gas, colic, spitting, constipation and other digestive problems for some babies.
  • Bottles must be sterilized, prepared, stored properly.
  • Formula isn’t immediately ready and must be prepared for feedings and/or warmed if necessary.
  • I agree that breat feeding vs. bottle is a very personal decision, and either decision can be the right one. Here is my experience: with my first baby, I found breast feeding very difficult, and I only managed to do it for five months, with lots of help from the breast pump, which actually made things worse in some ways. (I definitely don’t advocate just pumping…for many reasons). I swore I would NEVER try breast feeding again. However, I had my second baby nearly 6 years after my first, and I am still breast feeding him after 10 months. Trying it again was the best decision I made, and it was MUCH EASIER the second time around, probably because I just pretty much gave myself permission to quit if it was too hard….so since there was no pressure, it actually was easier. And he has slept way better at night than my first as well…which is another unexpected wonderful bonus of breast feeding! 🙂

  • Rachel

    That’s it Heather–you absolutely get it. I think, for myself I had a similar situation. So much pressure to nurse, then it just didn’t work out. I had a baby with colic that wouldn’t stop crying, and everyone blamed my breast milk for it–it made me feel terrible. Second time around? Waaaaayyy better! But we have to give ourselves permission to just do our best, whatever it is.

    And you’re right about the breast pump–exclusively pumping can create a series of issues that make it really hard to have long term breast feeding success.

    Thanks for your feedback–come back and let’s chat some more! 🙂 –Rachel

  • Breast augmentation

    Breast milk is only safe for our babies. A studies show that mother’s milk prevent their infant from dangerous infection and also make our infant’s immune system much stronger. So breast feeding best than bottle.