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.