Your due date is fast approaching. Have you decided which feeding method would be the best for you and your baby? Read on to compare the two…
Benefits of Breastfeeding for the Baby
Proper nourishment—Breast milk contains all the
nourishment that babies need during their first several months of
One possible exception is
. Breast milk
is low in vitamin D. However, a baby's need for this
supplement depends on skin tone and exposure to sunlight. Ask the doctor about your baby's needs.
Immunity boost—Breast milk contains substances not found in formula that help
protect babies from illness. These substances include antibodies, immunoglobulins, active
enzymes, and hormones.
Fewer illnesses—Compared with bottlefed infants,
breastfed infants are less likely to develop:
Both parents will likely appreciate the convenience of
Breast milk is always available, sterile, and free.
There is no formula to buy, measure, and mix.
There are no bottles and nipples to sterilize.
Drawbacks of Breastfeeding
Stress for mom—You are the sole provider
of nutrition for your baby, which can be very demanding and
exhausting. However, once a pattern is established, other family
members can give you a break by feeding the baby a bottle of breast
milk that has been pumped and stored in the refrigerator or
Slow start—You may have difficulty getting the baby
to properly latch onto the breast.
Possible pain—Breastfeeding can be painful. You may have sore
nipples, clogged milk ducts,
Medicine precautions—Some medicines can pass through the breast milk to your baby and may not be safe. Drugs can also interfere with how much milk you produce. Talk to you doctor before taking prescription and over-the-counter medicine, as well as herbs and supplements.
If you are unsure as to whether you want to breastfeed, you can
try it for a few weeks and switch if it does not work out. Any
amount of breastfeeding is beneficial for the baby. Once bottlefeeding is started, though, it is difficult to switch back to the
The Benefits of Bottlefeeding
Proper nutrition—Commercially prepared formulas (which
are regulated by the FDA) supply the appropriate combinations of
proteins, sugars, fats, and vitamins to meet a baby's nutritional
requirements; supplements are not usually necessary.
Bonding—Although there is no skin-to-skin contact,
cuddling while feeding can enhance bonding.
Less dependence on you—Anyone can feed the baby. This makes it easier if you work
or if you cannot or do not want to be the sole provider of the milk.
The Drawbacks of Bottlefeeding
The possibility of allergy—Cow's milk formulas contain a
different type of protein than breast milk, and some infants may be
allergic to it or have trouble digesting it. These babies can be
given soy milk formula, although some may be allergic to soy
protein, too, and would require a hydrolyzed formula.
A lot of preparation—Bottlefeeding requires a lot of
organization and preparation; you will need to have enough
formula on hand and have bottles and nipples clean and ready.
A significant expense—According to the American Medical
Association, during the first year of life, the cost of formula can
run between $1,000 and $1,500.
Freshness not guaranteed—Formula can go bad, so you will
need to check expiration dates and avoid damaged containers.
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care
provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a
substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER
IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the
advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to
starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a