Bottle or breast?

If we had to choose between the natural and the artificial, undisputed, we lean towards the natural product unless the artificial one has undeniable properties. Nature has equipped womankind with ready made milk when they give birth to their child. Probably, this was nothing but the only option early humans. Since there was no rearing of cattle or no scope to feed the infant with formula milk, the breast milk was nothing but necessary and so was it rewarded to women. But with the generations passing by, humans became more civilized and discovered and invented many things to make their lives comfortable. Alternative sources of milk thus became extensively popular and a source of debate while attracting criticism.

There had been extensive distribution of literature on the benefits of breastfeeding for ages and it is an apparent fact that all the women want to feed their child with this exclusive food source meant only for their offspring. However, due to work commitments, health reasons or time clashes, many of them are unable to feed their younger ones.
It has been considered for years that mothers and babies enter into a special bond while the baby is being fed. However, mothers who feed their infants with formula milk can build a stronger bond too with their care giving and affection. Keeping the debate aside, many pediatric academics globally suggest feeding the baby for at least 6 months with breast milk exclusively and for one year with top foods.

Let us understand the benefits of both breast milk and bottle milk to let women choose the option that they are comfortable with.

Benefits for the baby:

  • As we all know that breast milk provides the necessary nutrients to the baby as it is customized according to the baby’s age and requirement.
  • The natural milk protects the baby from infections and they are less likely to be hospitalized. The mother’s milk builds immunity system for the lifetime by strengthening the immune system.
  • Mothers pass antibodies to the baby while feeding which help building up a protective wall against many diseases.
  • It is easy to digest and lessens the chance for the baby to fall sick due to indigestion issues. Colic, constipation and diarrhea are less likely when compared to formula fed babies.

Benefits for mothers:

  • Nursing is much easier when compared to feeding with formula milk. Sterilizing bottles is a pain. Preparation time is saved as mother’s milk is ready made.
  • Women who breastfeed have lesser chances of getting breast cancer and ovarian cancers.
  • The women who breastfeed have faster recovery post delivery and their uterus goes back to normalcy within six weeks thereby helping the mother to lose the baby weight as they lose many calories while feeding.
  • Breastfeeding can be used as a natural contraception method under some stipulated guidelines which is popularly known as Lactational Amenorrhea Method (LAM).

Adverse elements of breastfeeding:

  • Sore nipples initially trouble many women who start off breastfeeding.
  • While breastfeeding, it is hard to understand whether the baby had enough milk or not as it cannot be measured unlike the formula feed.
  • Breastfed babies require more frequent nursing episodes than the formula fed babies and hence this can be considered as a time consuming task and may be a hindrance to working mothers.
  • Bottle feeding is more convenient when you are in public places.
  • Nursing mothers need to take care of their diet as good nutrition helps them in producing healthier milk. They should avoid smoking drinking and substance intake.

With the established factors, it is upto the mothers to decide on the effective method of feeding that is in the best interest of their child after considering the entire circumstances surrounding them. Since both the methods have their own advantages and disadvantages, any method chosen should be trusted as the best source for the child.