We so often hear messages about breast feeding- generally promoting breast feeding, and many messages demonising bottle feeding.
Of course there are lots of benefits associated with breast feeding, and in an ideal world we would all breast feed. But there are also benefits to bottle feeding that are not discussed so commonly.
I feel like the discussing on breast vs bottle puts new Mams in a difficult situation- many are shamed for not breast feeding, but our world generally doesn't support breast-feeding women. So either way, women seem to never be able to do right!
This post outlines the pro's and con's of both bottle and breast, with the aim that you the reader will have greater understanding of the reasons for choosing both and will approach the subject with a bit more empathy, and less judgement in the future.
The graphic above covers some of the key issues and differences between bottle and breast. But here are the pro's and con's of both separately..
Breast feeding pro's:
Forms a bond between mother and baby.
Milk is always the correct temperature.
There is no need for loads of equipment/bottles.
Provides well-rounded nutrition.
Antibodies are passed from mother to baby in first days of life.
It is free!
Breast feeding con's:
Must be mother that feeds baby- can be difficult for Dad and Mam!
Mam must wake for night feeding, so can have poor/interrupted sleep for months.
Mam can't drink while breast-feeding as it affects the milk.
Mam's diet can affect the milk.
Breast feeding can be uncomfortable and even painful.
Many women feel uncomfortable breast feeding in public and designated spaces for feeding are limited.
Bottle feeding pro's:
Dad, family and friends can help with feeding, allowing Mam to rest/sleep/get back to work etc.
Provides well-rounded nutrition.
Mam can have a drink and doesn't have to worry about her diet affecting milk.
No discomfort with bottle feeding.
Bottle feeding is common-place in public and doesn't cause embarrassment/uncomfortable-ness.
Bottle feeding con's:
Lots of equipment required, which can be expensive and difficult to remember when going out/on trips etc.
Bottles need to be sterilized for young babies.
Formula can be incorrectly mixed (E.G. not enough water leads to constipation baby).
No antibody protection passed from mother to baby.
As you can see, there are lots of things to consider for new parents. It isn't just as easy as saying "breast feeding is better" and everyone does it!
There are difficulties with breast feeding, just as there are benefits, and it is the same with bottle feeding.
The best thing parents can do for their infants?
Choose the option that works best for you and your baby.
Every family is different and every decision should be personal to you.
There is no black and white right or wrong answer with things like this!
For some Mams, getting a good sleep may be better for their health and their baby's than breast feeding during the night. For some, getting back to work and having their partner take care of the baby might be best.
Remember that everyone is just doing their best in their situations and judgments are very often wrong. You don't know the full story most of the time so try not to judge!
Lots of love,
Little O x