How do I Choose Between Breastfeeding and Bottle Feeding?

Bethney Foster
Bethney Foster
A breast pump.
A breast pump.

To choose between breastfeeding and bottle feeding, sometimes called formula feeding, the soon-to-be mother needs to consider different aspects of her lifestyle, her health, and her baby’s health. In order to choose between breastfeeding and bottle feeding, she should talk to her doctor, her baby’s future pediatrician, and other mothers whose opinions she values. The decision between breastfeeding and bottle feeding should be made with all of these considerations and input, but the new mother should remember there is no right answer for everyone and ultimately she must decide what is best for her and her baby.

Breastfeeding is considered the healthiest way to feed a baby.
Breastfeeding is considered the healthiest way to feed a baby.

If the mother knows she will have to return to work soon after the baby is born, this must be a consideration in choosing between breastfeeding and bottle feeding. Just because the new mother must be away from her baby for long hours, however, doesn’t mean that she must rule out breastfeeding altogether. The mother can consider using a breast pump and bottling breast milk for the baby while she is away.

Some new mothers may find that time to breastfeed or pump breast milk adds more pressures to the stress of new motherhood. This is a valid reason to consider bottle feeding. The mother must consider her mental health as part of her overall decision.

There are other lifestyle considerations, even if the new mother doesn’t have to return to work immediately. During the first few weeks, the new mother will have to be available for breastfeeding every few hours. While breastfeeding, a mother must be careful of her diet, being vigilant of eating fish high in mercury and consuming alcohol and caffeine.

In choosing between breastfeeding and bottle feeding, the new mother should recognize the considerable benefits of breastfeeding. Breast milk is free, contains nutrients and infection-fighting components, and is easy for the baby to digest. It will likely also help the new mom to lose weight more quickly and may give the baby a decreased risk for developing obesity.

There are also additional problems with bottle feeding to consider. Feeding formula can be expensive, especially if the baby must have a specialty formula because of allergies or health issues. While bottle feeding can be more convenient in some ways, it can be less convenient in others. The new mother must ensure she has formula, sterile water, and clean bottles when it’s time to feed the baby.

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Discussion Comments

anon172492

I was disappointed to read this as it presents formula feeding as an equivalent diet for a baby. This is not the case, as any scientific study will show. Put simply, formula is an inferior choice to breastmilk, and has numerous possible side effects (including increased risk of diabetes, respiratory illness, leukemia, even increased instances of infant death in the formula fed baby). Breastfeeding is also an easier alternative. breastmilk is ready-made, at the right temperature, always available, free, and comes with a cuddle (and no washing-up or sterilising).

There is a reason formula companies are not allowed to market formula for babies under six months (see the International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes)! Don't be fooled by the formula companies!

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    • A breast pump.
      By: Vladan Andrejevic
      A breast pump.
    • Breastfeeding is considered the healthiest way to feed a baby.
      By: Svetlana Fedoseeva
      Breastfeeding is considered the healthiest way to feed a baby.