What to feed your little one is really a decision you have to make with careful consideration of its pros and cons. In Tiny Steps article, Why Should You Breastfeed Your Baby, the benefits of breastfeeding were discussed. Experts recommend breastfeeding, but in this article, we will look at an alternative to breastfeeding, which is bottle feeding, either breast milk or formula milk.

Before we dive into the advantages and disadvantages of bottle feeding, let’s look at the common reasons why some moms opt to bottle-feed their little ones.

Reasons Why Mothers Consider Bottle feeding

mother bottle feeding baby due to post natal depression

1. Low milk supply.

Some mothers face challenges in breastfeeding their babies because they struggle with low milk supply. Low milk supply can be caused by different reasons, such as:

a.     Hormonal problems

Mothers who have polycystic ovary syndrome, diabetes, hypothyroidism, or other hormonal problems may affect their milk supply.

b.     Medications

Some medicines can result in low milk supply. Pseudoephedrine is a common medicine that has a known effect on milk production.

c.     A mental condition, such as depression or anxiety.

When a mom feels stressed, depressed, or anxious, her milk supply decreases.

d.     Incorrect latch 

The baby has to be in a correct and comfortable position. If not, he may not be able to latch correctly and get enough milk from you. 

e.     Baby has tongue-tie

Having a tongue-tie prevents the baby from latching correctly. 

f.      Not breastfeeding enough.

Frequent breastfeeding helps with stimulating milk supply. Not breastfeeding frequently sends a signal to the breast that it does not need to produce milk.

If you struggle with low milk supply, do not hesitate to consult a lactation consultant for advice.  She may be able to guide you to increase your milk supply. Some of the causes above can be corrected to improve your milk supply.

2.  Mother has a medical condition that requires medication. 

When mothers take medicines, they can pass it on to their babies.  Hence, if mothers really require drugs, they stop breastfeeding. 

3.   Mother has undergone breast surgery. 

Mothers who have undergone breast augmentation can still breastfeed.  However, women who have undergone double mastectomy cannot breastfeed after their operation. 

4.  Mother is working in another location. 

The physical location and distance may be a reason for not being able to breastfeed. 

5.  Baby is lactose-intolerant.

Lactose intolerance rarely occurs to infants, but when it does, the baby may suffer from severe diarrhea, nausea, and abdominal pain.  In such a case, parents may seek doctor’s advice on the best alternative milk for their little one.

Advantages of Bottle Feeding

mother feeding baby formula milk in bottle

1.  You have options on what to feed the baby.

With bottle-feeding, you have a variety of milk to choose from depending on your and your baby’s preferences and physical needs. You can choose to pump breastmilk and have your baby drink it from the bottle. Another option is to give your baby formula milk.

According to mayoclinic.org, there are three types of formula milk that the Food and Drug Administration approves of. These are cow’s milk protein-based formula, soy-based formula, and protein hydrolysate formula. 

2.  Anyone can feed the baby.

Since the baby is not latched on to you, your husband, family member, or nanny can help you and take turns in feeding the baby. You can get a little pocket of time to have me time or do something else. 

3.  Mothers can feed the baby in public according to their comfort level.

If you feel uncomfortable breastfeeding in public, bottle feeding, whether it is formula milk or breastmilk, is a good option for you. You don’t have to get breastfeeding blouses or poncho during your day out.

4.  Mothers don’t need to change their diet.

Some babies may have an allergic reaction to breastmilk depending on their mother’s diet. Peanuts, corn, wheat, or eggs are a common example of a food that mothers eat that triggers the baby’s allergic reaction. By bottle-feeding with formula milk, the mother is not obliged to make dietary changes, and the baby is less likely to have an allergy.

5.  Babies have a longer feeding interval.

Breastfed babies tend to feed every 2-3 hours, while formula-fed babies tend to feed every 3-4 hours. This is because babies who are fed with formula milk requires larger ounces of milk compared to breastfed babies.

6.  You can monitor how much your baby drinks every feeding.

When your baby latches on you, you have no idea how much milk the baby gets from you. On the other hand, you can see how many ounces of breastmilk or formula milk your baby can finish on each feeding. You get an assurance that your baby is getting enough milk.

Disadvantages of Bottle Feeding

hand scooping formula powder milk for baby bottle

1.     Formula milk does not have antibodies.

Breastmilk is known to have Immunoglobins that help boost babies’ immunity.  Unfortunately, these antibodies cannot be replicated in formula milk. Hence, formula milk cannot provide additional protection from viruses and bacteria that breastmilk can.

2.     Moms do not enjoy the health benefits of breastfeeding.

Breastfeeding offers many physical and mental health benefits for mothers. Studies show that breastfeeding can help avoid postpartum depression, postpartum hemorrhage, certain cancers, and diseases. 

3.     Bottlefeeding can be expensive.

Choosing to bottle-feed can be costly. You have to factor in formula milk, feeding bottles, bottle cleaners, sterilizers into your budget.

4.     Additional time and effort in preparing milk.

Using bottles requires extra time and effort for you to measure milk and water and wash and sterilize the baby bottles. 

5.     Challenging to pack light during travels.

If you got used to packing light during travels, you need to adjust to bringing a lot of things during your trip. The number of bottles, formula milk, and water will depend on your little one’s feeding frequency and appetite. The longer you stay on the road, the more bottles you need to bring.

We hope that the list of advantages and disadvantages of bottle-feeding helps you in making an informed decision of whether to proceed with bottle-feeding or breastfeeding. Remember that you are empowered to make your choices based on your beliefs and lifestyle preferences.

We would love to hear from you, so please share your thoughts by sending your comments below.

Tiny Steps

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