This piece of writing is going to investigate the advantages and disadvantages of breast and bottle feeding to find which method is better. By researching the information that is available then there should be a definitive answer to the question that has been asked. This essay will be looking at both methods, providing both advantages and disadvantages of breast and bottle feeding to conclude which method is better for both mother and baby.
When it is looked into, both methods have their advantages. With breast feeding, one of the most important things that a mother can do after a baby is born is bond with it, and breast feeding is an excellent way of doing this. The mother is able to bond with her newborn, cradling the infant in her arms and close to her body, which allows the baby to feel warm and comforted, similar to the surroundings in the womb, which the baby will be used to, and will allow the baby to know that they are safe.
Bottle feeding also helps the mother bond with her baby, as again, the baby is cradled in the mother’s arms, however bottle feeding can allow others, such as the father, to bond with the child and take a more active role in the baby’s feeding times. Both methods are extremely nourishing for the baby, especially breast milk. Within breast milk is everything the baby requires for growth and health. One of the things that is found in breast milk, that is not in formula milk are antibodies.
These antibodies help the baby’s immune system and allow the baby to effectively fight off disease, and these antibodies are not included within formula milk, which can be deterring for a mother as research has shown that babies who are not breast fed have a higher risk of infection and are more likely to spend time in hospital in their first year (BBC, 2010), which could be a direct link with the antibodies contained within breast milk. Bottle feeding a child can make the child feel full for longer, resulting in less feeds.
This can be quite convenient and less tiring for a mother than breast feeding as the child will need to be fed less, however formula can cause digestive upset for the baby, resulting in pungent faeces and regular nappy changes. If a mother is breastfeeding, she must also watch what she is eating, as what she eats is passed on through her breast milk and may also cause upset stomach or even diarrhoea in the child as their digestive systems are weaker than that of an adult.
Foods that the mother may miss out on include spicy foods and even chocolate, which can both have an adverse effect on the baby’s stomach and faeces. Breast feeding for a mother can be quite uncomfortable if doing it for the first time, as it does take a little while to get used to. The mother can become very tired and fatigued from breast feeding, as when a baby is born, they need to be fed every few hours during the day and may awake on numerous occasions throughout the night for feeding, which can strain the mother if they have a busy schedule such as work or looking after other children.
Although breast milk can be pumped and available for the baby, again, this can be just as strenuous on the mother. With bottle feeding, bottles can be made in advance, which can be helpful with night feeds, as the bottles can be warmed up when needed, and can be quite convenient for a busy mother. It also means that anyone can awake to feed the baby, such as the father, allowing the mother to rest if she needs to.
Mothers can also feel quite embarrassed about breast feeding in public, which can be quite inconvenient for both mother and baby if the mother is out and needs to feed. Again, breast milk can be pumped from the breast to be available for public feeds, however when breast milk is produced from the breast, it is the required temperature for the mother to feed straight away but the mother may not be able to find anywhere to warm the pumped breast milk to the temperature required, and this is the same for bottled milk also.
Another subject that can be taken into account when trying to distinguish which method of feeding is better is the cost of the milk for the baby. With breast feeding, the milk is free to produce from the mother, as it is produced naturally and fed from the breast. If the mother wants to pump the milk for feeding then the mother would need to purchase a breast pump and bottles, however if the mother is solely breast feeding then this would not be needed.
With bottle feeding, the cost can be quite high when it is looked into. The cost of formula, bottles and sterilising equipment must all be taken into account, and this is an expense that could be saved just by breast feeding. Having looked at all the facts, it can be said that breast milk is better for a baby than what bottle milk is, due to it being the natural way of producing milk for infants and that the breast milk produced from a mother contains antibodies which fight off disease.
The formula milk does not contain these antibodies and by breastfeeding it is also less likely that a child will be admitted to hospital within its first year. However it is a woman’s right to choose whether or not she would like to breast feed based upon the facts provided, as not both methods are suitable for every mother. Both methods will provide the infant with the nourishment that they require, and with the help of the mothers midwife and doctor, they can decide what method is suitable based on the information that can be provided to them.