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When a woman finds out that she is pregnant, she has to make a very important choice for her newborn- whether to breastfeed or use formula. Both options have positive and negative attributes that help the mother decide which is best decision for her family’s situation. Most doctors encourage mothers to breastfeed their children because there are many benefits of breast milk. Although breast-feeding is proven to be the ideal way to feed your newborn, many women can’t, or simply chose not to, which is why formula is an excellent alternative. There are major differences between breastfeeding and bottle-feeding, which are helpful to consider when trying to make the best decision for your family. Making the choice to breastfeed or formula-feed is a very personal choice made within a family that should be respected by others.
Breast-feeding a child is much less costly than formula feeding. An important thing to consider while making the choice between breastfeeding and formula is that breast milk is free. There are certain accessories that can be a bit pricey though, such as a breast-pump. This is useful if a mother can’t be with her baby every second of the day, such as a working mother. She can send her baby to daycare with her breast-milk, and can also introduce the bottle to her newborn. A woman may also choose to breast pump if the child’s father or another family member wishes to feed the child. Pumping can be time-consuming which is a consideration a mother should make. Although a breast pump can be expensive to many families, it is a one-time purchase. While pumping can be helpful, it is not for every mother. Breast milk itself is free, while accessories such as a breast pump and breast pads are not. Ultimately, breastfeeding can save a lot of money during a newborn’s first year of life because breast milk is completely costless.
Breastfeeding has excellent benefits for both mother and infant. Breast milk is proven to provide an immense amount of nutrients for the child, while also being easily digestible. Breast milk has been shown to build up a baby’s immune system quickly and to protect against certain infections. The risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome has also been proven to decrease if a child has been breastfed. Babies are able to digest breast milk, which lessens stomachaches and gas in the infant. A study was done with both breast-fed children and bottle-fed children and the results concurred that, “…breast-feeding had better outcomes than bottle-feeding in factors like BMI, hyperactivity, math skills, reading recognition, vocabulary word identification, digit recollection, scholastic competence, and obesity” (Sifferlin). The study shows that breast-feeding does make a positive difference in some vital factors in a child’s life. Mothers who breastfeed lose baby weight more quickly and are also said to experience a special bond with their baby while breastfeeding. Another surprising study in 2010 showed, “that if most new moms breastfed their babies for the first 6 months of life, it would save nearly 1,000 lives and 13 billion dollars…each year-which doesn’t include the savings on formula expenses” (Falco). There are many benefits of breastfeeding that all mothers should be aware of before they give birth to their new baby.
There are also cons of breastfeeding that some families believe can outweigh the benefits. Not all women are able to breastfeed their baby for many reasons. The build up of excitement to breastfeed, and then realizing you weren’t able to could result in post-partum depression. Also, a mother must be present for every feeding if she wishes not to pump. This can be inconvenient, and sometimes impossible for working mothers. Initially, breastfeeding can be painful to some mothers, which is also a negative result of breastfeeding. While breastfeeding, a mother must watch what she consumes, just as closely as she did while pregnant. It is strongly recommended that nursing mothers avoid alcohol and certain foods, such as fish high in mercury. Many mothers wish to go back to pre-pregnancy eating habits, but with breastfeeding, that is not completely possible. There are also many medicines and birth controls that should be avoided. Another negative is breastfed babies usually demand being fed more often than infants who drink formula. Lastly, breastfeeding can make many women feel self-conscious while doing it in public. Breastfeeding has many benefits, but also some cons that can make a woman chose formula over breast milk.
Bottle-feeding an infant has many differences than breastfeeding that should be considered while making the decision on how you wish to feed your child. A great advantage of bottle-feeding is that anyone has the ability to feed the child. The pressure of being the only one to feed the child does not exist. A mother does not have to be the only one to wake up with the child for night feedings, if she has a support system, such as a husband. Also, a mother can easily send her child to daycare with formula, without having to worry about pumping breast milk, freezing it, and thawing it for the next day. Those tasks associated with breastfeeding can be time consuming, while formula can just be purchased pre-made. Also, a mother who choses to bottle-feed will become familiar with exactly how much milk her baby consumes in one feeding. Formula feeding a child can take an enormous load off the mother and can be convenient.
A huge positive of formula feeding is a mother can feel free to return to her old eating habits immediately postpartum. She will be able to drink alcohol and consume certain foods that would otherwise upset a breastfed child. A mother who bottle-feeds her infant can return to any prescriptions she once used, and can immediately start any form of birth control, if she choses. Also, bottle-feeding can be done in public without any feelings of embarrassment. Another important factor many mothers should consider is that many formulas made today have almost the same amount of beneficial nutrients as breast milk does. Formula feeding does not irritate your breasts and formula fed babies need to be fed less often. Formula feeding an infant is a convenient, alternative to breastfeeding that is both healthy and helps the mother to return to her pre-pregnancy life faster than breastfeeding.
There are also downsides to formula feeding that women should consider. Bottle-feeding can be extremely costly, since a container of formula can cost anywhere between ten and forty dollars. A container of formula can go fast, which means you will need to purchase it often. Bottles must also be purchased in addition to formula. Bottle-fed children are proven to be more susceptible to viruses, which can result in more expensive hospital or doctor visits. When making formula, you can mix it incorrectly causing the formula to contain too much water, or too much powder. If the formula is heated, there is a chance that if it gets heated too much, it can burn the baby. As close as formula can get to breast milk, it is not the same, and doesn’t contain the exact same amount of nutrients. Also, if a mother who bottle-feeds decides she wants to breastfeed later on, it may be hard for the baby to understand the concept, or the breast milk may have already dried up. Formula feeding has many advantages as well as disadvantages, that can make it hard for a family to chose between breastfeeding and bottle-feeding.
Breastfeeding and bottle-feeding are vastly different ways to raise an infant, but both feed the child, which is the end goal. Breastfeeding is less expensive, especially nutritious, can result in quicker weight loss for the mother, and can form a strong bond between the mother and child. Formula feeding is convenient, contains many nutrients, and can be less embarrassing than breastfeeding would be for some mothers. Breastfeeding and formula feeding are extremely different from each other, and are both smart ways to feed a newborn. Both ways of feeding have their pros and cons, and if one choses, they may be able to bottle-feed and breastfeed. Each family has their own important needs when deciding whether breastfeeding or bottle-feeding is right for them.
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