Having a baby is a huge decision and one that calls for a huge commitment. It is a full time job in itself.
Once the baby arrives, the new mother has to make an important choice: Whether she should breast feed or bottle feed her bundle of joy? This single most decision will eventually play a huge role in your baby’s overall health and well being. So how do you decide what is best for both you and your baby?
The Healthiest Food Source for Your Baby– It is a known fact that breast milk is the healthiest food that you can gift your child. Completely un-spoilt and free! Alison Feube,an assistant professor in the Division of Maternal Fetal Medicine at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill describes breastfeeding as the fourth trimester of pregnancy.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) says, “Breastfeeding ensures the best possible health and best developmental and psychosocial outcomes for the infant.” Breast milk is rich in natural vitamins, nutrients, fats, lactose and proteins that help in the all-round brain and body development of your child. The antibodies in breast milk strengthen your baby’s immune system. It has also been reported that children fed on breast milk have relatively lower incidence of childhood obesity and asthma.
Babies fed on mother’s milk also respond better to immunizations and vaccinations. This means fewer doctor visits. It is also observed that breast-fed babies have better IQ as opposed to bottle-fed ones and also have a stronger sense of smell. It is because the taste of breast milk changes with the mother’s changing diet thus making the baby more sensitive to smell and taste.
It Is Good for Mommies too! – Mothers can benefit from breastfeeding in many ways. It has been found that women who breastfeed have reduced risk of ovarian cancer, breast cancer, heart diseases and osteoporosis. It also burns those extra calories that you put on during pregnancy.
Mother-Child Bonding Time- Breastfeeding aids in fostering a strong mother-child bond that becomes a building block for a deep-rooted emotional relationship. Many women cherish such intimate and tranquil moments of skin-to skin contact with their child.
Time Saving- Bottle feeding can be a healthy alternative should you choose to formula feed your baby with the ones that are available in the market commercially. Formula is generally a powder mixture that needs to be mixed with water or a liquid into a paste like consistency. It is designed primarily to feed infants under the age of 12 months. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), formula companies need to make sure that they try to include all the necessary nutrients and vitamins, naturally found in breast milk, in the powder mixture as much as it is possible.
Bottle feeding is a great option for working mothers or those who are not comfortable with the idea of breastfeeding. It can be done anywhere and at anytime. Other family members can also take turns to feed the baby and enjoy bonding time.
Bottle feeding also doesn’t require for you to feed your baby frequently. Formula food takes more time to digest so your baby does not end up feeling hungry every 2-3 hours. However, this may make your baby more susceptible to conditions like diarrhea and constipation.
Enjoy Guilt Free Eating– Mothers who give formula feed to their babies do not need to monitor what they eat as opposed to breastfeeding women who may have to abstain from certain eating habits that may prove to be harmful for the baby. This includes limiting alcohol intake and also smoking. Traces of alcohol and nicotine may pass into the breast milk and have adverse effects on the baby.
Doesn’t Aggravate Conditions– For women who are already suffering from certain health conditions such as tuberculosis or are undergoing chemotherapy/ radiation therapy,bottle feeding can be a life saver.
THE BEST OF BOTH WORLDS:
If you cannot exclusively breastfeed your baby and do not solely want to bottle feed as well, the ideal situation would be to adopt a combination approach. This way not only does your baby get nutrients and vitamins required for its healthy growth but you can also leave the feeding to your other family members, should the need arise.