What is Breast-Feeding…?
As the term suggests, breastfeeding stands for feeding a child human breast milk.
According to the World Health Organization, breastfeeding is the normal way of providing young infants with the nutrients they need for healthy growth and development. In fact, the WHO has recommended the perfect food for the newborn, that is colostrum, the yellowish, sticky breast milk produced at the end of pregnancy, and it should be started within the first hour after birth. The findings of the American Academy of Pediatrics highlight the point that the most preferred food for infants is human breast milk. The infants include all kinds of babies, premature or even sick, with some exceptions.
What is Bottle-Feeding…?
Bottle-feeding is an alternative for the mothers who do not breastfeed their child. This is an art of feeding an infant with ordinary milk to work as a substitute for mothers’ milk. Doctors’ generally, recommend breast-feeding for at least initial six months, but because of many reasons, bottle-feeding has now gained popularity.
So..which one is the best for your baby?
Well, this is one of the biggest confusion in the mind of every new mom or going to be moms. Actually, choosing one of them is not as simple as it appears. The biggest problem is even if a mother decides to go out of the line and opt for bottle-feeding, she will be criticized. People will judge her for not providing her child with the perfect food provided by nature itself. So, it is actually a tough choice. But, it can be made simpler by having complete knowledge about the pros and cons of the two methods. So, let us discuss them in detail.
Breast milk has a perfect blend of all the nutrients. The best part is this that the nutrition content varies according to the milk production stage. This helps in meeting the changing nutritional requirements in the baby. On the other hand, the nutrition content in bottle milk depends on how it is prepared. Some of the babies might encounter difficulty in digesting certain nutrients, which might affect their health. But a positive side of this is that the nutrition content can be adjusted or molded with the advice of the pediatrician. You should also look on the best nutrition diet for the child.
It has actually been observed that babies who live on breastfeeding have witnessed a reduced risk of infections like gastrointestinal, ear and respiratory tract infections. This rate is around 25-75%. This is mainly because of the fact that breastfeeding is a way by which immunity is transferred from the mother to the baby. In fact, the babies experience reduced ear infections as the process of feeding involves the creation of strong pressure in rhythm suck, swallow, breath pattern and this, in turn, leads to the aeration of Eustachian tube in the inner ear.
On the other hand, this is lacking in formula feeding.
The natural antibodies contained in breast milk enhance the immunity of the baby. This is because breast milk contains many nutrients, which fight against the infections and diseases. On the other hand, the bottle milk does not contain such antibodies.
Illness & Disease
As already discussed, colostrum is the first substance produced at the end of pregnancy. This colostrum is composed of large amounts of secretory immunoglobulin, a substance that provides resistance against germs; these germs are responsible for various illnesses and thus helps in the prevention of diseases. The lack of colostrum in bottle-feeding provides an upper hand to breastfeeding.
Breastfeeding is restricted to mothers. Many times, the husband, babysitter or any other caretaker feels helpless when it comes to feeding the baby. It is not convenient to use a breast pump most of the times. Moreover, a mother cannot breastfeed her baby in all circumstances. So, in those situations, bottle feeding comes into the picture. It is convenient and feasible in almost all circumstances.
It is generally found that breast milk is easily digestible as compared to bottle milk. So, this considerably reduces the risk of constipation and gas problems in the baby.
It is not feasible to ascertain the quantity of milk consumed by the baby in breastfeeding, while in bottle feeding one can very easily measure the milk intake. Thus, accordingly, the milk intake can be regulated.
Impact of Diet/Medicines Taken
It is quite obvious that the diet of the mother will have an impact on the health of the baby. So, it becomes very important to take note of what a mother is having for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. An unhealthy diet can result in many of the digestion issues in the baby as the breast milk will be inspired by those foods. Moreover, the medicines, which the mother is using, might affect the baby in a negative way. But, this is not the case in bottle feeding. Bottle-feeding is in no way connected to the dietary intake of the mother.
Well, breastfeeding is not an option for all mothers. Many of the mothers because of medical issues, insufficiency of milk production etc. cannot breastfeed their baby. In that case, bottle feeding acts as the best alternative and provides a solution to these mothers.
Breast milk is free of cost. So, every mother in the world, be it rich or poor, can feed her baby. While, bottle milk/formula milk ranges in cost according to its quality.
NATURE vs. SCIENCE
It becomes a clear-cut argument between nature and science when we talk about the two terms. Breastfeeding naturally contains many live cells, immunoglobulins, antibodies that fight various diseases. While, in bottle-feeding, one can regulate the number of nutrients to be added. So, it is a good clash between nature and science; also see on the best diet plan during pregnancy period.
Hence, one can conclude that giving priority to one over the other will be a mistake because the merit of one is the demerit of another and vice versa. The possible solution posed to the question, in the beginning, is having a blend of breast milk and bottle milk. But of course, in the first six months, priority should be given to breastfeeding. (Read more on the diet therapy after abortion)