Breastfeeding VS Bottle Feeding
Breastfeeding versus bottle feeding during the first few months of baby’s life. People debate which is best. Many factors need to be considered when choosing what is right for a family: health and bonding of mom and baby, convenience, cost, and much more. It is this author’s opinion that, in view of the totality of information, breastfeeding is the best approach to feeding baby in the first few months of his/her life. Following are the reasons underpinning that opinion.
- 1. Health of baby. Right after baby is born, breast milk contains colostrum, which is a natural immune system enhancer. If baby is breastfed, baby’s immune system is provided a powerful boost. A breastfed baby is less likely to have asthma and food-based allergies than a bottle fed baby. A breastfed baby is also less likely to experience stomach viruses, diarrhea, ear infections, respiratory illnesses, and meningitis. When a breastfed baby does experience these conditions, baby experiences them with lessened intensity. Additionally, a breastfed baby is less likely to need a tonsillectomy or appendectomy later in his/her childhood. Finally, a study by the National Institute of Environmental Health Studies found that breastfed babies have a 20% lower chance of dying between 28 days and 1 year of age.
- 2. Health of mom. Breastfeeding causes mom’s body to release oxytocin, which is a hormone that helps mom’s uterus contract after giving birth, thus reducing uterine bleeding. Oxytocin also is a “feel good” hormone: it promotes relaxation and nurturing, which can then lower blood pressure and lessen postpartum depression. Breastfeeding burns calories, so it helps mom lose pregnancy weight. Breastfeeding has also been shown to reduce mom’s likelihood of developing breast and ovarian cancer.
- 3. Bonding of mom and baby. A breastfeeding mom commonly describes breastfeeding as a bonding experience between her and baby. Bottle feeding moms miss that unique bonding opportunity.
- 4. Convenience. When breastfeeding baby, mom does not need to pack and carry bottles of formula. A bottle feeding mom can be seen porting a large diaper bag that is full of containers of formula, empty bottles, sanitary wipes to clean bottles, etc. (all of which add bulk and weight to mom’s diaper bag).
- 5. Cost. Formula is typically expensive. Breast milk occurs naturally in mom’s body.
- 6. And much more. Many studies exist that show a host of other benefits. While these studies are not yet confirmed and further study is warranted, it is suggested that breastfeeding increases baby’s IQ; improves baby’s vision; decreases baby’s likelihood of need for orthodontics later in his/her childhood; lowers baby’s cholesterol and heart rates as he/she matures to adulthood; and reduces baby’s risk of diabetes, urinary tract infections, juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, and childhood and adulthood obesity.
For these reasons, this author believes that breastfeeding is the superior choice for mom and baby.
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