Feeding your newborn is one of your first significant life choices. Most mothers can choose to start out either breastfeeding or using a bottle.
Should I Breastfeed or Bottle-feed?
Even in countries where infant formula is easily obtained and water supplies are clean and safe, experts recommend breastfeeding for the first six months as the best option for your and your baby’s health. However, the decision to breastfeed or bottle-feed is ultimately one that you and your baby will need to make together after carefully weighing the benefits and drawbacks of each. You needn’t pick a side; you can do both, albeit in varying degrees and for different lengths of time. For your consideration, we have outlined the primary benefits and drawbacks of each strategy:
Benefits of Breastfeeding to Your Baby
- Breast milk is nature’s way of nourishing your child, so it’s the best choice for them. It’s the most digestible food you can give them, so it might reduce the incidence of gas and colic.
- Breast milk, especially the mother’s first milk, can help keep your infant healthy and free from common childhood illnesses like diarrhea and ear infections. Additionally, it helps lower cot deaths (sudden infant death syndrome).
- Long-term breastfeeding benefits your baby’s metabolism by lowering its risk of developing obesity, diabetes, and allergies like eczema.
- Lipstick nipple breastfeeding simplifies feeding because the baby doesn’t need other liquids (like water) while nursing. Breast milk changes its composition to ensure it has everything your baby needs, even in hot weather.
- Babies who are exclusively breastfed rarely experience gastrointestinal distress.
Advantages of Breastfeeding For You
- In particular, your uterus will contract more quickly after delivery if you breastfeed your baby.
- The initial ‘engorgement’ of the breasts, which typically occurs around days 3–4, can be very painful, but breastfeeding can help alleviate the discomfort.
- Breastfeeding saves time and effort because there is no need to fill bottles. In addition to being the most convenient, it also costs nothing to use.
- Breastfeeding decreases the risk of postpartum depression slightly.
- In the long run, breastfeeding can help prevent breast and ovarian cancer. Other benefits include the prevention of bone thinning (osteoporosis), diabetes, and obesity.
READ ALSO: Puffy Nipples: Causes and How to treat them
Advantages of combination feeding
In other words, you don’t have to choose between breastfeeding and bottle-feeding. Some mothers exclusively breastfeed, while others supplement with formula and milk pumps. Combination feeding is easiest to start after six weeks of breastfeeding when your supply has stabilized. Still, you can try it earlier if necessary or desired.
- You’ve decided to breastfeed, but you and your partner would both benefit from taking turns doing the feedings.
- You want to give your baby the healthiest possible start in life by breastfeeding. Still, you’re also concerned about maintaining your own energy levels.
- To get some rest, if you want to breastfeed but supplement with formula for one or more feeds.
- You’ve been using a bottle to feed your newborn, but now you’ve decided to switch to breastfeeding.
- If you must leave your baby, you may wish to provide them with breast milk to drink while you are gone.
- You’re a parent of multiples who thinks this is a better solution than babysitting.
How should I feed my newborn baby?
A newborn infant need to be fed as soon as possible after birth. Commonly, you can either breast- or bottle-feeding right from the start. Many mothers who plan to bottle-feed their infants still choose to breastfeed for at least the first two weeks, because of the numerous health benefits of breast milk, especially in the early stages of breastfeeding. This means they provide their infant the vital first milk (colostrum) before transitioning to formula.
Will I have any milk in the first few hours?
Leaking breasts signify that you are already producing colostrum in the final weeks of pregnancy. This is precisely what will happen when your baby is born. This pale yellow liquid is a bit thicker than full-grown mothers’ milk. Your body will only produce colostrum for the first few days of your baby’s life. Then it will gradually transform (and increase in quantity) into full-fledged breast milk. A healthy supply of colostrum is crucial for your infant. Any colostrum you give your baby will benefit them, even if you don’t intend to breastfeed permanently.
What is the best way to express breast milk for my premature baby?
Premature infants require breast milk, and you should begin hand-expressing within the first six hours after delivery. You should repeat these eight to ten times daily, including once at night. Some days, you may only produce a few drops of milk at a time, which may not seem like much.
Calories in colostrum, breast milk, and formula
Colostrum has about 50 calories per ounce, while full-term breast milk and infant formula both have 60-75 calories per fluid ounce. Each breast, when producing mature milk, will produce “richer” milk with a higher fat content towards the end of a feed when it is nearly empty; therefore, it is essential for breastfeeding babies to have the opportunity to empty one breast before feeding from the other.