Choosing How To Feed
The most important aspect of infant feeding is feeding the infant. Most babies thrive whether they are breast or bottle fed. Given that as a basis (and in your worst moments remind yourself of this as your over-riding priority), think about the other considerations.
In order to make a choice and exercise an option, you have to be aware of the pros and cons of breast and bottle feeding or a combination of both. You must bear in mind your own preferences because feeding will be most successful if you are happy with the method you have chosen. And you must also think about what is best for your baby. Although bottle feeding is convenient, there’s little doubt that where the baby’s well-being is concerned, breastfeeding is superior.
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Advantages Of Breastfeeding
- A good reason for breastfeeding is that it’s the natural thing to do. Most women have a natural urge to breastfeed, and there are very few women who are not physically equipped to breastfeed. No matter how small the breasts, they will be able to produce enough milk to feed and sustain the baby. Even women whose nipples are inverted can, with early diagnosis, breastfeed their babies.
- It’s natural for a mother to feel proud that her baby is being fed on food that she provides and it’s natural to crave the physical nearness and pleasure and to know that you are helping a close relationship to develop between you and your child.
- Breastfed babies are less liable to illness than bottle-fed ones. There are fewer cases of gastroenteritis, chest infection, and measles. All the mother’s antibodies to bacterial and viral infections are present in the colostrum, the first milk made by the breasts that are present in the breasts from the fifth month of pregnancy. In the first few days of life, therefore, when the baby is taking only the high-protein colostrum, she is living under the umbrella of her mother’s antibodies. They have a protective effect in the intestine but also, as they are absorbed straight into the baby’s system unchanged, they form an important part of the baby’s own protection against infections. Take the example of a mother who has antibodies to poliomyelitis in her own body.Because of those antibodies appear in her colostrum its not possible to infect her baby with the poliomyelitis virus while she’s being wholly breastfed. The antibodies in the baby’s gut will kill the virus before it can do any harm. Besides that, human milk is antibacterial because it contains substances that destroy bacteria. Even though these substances are present in cow’s milk, a bottle-fed baby is not protected in the same way because the antibodies are inactivated when the cow’s milk is heated.
- Human breast milk is the best source of food for a human baby, it has just the right amount of minerals and proteins. Cow’s milk, which is for calves, has a higher percentage of protein and a high content of casein, which is the least digestible part of it and is passed out in the stool in the form of curds.
- Human milk contains just the right amount of sodium(salt) for a newborn baby. This is important because the immature kidneys of the infant are unable to deal with high levels of sodium in the blood. Cow’s milk contains more sodium than human milk.
- While human milk and cow’s milk contain the same amount of fat, the droplets in human milk are smaller and more digestible. Breast milk fat is high in polyunsaturates and low in cholesterol, and it may, therefore, protect against heart disease in later life. Breast milk also contains more sugar (lactose) than cow’s milk and the mineral and vitamin content is different.
- Breastfeeding is good for the figure. Research has shown that a woman loses most of the fat she’s accumulated during pregnancy if she breastfeeds. If you don’t feed your baby yourself, you will probably have more difficulty returning to your pre-pregnancy weight.
- It’s a common fallacy that the breasts lose their shape and firmness through breastfeeding. This is not so. The changes that occur in the breast are a consequence of becoming pregnant, not of producing milk or feeding your baby.
- Breastfeeding also has the advantage that it releases the hormone oxytocin which encourages the uterus to shrink to its non-pregnant size, hastening the return to normal of the pelvis and your waistline.
- The sheer convenience of breastfeeding also mustn’t be ignored. Milk is always available for the baby, at any time of the day or night, it doesn’t have to be warmed up, there’s no expensive equipment to buy and keep sterile and its free.
- Bonding occurs between mother and baby quite automatically if you breastfeed close to her mother’s face about 20-25 cm (8-10 in) and even a newborn baby can focus at this distance. The act of making eye contact and smiling at your baby as she sucks helps to create a physical and emotional bond between mother and baby which is hardly ever broken for the rest of their lives.
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Problems Of Breastfeeding
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One of the often quoted disadvantages of breastfeeding is that it curtails social activity. This need not necessarily be so. During the early weeks, babies are very portable and you can take your baby with you when you go out. Although feeding in public places can still cause raised eyebrows, it’s easy to feed discreetly, and many stores, restaurants, train terminals, and airports now have designated baby-feeding areas.
- If you don’t want to take your baby with you, you can take off sufficient milk with a breast pump to serve the baby’s needs while you are away from her. you can bottle your own breast milk in the sterile bottle your own breast milk in sterile bottles and store them in the fridge or freezer and your babysitter can give the bottle to your baby later on your behalf. Remember, even if you only feed your baby for two weeks, that’s better than not breastfeeding at all and it will give your baby a flying start in life. Incidentally, one of the advantages of expressing some of your milk into bottles is that your partner can then become involved with the feeding routine too.
Advantage Of Bottle Feeding
- As there are no real arguments against breastfeeding, it is also true to say that there are no arguments in favor of bottle feeding. However, for you in your particular circumstances with your particular predilections, breastfeeding may not be a feasible or workable alternative, in which case bottle feeding will be your choice. If it is, don’t feel that your child is getting second best.
- Babies thrive and are perfectly happy being bottle fed, and always remember that your baby needs your love and care more than she needs your breast milk. Bottle feeding, love, and attention are an excellent option for any baby.
- There will be certain mothers who don’t have any option but to bottle feed. These are women who may be taking drugs in the long term for a medical condition, such as epilepsy which needs barbiturates to keep it under control, or chronic depression for which antidepressants are prescribed. You may become seriously ill and need admission to hospital. If physically you are not in a fit state to breastfeed, then you should not. If physically you are not in a fit state to breastfeed, then you should not. If you have to take any medicines regularly, discuss with your doctor whether they are passed on to your baby in breast milk and what the possible effects will be on breastfeeding and your baby. Quite often its possible for nursing mothers to change to safe drugs.
- Some handicapped babies, or babies with physical abnormalities such as cleft palate or deformity of the jaw and mouth, may not be able to suck the breast successfully and will have to be spoon or bottle fed.
- If you think your milk supply is inadequate and the baby is failing to thrive, consult your midwife or a breastfeeding counselor before opting to bottle feed. Your own nutrition and physical fitness do have a bearing on successful breastfeeding so you need to pay attention to getting a balanced diet.
- Some women have a strong physical revulsion against breastfeeding and find it a tiresome chore. Women who feel revulsion very strongly will be under stress, and this may interfere both with milk production and milk flow. If you feel that your baby is not getting enough, these negative messages will also reinforce your dislike of breastfeeding. If this happens to you, do try to talk over your feelings before the birth of your baby with a sympathetic friend or midwife and do involve your baby’s father.
- One of the main advantages of bottle feeding is that your partner can be equally involved in feeding your baby from the outset, which allows him to create a close, nurturing bond with this baby. It also means that you can work out a shared feeding schedule which gives you each enough time for rest, for unbroken sleep and time for rest, for broken sleep and time off for yourselves.
- One of the questionable advantages of bottle feeding is that babies sleep longer between feeds during the first weeks(although this is by no means always the case). This longer sleeping period could be because the casein content of cow’s milk is higher than that of human milk and takes longer to digest.
- With bottle feeding, you can see exactly how much milk your baby has taken which can be most reassuring.
Problems Of Bottle Feeding
- The posset from a bottle-fed baby has an unpleasant smell, as do the stools.
- Some babies are allergic to the alien protein in cow’s milk. There are soya substitutes for babies with allergies, nursing mothers in families with a history of eczema or asthma are advised to breastfeed or use these substitutes.
- The sterilization of bottle-feeding equipment and the careful preparation of feeds are time-consuming compared to the accessibility of breast milk.
- Bottle-fed babies are more prone to gastric infections than breastfed babies. who receive some protection from their mother’s milk.
- The cost of formula milk, bottle, teats, and sterilizing equipment is substantial, whereas breastfeeding is free and is always available.
BreastFeeding After A Caesarean
You may fear if you are advised to have a Caesarean delivery, that it will be too uncomfortable to breastfeed in the first weeks after the birth, so you may feel you should opt to bottle feed from the start.
However, your midwife or obstetric physiotherapist will show you comfortable positions for breastfeeding so that the baby does not press against your wound. One way is to lay your baby on pillows on your lap or to tuck your baby’s body under your arm with her head close to your breast.
Alternatively, you can lay your baby down next to you as shown below.
Lying Down To BreastFeed
You can lay your baby next to you while you lie down so she can feed on your lower breast. This is also a good way to breastfeed in bed at night.