When it comes to feeding your baby, you will have to make the choice of whether you want to breastfeed or bottle feed. There are advantages and disadvantages to each that you need to consider carefully.
Advantages of breastfeeding
Breast milk contains perfectly balanced amounts of nutrients and is very easy to digest and absorb.
Breast milk contains antibodies that help your baby fight infections. It is also packed with essential enzymes and hormones.
Breastfeeding lets your bond with and comfort your baby.
Breastfeeding costs nothing, doesn't require any preparation and is available whenever your baby is hungry.
Breastfeeding is beneficial to the mother as well, decreasing your likelihood of developing Type II diabetes, breast cancer and osteoporosis.
Disadvantages of breastfeeding
Some mothers experience discomfort while breastfeeding, especially for the first few days.
You need to always be available to your baby when s/he is hungry, which might not always be possible.
Medications can interfere with your ability to breastfeed.
You might need to buy breast pumps and breast milk storage equipment so that your baby can be fed in your absence.
You might feel uncomfortable feeding your baby in public.
You need to consume about 500 extra calories to be able to breastfeed your baby. This might make it difficult for you to shed baby weight.
Advantages of bottle feeding
Your baby can be fed by anyone. This gives you more flexibility and allows your partner to bond with your baby.
Since your baby will be fed a predetermined amount of formula, it is easy to monitor your baby's nutrient intake.
You can eat and drink whatever you want without having to worry about affecting your baby.
Disadvantages of bottle feeding
Artificial milk (formula) is not as easily digested and absorbed by your baby's system.
It needs to be prepared very carefully.
Formula is expensive, plus you'll also need to buy bottles and accessories which have to be washed and sterilized every time.
You always have to carry baby-feeding accessories with you.
It has been found that babies who are not breastfed are more likely to suffer from diarrhoea and infections.
Choosing whether to breastfeed or bottle feed
Experts will tell you that breastfeeding is the best thing you can do for your baby. However, not all mothers are willing or able to breastfeed, and so this is a decision you'll have to reach after considering your lifestyle and discussing the choice with your partner and paediatrician.
Should you choose to breastfeed, you can also seek advice from a lactation consultant, who will teach you helpful breastfeeding techniques.
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