While most experts will agree that breastfeeding is best, most will also agree that the right choice is ultimately the one that is best for the individual family. After all, no two families or situations are the same. Here are a few pros and cons of breastfeeding and bottle feeding that you will want to consider as you make the decision for yourself.
- Healthier for Baby: Breast milk is the perfect food for babies of all ages. It even adapts over time and mid-feeding to accommodate baby's age and changing nutritional needs.
- Inexpensive: Breast milk is free!
- Convenient: Head out for an errand or an outing without having to pack extra bottles or find a way to prepare them once you arrive. You always have everything you need.
- Can be Difficult or Painful: Breastfeeding can be tricky get the hang of it. Teething can be painful as well.
- Mom Doesn't Get a Break: If you are exclusively breastfeeding on demand, you may feel constantly tied to baby with no hope of any time to yourself.
- Nearly Impossible if Mother Returns to Work: Many women are unable to continue breastfeeding while at work due to time and storage constraints. They may still nurse at night and on the weekend, but they risk their milk drying out if they don't nurse frequently enough.
- Others Can Bond with Baby: With a bottle, anyone can feed the baby.
- Gives Mother Greater Flexibility: With others feeding the baby, you are free to enjoy a nap or an errand by yourself.
- Convenient: When out and about with baby, you don't have to worry about finding a secluded spot or a way to cover up. Simply grab a bottle and feed the baby right away.
- Nutritionally Incomplete: No matter how scientists try, formula simply doesn't have all of the personalized nutrients that breast milk does. This can, of course, be circumvented by pumping and storing breast milk for bottle feeding.
- You Risk Running Out: If you run out of formula or pumped breastmilk in the middle of the night, you're in trouble.
- Preparing Bottles Can Be a Hassle: While making a bottle only takes a minute, it can seem like an eternity at 3 a.m. when you have a crying baby on your hands. Washing all of the bottles can become very old very quickly as well.
Ultimately, the choice of bottle or breast is one only you can make. Research your options, get advice from trusted friends who have been there, and make the choice that is right for you and your family.