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Breastfeeding vs. Bottle Feeding: Which Is Better for You and Your Child?

 

Few things are more controversial to mothers than breastfeeding vs bottle feeding. Though there are many factors that go into the decision, ultimately the parents of the infant are the only people who have the right to decide how a baby is fed. Here are a few factors that often go into this decision.

The Benefits of Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding has so many health benefits for both infants and mothers that it's no wonder many people are so passionate about it. It strengthens the immune system of infants, passing along the mother's antibodies to the infant. Babies who aren't breastfed are more susceptible to illnesses, infections and are more likely to develop allergies, according to the World Health Organization. The WHO recommends that all mothers breastfeed in order to give their babies those advantages. 

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that mothers breastfeed for the first six months of a baby's life and to give the baby no other nutrition than breast milk. The AAP also recommends that the mother continue to breastfeed for at least another six months and to supplement the second six months with baby foods. The WHO recommends that mothers breastfeed for the first two years and has stated that more than two years is also beneficial. All of these organizations use the latest studies on breastmilk and the advantages that it brings. They have encouraged a higher percentage of women to breastfeed. This has included taking out ads to encourage the practice and to supply new mothers with more information about how the practice can benefit them.

For new mothers, the act of breastfeeding is also beneficial. The time spent with the baby creates the perfect bonding time for mother and baby. It also burns calories, allowing the mother to lose her extra baby weight more easily. Some women report that it also relieves stress and helps calm the swirl of emotions that many women experience after giving birth. 

The Benefits of Bottle Feeding

While virtually all health officials concur that breastfeeding is healthiest for a baby, there are occasions when it simply can't be done. For women with chronic conditions that require medications, there are some instances when breastfeeding would pass along harmful substances to the baby. In those cases, some mothers choose to use bottle feeding to spare the baby from the medication. In other cases, a mother may need to work long hours and have trouble pumping milk. In those cases, bottle feeding does deliver the basic nutrients that a baby needs to thrive.

When breastfeeding is not possible, there are some mothers who feel guilty about bottle feeding. This feeling of guilt can aggravate the baby blues and create a detrimental emotional situation. If you are unable to breastfeed and need to bottle feed for whatever reason, it's important to remember that you are doing the best you can for your baby and to feel confident in your decision. Ultimately, if you are confident and happy about the situation, that is what is better for you and for your child.

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