Bringing up baby – Which is best: breastfeeding or bottle-feeding?

According to the channel four series bringing up baby there are three very different methods of how to bring up a baby.

The 1950’s method by Dr Frederic Truby King does not favour either breastfeeding or bottle-feeding, however, in order to follow its strict routine of four hours regular feeding from day one of the baby’s life is very unnatural making it impossible to breastfeed. In order to follow this routine while breastfeeding a mother could try to express milk, but at the first two weeks breastfeeding is still establishing, so most women would be unable to express the right amount. Also, not every woman can express milk or it may take several weeks until a new mum can express milk successfully. Even if a mum can express milk after birth, it would interfere with the natural flow of milk, as the body is constant adjusting the quantity of milk needed for the newborn according to their need and expressing interferes with the supply and demand balance which occurs when the baby feeds straight from the mum. Also natural milk would not knock a baby out to sleep for four hours, as it is lighter and easier to digest. Furthermore, it is not recommended to express before at least four weeks after birth, as the body is still new to the whole process.

To breastfeed successfully requires lots of dedication from the mum, because it is a lot easier to bottle-feed a baby to start with. Many mums give up breastfeeding due to the straying during the crucial and most tiring first two weeks for the mother. But, once breastfeed is established it is very rewarding for the mum, as it gets easier as the baby grows up and become less demanding and more efficient at breastfeeding.

Newborn babies that are fed naturally require to feed every hour or even after half hour sometimes, whereas newborn babies fed with formula normally goes up to four hours without requiring food. This is because natural milk is very easily digested making it perfect for the baby’s delicate digested system, so as soon as the baby’s tummy is empty the baby will cry for more milk. It may not be easy at first, but it is worth persevering, as breast is best for mums and babies.

Many people give up, thinking they will not be able to cope, but by looking at the grand scheme of things, the hard work at the beginning is soon paid off, as the baby will gradually start to feed less frequently and mum will soon get her deserved rest and the baby will benefit for the rest of his life.

Bottle-fed babies do get all the nutrients they need from the formula, but breastfeeding has its beneficial advantages for mums and babies. To start with the fact that breast milk is more easily digested means that the baby is much less likely to suffer from constipation, wind, colic and grip pain, which can be very stressful for parents.

It is much easier to breastfeed a baby if parents follow the methods adopted by the Continuum Concept or the 1960’s free approach, by Dr Spock, of bringing up baby. As these two approaches are less focus on forcing a routine on babies during the first two weeks of given birth, giving parents more flexibility to feed their babies when they need.

Breastfeeding a baby on demand is not as hard as it sounds, in fact it can be very pleasant for the mum, as it helps mum and baby to bond and it does not really matter how often the baby feeds, as mother and baby are embarking into a whole new experience and way of life.

First time mums may find it hard to breastfeed at first, because everything is so new and mums do not know what to expect, also babies are not born knowing how to feed, so they have to learn how to latch on the breast. Therefore it is important to get help from experts at the hospital or maternity unit from day one, as the body will not produce milk if the baby does not start to feed straight away.

Once mum gets established at breastfeeding, it becomes an easy way of feeding the baby and the mums never look back again, as they don’t have to worry about the hassle involved in bottle feeding, such as, sterilising bottles or boil the water and wait for it to cool down. As breastfeeding is always available it becomes very effortless for mums to feed their babies and mums can enjoy the closeness of breastfeeding.

It can be easy to breastfeed when following the Continuum Concept of brining up baby, which recommends having the baby sleeping in the same bed as the mum. As the baby is free to feed when they need and the mum does not even need to get up out of the bed during the night, leading to a more comfortable night sleep, although parents have to follow the recommended guidelines to avoid putting the baby in danger of suffocation.

For this reason, some mums may not feel at easy having the baby next to her during the night fearing she may suffocate the baby. If this is the case mum will not be able to relax and will not have a good night sleep. So, by having the baby comfortably sleeping in the same room, in a Moses basket or cradle, it does not take long for the mum to seat up and feed the baby. Also the mother has to be comfortable during breastfeeding and each person has a feeding position that suit them best, some women prefer to feed while laying down, whereas for other women it is best to feed seating up right. In this way, each parent should do what suit them most, as long as it benefits their baby as well as themselves, as happy babies lead to happy parents and vice versa.

Don’t worry if other mothers seem to be doing things differently. It is important to have confidence in yourself and your baby so that together you can work out what is best for both of you.

Advantages of breastfeeding for the mother:

Breast-feeding is inexpensive.
Breastfeeding is always available.
With breastfeeding, there is nothing to mix, measure, or heat, and no bottles to wash.
Breastfeeding makes night time feedings quick and easy.
Breastfeeding makes travel with baby easier.
With breastfeeding there is often less vaginal bleeding after delivery.
Breastfeeding promotes a faster return of uterus to its pre-pregnant size.
Breastfeeding can help with weight loss.
Breastfeeding may decrease osteoporosis, ovarian cancer and premenopausal breast cancer.

Advantages of breastfeeding for the baby:

Breast milk is the ideal food for the baby.
Breast milk is easy to digest and absorb, causing less colic.
The iron in breast milk is utilized more readily.
Breast milk changes to meet the needs of the growing baby.
Breast milk contains substances that promote nervous system development and brain growth.
Breast-fed babies have fewer allergies. In families with a history of allergies, breast-fed babies experience less asthma, food allergies and eczema.
Breast-fed babies have fewer illnesses, such as ear infections, colds, flu and GI upsets. They also have fewer doctor visits and hospitalizations, because of the special protective factors in breast milk.
Breast milk may help babies to respond better to vaccines, as antibody levels have been found to be higher in breast-fed babies at seven and 12 months.
Breastfeeding may decrease SIDS (crib death).

One Comment on “Bringing up baby – Which is best: breastfeeding or bottle-feeding?”

  1. Anonymous says:

    Breast feeding is always better than bottle feeding as it has been mentioned by many experts but yeah there’s always a problem with mothers who are not able to express milk after bay is born they have no choices and there are lots of things that have been discussed about the chemicals that’s been used while making those plastic bottles. Thanks for the informative post specially the way you have mentioned the advantages of breast feeding for both mother and the baby is really awesome.


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