Breastfeeding Update 2021: Breastfeeding Versus Bottle Feeding Pros and Cons
The Advantages of Breast-Feeding
Breast milk is the most appropriate milk for human infants since it is uniquely adapted to their needs.
- Breast-feeding is easier This is a great advantage. especially where health is poor, where health instruction for mothers is restricted, where hygiene is of a low standard, and where alternative milk supplies are irregular.
- Breast-feeding greatly reduces the risk of infection by the dysentery group of organisms and breast-fed infants face a lower risk of developing diarrhoea.
- Breast milk is cheaper: The additional food a mother needs in order to provide adequate milk is cheap compared with adapted, fortified, or modified milks, to say nothing of the cost of teats and bottles and sterilization.
- Breast-feeding is emotionally satisfying, both for the mother and the baby Successful breast-feeding brings a warm glow to the skin-10-skin contact that establishes a bond between the two. Skin contact within minutes of birth enhances the likelihood of successful breast-feeding.
- Breast-feeding is psychologically beneficial for mother and infant, giving a sense of adequacy to the mother and ensuring that the established infant mother bond is more than physical. Th e development of this bond has far reached implications for the formation of the child's personality and social relations with other human beings
- Breast milk has antimicrobial properties It contains antibodies (immunoglobulins) against bacteria and viruses Antibodies are transmitted from a mother's milk to her infant who is then protected to some extent from disease.
- Breast milk is biochemically the most suitable product It is always available. at a suitable temperature, free from bacteria, it contains antibodies against many diseases and is a source of mental and physical satisfaction for the mother and the child.
- Breast-feeding is commonly associated with a longer period of amenorrhea. the delay in ovulation providing some contraceptive effect. This may be due to high maternal prolactin levels. Breast-feeding aids the involution of the uterus by a reflex secretion of oxytocin.
- The incidence of breast cancer is much lower in women who breast-feed their babies.
When is it Inappropriate to breast-feed and In what situations is bottle feeding recommended?
- If the mother is ill and taking medicine that is harmful to her baby.
- If the mother's supply of Last milk is insufficient.
- If the baby suffers a physiological handicap, e., a cleft palate or lactose intolerance in such cases specially prepared formula should be given.
If, for example, a mother can supply less than half of her infant's needs, breast feeding is usually not practical.
It must be discontinued
- When chronic illnesses are present in the mother, such as cardiac disease, tuberculosis, severe anaemia, nephritis, and chronic fevers.
- If the drugs being given to a nursing mother and which are being excreted in her milk are toxic to her infant (drugs which are contraindicated when breast feeding include atropine, anticoagulants, anti-thyroid drugs, iodides, narcotics, ergot, tetracyclines, and metronidazole).
- If the metabolic abnormalities or prematurity of the newborn require the use of special therapeutic formulas.
- If lipoprotein lipase, which is secreted in the milk of some women, forms glucuronide (this is very occasional and is only rarely severe enough to warrant the termination of breast-feeding).
If a mother's diet is poor this may affect the vitamin content of her milk, so a good diet during lactation is required and supplements (Iron and vitamins C and D) should be taken when appropriate.
However, although bottle-feeding means that it is easier to share the task of caring for a baby and some mothers find it reassuring to be able to see how much milk a baby has taken, there are disadvantages to bottle feeding which may be particularly serious in some developing countries.
The disadvantages of bottle-feeding
- The use of bottle-and-nipple is often harmful for infants because of the frequent contamination by disease causing bacteria. These may cause diarrhoea and UNICEF has claimed that 1 million babies (worldwide) die every year be cause of the dehydration that diarrhoea causes- as a direct result of careless bottle-feeding.
- The composition of human milk is most suited for human infants and is ideal for their growth and development. The composition of other milks, like cow's and buffalo's, differs from that of human milk, in the concentration of electrolytes, proteins, and fats Cow's milk has three times more sodium, which puts a burden on the kidneys of neonates; it also contains a large amount of phosphate, which may sometimes cause convulsions.
- The safe and proper preparation of artificial milk is demanding it includes the sterilization of the bottle and nipple, which is not only time-consuming but also expensive, as extra fuel and water are needed. It is also easy to make mistakes when preparing feeds, so that the milk is either too weak or too concentrated for the baby.
- Feeding with a nipple tends to distort the shape of a baby's upper teeth, which may protrude or become badly aligned. Bottle-fed babies tend to have high arched palates, which may change the facial configuration.
- Infections of the ear are much more common in bottle-fed infants.
Special Considerations for the Formula Feeding
Although breast-feeding is best for infants and should be encouraged, where it is undesirable or impossible certain precautionary measures should be taken to make bottle-feeding as safe and successful as possible.
- Special attention should-be given to selecting an infant formula of adequate nutrient composition one that is easily digestible, and has appropriate proportions of carbohydrate, protein, and fat.
- The adequacy of nutrients should be based on the RDA for infants.
- An excess of any nutrients is not desirable and should be avoided.
- The osmolality or concentration of infant formula is important; if it is not appropriate it may cause diarrhoea, food intolerance, and possibly necrotizing enterocolitis.
- The sterilization of the feeding equipment is very important, as many of the intestinal diseases are associated with the unhygienic preparation of formula for infants.