Most of the babies’ awake time is spend on feeding in the first two weeks of his life. Time devoted to feeding differs from baby to baby, but it is commonly between eight and fourteen times a day; giving the mom/caregiver breaks of between 1 and a half and 5 hours at a time.
The debate between breastfeeding and bottlefeeding is ongoing with the proponents of breastfeeding pointing out the following advantages:
- The anti-bodies in breastmilk provides the baby important immunity against various illnesses like allergies, bronchitis and pneumonia.
- Breastfed babies tend to have healthier teeth and are less likely as adults to develop arteriosclerosis early in life.
- Breast milk has the advantage of being easily digested by babies and the fat in mothersmilk gets absorbed almost 100%, while on average only 80% of the fat in formula gets absorbed.
- The risk of obesity in bottlefed babies is higher than for breastfed babies. The most commonly accepted explanation being that babies being breast fed stop sucking when they are not hungry anymore, whilst a mom bottlefeeding might believe that the bottle should be emptied.
- Breastfeeding is more practical – being more economical, always available and at the right temperature. This mother also does not to carry all the preparations necessary for bottlefeeding when leaving the house.
- Breastfeeding can give the baby an extra sense of security with the advantage of better bonding.
Their counterparts believe:
- That bottlefeeding can give a similar bond between mother and child and does not hold any negative consequences for social relationships in the future.
- It gives the mother a feeling of physical freedom which the breastfeeding mother does not have.
- Substances like tabaco, alcohol and medicines can be transferred to the baby via breastmilk. This will not happen when the baby is bottlefed.
- Some mothers cannot or do not want to breastfeed. If these mothers can bottlefeed without the negative association with breastfeeding, the bonding process can continue unscathed.
- The threat of transferring HIV to an infant should also be considered as a potential draw-back of breastfeeding.
- It gives the working mother the opportunity to continue with her career, knowing that her child is getting sufficient nutrition.
- Babies can be affected negatively by certain foods, and may even be allergic, this impacts on the mother’s ability to choose food and can lead to alot of anxiety around food choices.
The group of people supporting bottlefeeding are not by any way saying that breastfeeding is bad, they would just like more tolerance and respect for mothers who decide to go the route of giving their child formula.