Bottle feeding has certain advantages and disadvantages. Advantages:
- Convenience for some mothers, especially mothers working outside of
the home. (I won't say "working mothers" - all mothers are working
- It always works - the failure rate is zero.
- Bottle feeding is generally easier to schedule and on average bottle
feeders sleep through the night earlier than breastfed infants (because of the inherent scheduling effect of bottle feeding, as discussed on my most excellent video).
- Inconvenience compared to breastfeeding. A bottle feeding mother needs a fair amount of additional equipment, a breastfeeder comes equipped from
- Some babies don't tolerate formulas well because of milk allergy or other milk sensitivities. This
can be to both types of ordinary formula, cow milk or soy.
- Cost is considerable compared to breast.
- Generally, more gas and air swallowing problems with artificial nipples than mother's nipple.
- Equipment issues - mother may have to experiment around to get right
nipple for baby; there are "tricks" that may not be taught but
can cause trouble.
Parents who are bottlefeeding are rarely shown how to do it properly;
it is obviously not hard but there are a couple of common mistakes that
cause innumerable mysterious problems for some parents. Tips:
- Unless you're using collapsible nurser bags, loosen the nipple on
the bottle so that air bubbles start to flow up the side of the bottle
when the baby starts to suck. If you have the nipple on too tight, the
suction that quickly forms in the bottle will stop the milk flow, the nipple
will collapse, and the baby will swallow a lot of air. then he'll vomit
all over you and cry half the night with terrible gas cramps. Just tight
enough so that the bottle doesn't leak, no tighter.
There are now nipples with a built-in slit to perform this suction-relieving function. I am skeptical about them as opposed to simply loosening the nipple, but have at them if you are so inclined.
- Keep the child as upright as possible during the feeding. The burping valve (gastroesophageal sphincter) is at the top and towards the rear of
the stomach... keep the bubble up that way until it gets burped out. Otherwise,
air will get through what I call the gas and colic (pyloric) valve and
cause no end of crampy crying.
- Use powdered formula with iron. It's
the cheapest and the best if you mix it with (hopefully) fluoridated city
water - that's a complete diet. Boil the water if you want - I don't usually
advise (if it's not safe for baby it's not safe for you) it but check with
your doctor about your town's water supply.
- Usually, when the baby is taking 32 ounces per 24 hour day and wants
to exceed that regularly, is the time to discuss solids with your doctor.
Formula alone until then.