bottle feeding

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 mothers.)
  • 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 the factory.
  • 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.

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