Breastfeeding or bottle feeding?

Bottle or breast? Let this mum shed some light on the pros and cons of both methods.

Ah, the age old question of breastfeeding or bottle feeding is more relevant today than it has ever been. It's a common debate we see on Facebook that continues amongst Singapore mums. The battle between bottle versus breast has many mums divided especially when the end of the maternity leave looms and it is time to go back to work. Ultimately, the decision lies with the parents to make the choice that makes sense for their own situation.

Work that bottle

What then is a mother to do if she has to go back to work and still chooses to breastfeed? Stopping short of bringing her baby to work, most mothers will introduce the bottle to their infant. The convenience of the bottle is quite obvious; anybody can assist in feeding the baby whether the supply is from a formula or breast milk. For sleep deprived mums, another helping hand can make a big difference to her happiness and wellbeing - especially if she's going back to work.

breast-pump

A typical breastpump

For mothers who choose to continue to give their babies breast milk, breast pumps are a great solution. Breast pumps are a device that extracts milk from the breast of a woman who is lactating. With so many options on the market in Singapore, it's important that mums shop around to find a bump that's right for her. If you know that you're going back to work, and that you are planning on feeding your baby breast milk through a bottle, it might be a good idea to practice pumping for a few weeks before you rely entirely on it as a feeding method. This gives both mum and baby some time to get used to the bottle.

Another advantage of the bottle is that the bottle can be used as a guide for parents to see how much the child is taking, which is good information to have when visiting your paediatrician and measuring your baby's development.

That said, many working mums opt for a combination of these feeding methods. Many Singaporean mothers pump during the workday and nurse after they return home.

To breast or not to breast

Breastfeeding can be tricky when mums work as it’s obvious that only mummy can feed the baby. This over-reliance can actually hamper the little one’s appetite, especially if they start rejecting the bottle. Of course, this can work in both ways as our little breastfed darlings might have nipple confusion once we introduce the bottle to them. This means once a bottle is introduced the infant may reject the breast totally in preference to the bottle.

mother-breastfeeding-baby

A mum breastfeeds her baby

Au naturel

One of the best things about breastfeeding is you do not need any specialized equipment. You are already well equipped. No late night waking up to prepare a bottle nor sterilizing and washing the nipple and bottle. Breast milk also has the perfect balance of nutrients and is easily digested and absorbed by your baby. The content of the milk also changes according to your baby's nutritional requirements, and your baby decides how much or how little to eat.

Ultimately, one of the key reasons why some women still choose to breast feed is due to the undeniable bond between baby and mummy that breastfeeding affords - and with the popularity of increasing popularity of attachment parenting in Asia, it's a very attractive option for many mums. The warm, body to body contact is something that no bottle can replace.

How we feed our baby is a largely personal choice and there is no perfect solution that works for everyone. The most important thing to remember is to make sure that both mum and baby are happy and getting enough nutrition.

What was your personal preference in this matter? We'd love to hear back from you! Let us know in the comments section.

Need help? Don't fret!

Still in doubt about the breast versus bottle debate? Please refer to a lactation consultant, who can offer you more personalised advice according to you and your baby's situation.

theAsianparent also has a Singapore Breastfeeding Mums Support Group that you can join for mum-to-mum advice.
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