More About Feeding Bottles
Breastfeeding is the most recommended form of feeding for babies. Doctors highly encourage new moms to breastfeed their babies as there are numerous benefits for mums and babies alike. However there are many instances when breastfeeding is not always feasible and parents turn to feeding bottles as an alternative.
The manner in which parents choose to feed their child varies from person to person and from one situation to another. Parents can choose to only breastfeed their baby, bottle feed with breast milk, or baby formula, or even do a combination of both breastfeeding and bottle feeding. Before deciding which alternative to use, let’s examine the pros and cons of bottle feeding to help you make a better decision.
Advantages of Feeding Bottles
Some of the advantages using a feeding bottle are::-
- Anyone can feed the baby – the ease of using a feeding bottle gives mom’s a bit of a break to take care of some of her own needs.
- Dads can participate too – using a feeding bottle gives dad’s a chance to experience the joys of feeding as well as gives them an opportunity to bond with their baby.
- It can be done anytime and anywhere – Not all moms are comfortable breastfeeding their baby in a public place, feeding bottles gives them a modest alternative to feeding their baby in a public place.
- Tracking your baby’s milk intake is easy – with breastfeeding it becomes difficult to know how much milk your baby is drinking and whether they are getting enough milk. Bottle feeding enables you to monitor your baby’s milk intake with ease.
- There is less worry if mom’s breast milk supply is low – there are numerous reasons why mom’s breast milk supply could reduce, in such cases bottle feeding comes in handy and parents are at ease that their baby is getting enough nutrition to grow.
- No need to make changes in mom’s diet – Whatever the mom’s eat has a direct effect on the baby, breastfeeding mothers have to be very careful about their food intake. Bottle fed baby gives mom a chance to indulge in a few things she likes to eat and drink.
- Is a suitable alternative for babies with lactose intolerance – There are a few instances where a baby may be lactose intolerant and consuming breast milk could make them sick. In such cases bottle feeding comes to the rescue and the baby can remain suitably nourished.
- Baby is not affected by the health of the mother – There are times when the baby is still being breastfed and mom may fall ill or face some health issues. In such cases if she is unable to breastfeed then using a feeding bottle is a good option.
Disadvantages of Feeding Bottles
Before you decide that bottle feeding is the way to go, let’s first look at some of its disadvantages:-
- Breast milk is the best – Breast milk contains all the necessary nutrients required by the baby as well as helps in building your baby’s immunity. It is easily digested and lighter on the baby’s delicate digestive system. If you’re planning on bottle feeding with baby formula, you need to know that formula increases the risk of obesity in babies.
- Breastfeeding is easier – Babies can be breastfed on demand, whereas bottle feeding requires that you wash, clean and sterilize the bottles properly and accurately measure out and prepare the baby formula. Sterilization of the bottles is extremely important as it can risk your baby’s health.
- Mother- baby bonding is affected – The very act of breastfeeding when the baby latches on, the skin to skin contact, all helps with mother- baby bonding, and for the baby to feel safe and secure. The same effect cannot be achieved with bottle feeding.
- Breastfeeding has health benefits for mothers – Mothers who breastfeed their babies lowered their chances of getting type 2 diabetes, certain types of cancer, high blood pressure and helped reduce pregnancy weight.
- Bottle Feeding increases monthly expenses – You need the right bottles, which may require replacement from time to time, bottle cleaning and sterilization supplies, an expensive breast pump or good quality baby formula.
- Baby’s immunity may be compromised – breast milk is designed to not only protect the baby from illnesses and infections but also to help them build their own immune system. This is not present in formula milk and formula fed babies risk diarrhoea or catching chest, ear and urine infections.
- Bottle feeding is inconvenient – If your baby still requires feeding in the middle of the night, waking up to prepare the formula milk each time can prove to be tiresome. So also is the case with cleaning and sterilizing the bottles each time before use. You would also be required to pack and carry all the equipment with you each time you have to travel and remember to bring it back as well.
- Formula Milk may not agree with your baby – Even though parents would like to bottle feed their child, the baby formula used may not agree with the baby’s digestive system causing them loss of fluids from the body and diarrhea.
So, if you’ve finally decided to bottle feed your baby. You can now choose a bottle based on the materials they are made from, keeping in mind that it should be non-toxic. Though easily available and cheaper, avoid buying plastic feeding bottles. These bottles have been known to leach BPA and BPS (used to make plastics) at normal room temperature, they also break down at higher temperatures. Overtime, with use, micro plastics breaking down from the walls of the plastic bottle can also mix with the liquid food contents of the bottle which your baby may end up drinking. So it’s best to stay away from any plastic feeding bottles.
The safest options for feeding bottles are:-
Glass bottles – these can be sterilized very effectively, they don’t emit any harmful chemicals at high temperatures or break down over time. Just make sure that paints used to decorate them don’t contain any lead, better still use unpainted ones.
The disadvantage of these is that glass bottles are heavier and can break when dropped.
Stainless steel Bottles – the food grade stainless steel bottles are the next best bottles to use after glass bottles, they are lighter in weight and don’t break easily when dropped.
The disadvantage is that they can discharge harmful metals like chromium and nickel if used with acidic liquids.
Silicone Feeding bottles- these feature third inline amongst the safest feeding bottles. Silicone is a hybrid rubber-plastic material. When using it for feeding bottles you need to look out for high quality, food grade or medical grade silicone with no fillers.
Silicone Feeding Bottles
Silicone feeding bottles are gaining popularity with parents because:-
- It feels natural – being soft and squishy, it offers the baby a better grip and a feeling that is closest to the mom’s breast. It is also easier for the bay to switch from breast to bottle and back as and when required.
- Silicone is stable within a wide temperature range – Silicone feeding bottles can be washed in a dishwasher and can withstand a wide temperature range from freezing to sterilizing.
- Hygienic – Silicone doesn’t tear or scratch easily so it doesn’t trap any harmful bacteria or pathogens, it can be conveniently sanitized by boiling and keeps the breastmilk or formula in it free from contamination.
- Lightweight – being lighter than the other types of bottles makes it easy for babies to hold while drinking and convenient to carry around.
- Indestructible – Silicone feeding bottles are the only bottles that cannot crack, shatter or dent when dropped.
- Safer than plastic – Silicone doesn’t seep out harmful chemicals or micro plastics as it does not break down easily, making it far more safe than plastic bottles.
Ideal as it may seem, silicone does have its own drawbacks:-
- Doesn’t heat up easily– Silicone does not heat up easily making it difficult to heat up your baby’s milk effectively. So if your baby prefers warm milk it will be better to heat it up elsewhere and then transfer it into the silicone bottle.
- Stains and odors – Attracting odors and getting stained easily is another drawback of these feeding bottles. However there are ways to handle these at regular intervals.
- Hard to read markings – silicone bottles have their marking imprinted on the bottles, being the same color as the bottle itself makes it harder to read them. The plus side is that there is no danger of any lead from paint markings finding its way into your baby’s milk.
- Bottles are soft – As the bottles are soft and squishy, it makes it difficult to put into the diaper bag holder and the fear of the contents being squeezed out when pressure is unknowingly added to it. If your baby is in the habit of squeezing the bottle, this can cause extra milk to flow out into the baby’s mouth posing a choking hazard.
- More expensive – Silicone bottles tend to be more expensive than glass and stainless steel bottles.
Before you jump right in and buy the latest trend in bottles or the most attractive one, it is good to step aside for a bit, do some research and weigh out the pros and cons. In doing so you are bound to find a solution that best suits the needs of your baby and family.
At EuroKids, we care a lot about the children who come to our centers. We have a dedicated team who are continuously researching the latest trends in teaching, the equipment and materials available, the curriculum to be taught and so on making EuroKids one of the most trusted brands in the field of early childhood care and education. Click here to find and visit a center nearest to you.