Breastfeeding or Bottle Feeding? New Mums, Know the Benefits!

Posted by: Lancashire County Council

It’s one of the biggest decisions for a new mum when it comes to feeding their baby. Should you breastfeed or bottle feed with infant formula?

If you’re wondering about the best option for you, this post will provide you with information to help you to make the best decision for your newborn. You can also sign up to our challenge and use our free web app to monitor your baby’s feeding, as well as gain useful tips on the early days.

Some new mums may want to combine breastfeeding with formula feeding and this is another option, however, we do encourage mums not to choose formula feeding entirely over breastfeeding as any breastmilk your baby gets is valuable to their health.

Breastfeeding Benefits

Breastfeeding is the natural option for your baby and provides significant health benefits for both baby and yourself. It’s also a fantastic way for you to develop a special bond with your baby.

There are many benefits, with breastfeeding providing advantages such as:

  • Natural antibodies which reduce the chance of your baby developing things like tummy upsets, ear infections and eczema
  • Reducing the chance of childhood obesity
  • Helping you burn up to 500 calories a day
  • Reducing the risk of you developing breast and ovarian cancer in the future
  • Do remember breastfeeding your baby is free – you don’t need to purchase any formula and you can express your milk to give in a bottle if you need to leave your baby

Mums across Lancashire are supported by organisations such as Families and Babies (FAB). Its Operations Manager, Marie Longworth, has championed greater healthcare in the county for many years. She said: “We support the Department of Health’s campaign to encourage more mothers to breastfeed because we know that breastfeeding your baby for a few days or weeks provides fantastic health benefits. Across Lancashire, Breastfeeding Peer Support is available for the first 6 weeks alongside maternity services to help new mothers get breastfeeding off to a good start.”

Bottle Feeding Benefits

Feeding your baby with formula is a widely available alternative and it can offer benefits such as:

  • Some mums may find it less embarrassing when out in public
  • Flexibility, if you need to leave your baby a babysitter, can feed your baby
  • Your partner can also feed your baby, helping them to enjoy that special bond
  • You can see how much milk your baby is taking

However, please remember you need to carefully follow the provided guidance on how to safely make up formula feeds to make sure the milk is safe. It should also be stated all of the benefits of formula feeding can be achieved by breastfeeding.

Although some mums may find formula feeding an easier choice when out in public, the Equality Act 2010 makes it illegal for anybody to try and stop them breastfeeding in public.

New mums can turn to our Breastfeeding Friendly Places in Lancashire page for a complete list of friendly locations in the county. If you are still feeling nervous about breastfeeding in public, you can practice in front of a mirror or ask a friend to go with you the first time.

Conclusion

For the greatest benefit for you and your baby, we recommend breastfeeding as the best option available to you. However, if you choose to formula feed your baby we strongly encourage you to consider responsive feeding which follows your baby’s cues and encourages positive mental development.

Marie from FAB said: “As mothers are encouraged to breastfeed it is really important they know how to access support when baby arrives. The Six Week Breastfeeding Challenge web app is a fantastic tool for mums to use, with lots of practical tips and information including support available through maternity services; peer support; children’s centres; helplines and useful websites.”

Lancashire’s mums can also contact their health visitor, midwife, peer supporter, or local children’s centre for additional support about infant feeding.