Breast Feed vs Bottle Feed?

Updated on June 11, 2013
K.G. asks from Biddeford, ME
31 answers

I know this is a weird question.But what do you think is better?I never got a chance to breast feed my son's.I know people say "Breast feeding is better" But what do YOU think is better?Don't think im a weirdo asking this.I'm not stupid......hehe.

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answers from Columbia on

I fed my daughter the only way I could.... which was formula in a bottle, so that was DEFINITELY best for her. The alternative was for her to starve.

Since I didn't *really* have a choice, I just did what was necessary to get nutrition into my newborn.

8 moms found this helpful


answers from San Diego on

My super short answer is: A fed baby is best.
Now, with that said, I feel that breastfeeding should be the first choice. But I know that there are genuine reasons that someone is not able to breastfeed and bottle feed instead.
What I hate the most is that people make their decision based on untruths, bad information, scary stories and just outright lies. So many people just don't have the truth about breastfeeding and choose bottle feeding because of nothing more than those lies. I am certain there are many more women that would breastfeed if they had the truth to make their decision with.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

I thought breast feeding was best for my children and me. I did it because it was the perfect food for them, was ultra-convenient, and cheap! I particularly liked the fact that when it was a night feed and I was knackered, I could bring my baby into bed and lie down and go back to sleep while feeding.

However, I have no opinion on what's best for other children and their parents as far as bottle v breast. Really, no opinion, no judgements, nothing. Whatever works for them and their babies is A OK with me.

4 moms found this helpful

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answers from Boston on

Happy mom, happy baby. Do what is best for u and dont let anyone question your decision.

12 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

Nutritionally, in most cases, breastfeeding is better. I have known people who worked themselves into major depression and resentment over struggling with breastfeeding. They were eventually encouraged to switch to formula. For them, it was a sanity saver. My dear friend was sexually abused for years when she was younger. Breastfeeding, for her, was something she could not mentally do. Perhaps, many won't understand that. However, no one should judge it.

I did not produce a drop of milk. My breasts never changed. Never hurt, never grew, never swelled, never had a leak...not a single drop. It didn't actually matter, because I had made the decision not to breastfeed already. My reasoning was intensely personal, and I have never felt the need to discuss it with anyone, but my husband. For me, my relationship with my son...formula was better.

We know what scientifically is better. What is better, is not always best.

12 moms found this helpful


answers from Bloomington on

I think whatever makes Mom the happiest & the least stressed , is better .

11 moms found this helpful


answers from San Antonio on

What is best is that a child should be fed when they are hungry! They should have a full and happy tummy. That way they can grow and flourish...

What does it really matter in the long run? I know perfectly healthy happy kids that have been fed both ways...and I know kids with health issues and developmental delays that have been fed both ways.

Just feed the baby!!!

11 moms found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

I would like to think breast feeding is better but I know it was better for me. I am not big into extra work and having at the ready tappers when they want to eat was perfect.

I was bottle fed, heck most of my generation was. I don't think we were harmed by it.

Sorry if this feels like a non answer.

10 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

Whatever works best for the mom is what is better. I struggled to breast feed my first born, and she just never took to it. Finally one of the kinder nurses looked at me and said, "if you formula feed them, you aren't taking away their chance of going to a great college. They will be just fine as long as you are happy." And she was right. I tried with each of my kids and got a little breast feeding in. Honestly, I loved the bonding, but it was much more convenient for me to bottle feed. I didn't have to worry about whipping it out in front of my family members who were cringing telling me not to do it in front of them (i had a very strange family that did not support breast feeding). Baby will do fine either way. I honestly hate this debate--I feel like it is a way for the breast feeders to act superior to formula feeders.

9 moms found this helpful


answers from San Diego on

Barring any physical issues, natural breast milk will *always* be better for baby because it's created by the human body for the human body. Man simply cannot recreate anything exactly like it in the laboratory.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

So I typed up a big long answer to this that went on and on...but then I thought...what does it matter to you? You used formula, I breastfed and used formula. What does that information do for you? Is it really going to affect your future decisions to know what a stranger you will never meet did to feed their child? If you couldn't breastfeed, you couldn't breastfeed. Not to sound mean, but I don't really care and you shouldn't either.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Danville on

I breast fed my first kiddo because I thought that was what would be the best and most natural experience for us. The fact that he was born in Germany, in a german hospital, and it was expected was secondary. I had a wonderful breastfeeding experience with him.

With the kiddos that followed, I breastfed as well. But, by then, I had discovered the absolute CONVENIENCE of breastfeeding. No preparation. No packing formula. Nice cleavage!

My twins were preemie...and for them I had to pump. The BIG industrial strength double pump...fondly called by the older kiddos my 'milking machine'. I hated that, but, of all my kiddos, I felt they needed it the most. So I did it.

So, in short, I found breastfeeding, for me and my kiddos to be the best choice. I feel very glad though that there is formula available for those moms that either CHOOSE not to breastfeed, or are not successful in breastfeeding.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

For my kids, breastfeeding. They were both cows-milk intolerant. I was so thankful I decided to breastfeed each time it was determined that they couldn't tolerate cows milk, because soy is an estrogen and I wouldn't want to give it to infant boys, and non-soy non-milk based formula is really really expensive. So much cheaper to avoid dairy for me and breastfeed.

Then there is the convenience of nursing. Travelling on a plane? No worries about how many bottles to take and how to get it through security or warm it up on the plane. Out visiting friends or relatives and want to stay a little longer than planned? No worries, you won't run out of milk. A day at the park with your older child? Sure, and you don't need to think about a cooler to keep formula cold, or trying to figure out how to warm the bottle later. Breastmilk is always available and the perfect temperature for the baby to eat.

That said, I'm not against formula. My first baby's first feeding was formula because I couldn't physically do it after he was born - thank God for formula in that instance. And he got a bottle of formula every night so that daddy could do one feeding and I could get one slightly longer stretch of sleep. It didn't hurt him and I was grateful for a little sleep (although it was expensive as I mentioned). And since I work full time, by 10+ months, he usually got 1 bottle of formula at daycare because I couldn't pump enough near the end of the first year to keep up with his needs. It was fine, and I didn't stress about it.

So, for me and my first baby, breast - with the occasional formula supplement - was the best choice.

For my second, who had a much more sensitive tummy, it was 100% breastmilk, he couldn't tolerate anything else.

ADDED: if you are trying to decide what to do, my advice to new moms is always to try breastfeeding. If it doesn't work for you, for any reason, you can try formula and see if your baby will tolerate it, and if he does, you can stop nursing - no judgement from me. But if you start with formula and it doesn't work for you or your baby, you can't go back to breastmilk.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on


This can be a "HOT" topic. As there are people in both camps.

Breast feeding is best - that's my opinion. It's natural. You know what you are feeding your baby. It's free. It's ready on-demand. You don't need to prepare it, warm it - etc. It's there.

Formula - is just that - formula. It is VERY expensive. It must be prepared. Warmed, etc.

Are there women who attempted to breast feed and couldn't? Yep.
Are there women who think breast feeding is gross? Yep.
Are there women who think formula feeding is gross? Yep.

You need to do what is best for you and your baby and your situation. If you can afford formula and that's what you are most comfortable with? do it. You need to figure it out for yourself.

Good luck.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

Ah! A classic divisive mommy question...

Here's what I think. I think it's more important THAT we feed and bond with our babies rather than HOW we feed our babies.

My 10 year old was formula fed. That was MY choice. That's what worked best for US. I don't feel "pressured" either way. I don't feel "guilt" about my choice. I feel I made an informed decision/choice.
I know plenty if people who were and who have formula fed and plenty of people who were and have breast fed. None of them have two noses or three arms.

Happy, stress-free mom=happy stress-free baby.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Miami on

Let's hope your question doesn't start a ridiculous fight on your thread. It has been a long time since I saw breast vs bottle turn into that here. We used to have some pretty militant breast feeding advocates here who had no patience with woman who bottle fed, and they tried their hardest to make people feel terrible for not nursing.

Before formula was invented, women who couldn't breastfeed either had to find a wet nurse or they boiled cow's milk or goat's milk for newborns. Babies couldn't always tolerate it. For those moms who are lucky enough to be successful nursing, having a built-in nursing supply is very handy, and if their babies' tummies aren't sensitive to what's in the breast milk, nursing is a cheap way of feeding a baby. If mom can pump, she can also give bottles so that she can be away from baby some and get a break from constant nursing - also a big plus. That's great for working mothers.

Society goes from one swing of the pendulum to another about lots of issues, and that includes breastfeeding. When I was a baby, the pendulum swing was against breastfeeding in some parts of the US. I remember my mother telling me that her MIL's sister told her "That's nasty!" My mom did it anyway. She and my daddy didn't have much money AND she wanted to breastfeed because she felt that the breastmilk must be better for her baby. The pendulum has gone the other way since then and I've heard women decry formula as if it's the worst invention they've ever heard of. I remember one woman on this site calling it poison. Considering that children all over the world are given formula for the first year of their lives and they are perfectly healthy growing up, obviously, that's a bunch of bunk.

The formulas today are as close as they have been able to get to breastmilk. It will never be the same, but it works for babies. There are enough different kinds to take into account babies' little digestive quirks, and that's good.

If I had to actually answer this question, which I don't consider to be a question that needs to be asked, to be honest, (not meaning any disrespect to the fact that you asked it, btw) I would say that breast is better, but formula is fine. Any amount of time that you breastfeed is good for baby, but when you have to or choose to go to formula, there is nothing wrong with that. Both are healthy ways to feed your baby. When your child graduates from high school and goes off to that special college, you aren't going to be sitting there thinking "My breast milk did this!"

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

Breast feeding is better. All 8 of our kids were breast fed. As long as mom ate right and well, so did the babies. Look on the cans of formula at the ingredients. If you can't pronounce the chemical or know what it is, should you be feeding it to your babies? We didn't think so.

Good luck to you and yours.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Toledo on

There certainly seem to be some benefits to breastfeeding that simply cannot be replicated. However, you have to do what works. Some babies cannot be breastfed (for whatever reason), and formula is a wonderful alternative to ... well, not being fed.

My youngest is my "formula baby." We had no choice. He is a happy and healthy 4 year old. Thank God for formula.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Milwaukee on

I understand everyone who say breastfeeding is best but I had zero ambition to do it. I bottle fed both of my boys and they turned out wonderful and are healthier than my friend's kids who chose to breast feed.
You need to do what is best for you and not let others sway you.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

This is one of those "oh, great, now everyone will argue" moments, IMO, but I will answer anyway. (For the record, I am translating "bottle" as formula. My DD was partially bottle fed pumped breastmilk.)

I was personally on the fence when I was pregnant with DD. I was afraid I couldn't manage. I was nursed for a few months til my mother got sick and was told to quit and then she was a single mom struggling to work and care for me, so I had formula. I had to have soy because everything else made me sick. She nursed my sister for 6 months and was encouraged to stop by family members who were, IMO, underinformed. My sister had regular formula after that. She had severe allergies and had to be switched to goat's milk for a while as a toddler. Our mother wonders to this day if Sis would have done better had Mom known that nursing into toddlerhood wasn't just a third world phenomenon.

While still pregnant, I read up on nursing. I talked to friends. I really thought about the idea and the benefits (for both me and my child). I decided to try because it was good for both of us and I wanted to at least start - because you can't go back after the milk is gone. And I stuck with it and nursed DD til 2.5 when I nudged her toward weaning completely because it was the right time for us. Nursing (and pumping) kept me connected to my child while I was working FT. It offered her nutrition when she was sick and nothing else would stay down. It helped me with my hormones and moods and weight (I noticed the difference when she was weaned entirely). DD got teeth at 6 mo. and there was never a tooth we couldn't work around. It was definitely the right choice for us.

I didn't give my sister a hard time for using formula when her son was 7 mo. old but I have also talked to her and she said if she knew now what she knew then, she would have nursed him longer. She is hopeful that this time around she will be able to nurse longer.

While I didn't personally use a milk bank or milk sharing program, nor am I icked out at the idea. One of my friends had so much spare that she donated so that someone else's NICU baby could benefit.

While I am glad there is formula as an option, I think that many women don't know the benefits of nursing (for them and their children), don't know where to find help for problems, don't know what is a real problem (frequent nursing is not abnormal) and don't have supportive families. I think women should at least try if their situation permits. Many do not know that it doesn't have to be all or nothing. You can supplement if your supply is truly low, and you may still be able to nurse if you've had breast surgery. See previous comment about not knowing where to find help for problems.

Formula is, frankly, a substitute in a can. It is good that the option exists and it needs to exist, but I think that nothing truly compares to breastmilk. I will not feel guilty if I have another child and that baby ends up being formula fed, but I would try all options to nurse first. The can will always be there. The milk is a limited time offer, generally.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Phoenix on

Pretty much every medical/pediatric organization out there agrees on one thing... between breast milk and formula, breast milk is infinitely better for your child both in the short and long term. However, sometimes that choice isn't always available to all women for any number of reasons. If the choice is starve the baby or formula, obviously any one of us would do the right thing.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Grand Forks on

I breast fed because of the many benefits. It is better nutritionally, it is easier (no measuring, no mixing, no sterilizing water, no washing bottles, no refrigerating, no heating), it is cheaper, it is more portable and it is a great for weight loss. Also, in Canada women get one year maternity leave, so breastfeeding is much easier to do since we can be home with the baby and not have to pump. Bottle feeding is ok, but breast feeding was better for me.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Oklahoma City on

I tried breastfeeding my daughter but I have inverted nipples and it was just about impossible. I used a shield that helped her latch on but it was super painful.

I think if you want to breast feed your child it is a wonderful choice. If you don't want to be literally tied to your baby for at least the first year and perhaps even longer then bottle feeding might be a better choice.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

I breast fed both my kids.

It was easier with my son, he actually nursed. When we went out, all I needed was me and him.
With my daughter, she did not nurse well, but since I made more than enough milk I pumped and bottle fed her. But that also meant that bottles, pump etc went with us every where we went.

Breast milk is best, perfect for your childs digestive system (most of the time). But you can do what ever you want.

Congratulations on your new child.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Phoenix on

It's really hard to answer your question the way you asked it, because this is a personal parenting choice and there are so many factors that go into the choice. In an ideal world, where the only factor involved was what a woman felt like doing, I could maybe say that breastfeeding is "better." But is it always the right choice for everyone? Of course not. I was personally very committed to breastfeeding for at least one year. My husband is a Type I diabetic, and there are some pretty convincing studies that show that kids with an added risk of Type I, such as a Type I parent, can have a hugely reduced chance of developing diabetes if they are breastfed for at least a year. The medical community is a long way from figuring out exactly what causes Type I. But for me, personally, if I had chosen to formula feed and then my kiddos developed diabetes, I would always feel that I could maybe have made a choice that would have made a difference. That may not be correct, but I know that I would question myself to distraction if I thought I could have made a difference.
Once I started breastfeeding, I realized that even with the giant hassle that is pumping, it was less hassle to breastfeed. I coslept with my kids when they were little, and "roll over, insert boob, go back to sleep" was the only night time feeding that let me have a newborn and survive law school at the same time!!

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Denver on

I tried after my C-section to breastfeed in the hospital and also when I got home for a few weeks. I had a very difficult time with it. At first, she seemed to be taking to it okay, but the problem was her latch was very shallow and painful because I could not get her to take to it correctly no matter which hold or method I tried. And when she did begin to latch correctly, she pulled off almost immediately crying pretty hard. Even with all the nurses and 2 lactation consultants, we still could not get her to take to it long enough for a feeding and she became very fussy and hungry. I ended up trying some formula in the hospital and it really helped. My goal at that point was to do both. The only way she got my milk though was through pumped milk. Even the LC in the hospital said it would be the best way as she even was not able to get her to latch on. Well then we get home and she goes through a newborn growth spurt and is up EVERY single hour at night to eat and still wanting to eat lot during the day. So pumping became near impossible. It was either that or sleep for me. I chose what little sleep I could get because I was completely exhausted and not any good to my baby in zombie state. I still tried to pump some during the day and nurse at times, but I began losing my supply pretty fast. I could barely get anything out of the pump. I am sure lack of sleep was not helping.

I feel sad wishing I could've managed better and nursed her for at least a few months, but it was not to be. She's doing just fine and thriving on formula though. It can be inconvenient at times, but it's working just fine. Daddy can feed her and give me a break which is nice. Her dr said she is extremely healthy and was very supportive of my decision to switch to strictly formula. Not even sure I could call it a choice as with a rapidly decreasing milk supply, it's not like I could adequately feed her without formula.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Detroit on

breast. is best... my kids are super healthy...

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

Breast feeding provides nutriants and immunities that are perfectly balanced. But if you can't BF then formula is a God send.

If you can make it through the whole learning process and sore nipples and quick turn around as it digests faster, then after that it only occasionally causes inconveniences like being the only one who can feed them and sometimes it limits what you can eat. But mostly it's the best! The relationship is so special. There is not a need to worry about messy bottles or buying formula, or if it's still good.

It's still time consuming. It's kind of limiting and its not a breeze. Sometimes there are breast infections that can really knock you on your butt.

Your choice!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

Whatever needs to be done to feed your baby to keep mom and baby healthy. Breasts existed thousands of years before bottles, so obviously breasts are "better" - BUT if you can't, for whatever reason, whatever keeps your kiddo healthy is "best".

This is being said by a woman who breastfed her son till he was 2.5 years old. I had problems with shingles, my supply, etc., and couldn't BF without supplementing for the first 3-4 months as a result. Formula kept us both on track till I got my supply back. I really wanted to BF, but it wasn't easy. With the help of a lactation consultant who was not scary-anti-formula, we made it through the rough patch. That doesn't happen for everyone, and anyone who gives a non-BFing mother a hard time needs to cut it out.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

breastfeeding is better for baby and mama biologically. socially, that's more complicated. why do you ask?

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Providence on

honestly its your own choice & what you feel comfortable with, its not for everyone. Its takes scheduling & not eating/drinking certain foods/drinks. I myself nursed my daughter full time until she was 1 & then just at nighttime until she was 2 & I loved it. It was quite a bonding experience, that we both enjoyed. She also was used to a bottle so she could be bottle fed which made it easier. I will tell you to give it a try & see how it works out, not every baby latches on so it does take some work. Whatever you choose is the right decision for you & if you don't nurse don't let anyone make you feel bad about it because in the end its your choice. I wish you the best of luck no matter what you choose.

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