Is Breastfeeding from a Bottle Still Breastfeeding?

2549698516_eba2c1e3d3_bIn a recent article, Time magazine discusses a new way of feeding babies that’s gaining in popularity: Giving baby breast milk exclusively from a bottle.

These moms are pro-breast milk, but for a variety of reasons, they don’t want to feed their baby directly from their breast. “I just did not like it. I felt locked away. I was young and self-conscious, and everyone would leave the room when I breast-fed. I was lonely,” Texas mom Crystal Bard told Time.

Other moms complain that they don’t like the way nursing feels, that they wanted dads to share in feeding responsibilities, or that they didn’t want the commitment of being constantly tied to a nursing baby.

Breast pumps — as well as a general lack of support for moms who breast feed in public — are helping to fuel the trend, says Time. Moms can pump two breasts at once, carry their pumps in stylish purses, and even pump milk in the car.

But is feeding breast milk from a bottle really more convenient, as these moms argue? Pumping used to make me cry, it was so frustrating. And then there’s the clean-up and the sterilizing and the putting everything back together. Putting baby to a breast just seems so much simpler. Hands-free pumps let you hold baby while you pump — why not just eliminate the middle-man and feed the baby?

They’re also losing some of the health benefits of breastfeeding, as one commenter at Time points out:

This article minimizes some important points: When the baby doesn’t nurse at the breast, you do not eliminate all of the risks that come with bottle feeding. For example, breastfeeding protects against palate malformation and the need for orthodontia, but feeding breastmilk from a bottle will be just as risky. Breastfed babies’ vision develops perfectly due to the positioning at the breast–that will not happen with any form of bottle feeding.

Breastfeeding protects mothers from breast cancer, and we have no information whether or not that will be true without actively nursing…. Also, it can be quite difficult for some women to maintain an adequate supply when exclusively pumping–you’re missing out on the biofeedback that ensures an adequate supply: and it is especially tough during those growth spurts.

But perhaps most importantly, women who have successful breastfeeding relationships experience a deep sense of satisfaction and closeness with the baby. Women who pump exclusively tend to begin to resent the pump and sometimes even the babies. Babies are time consuming and inconvenient and deserve our time (and one should prepare for that reality rather than trying to minimize it)…breastfeeding isn’t. (Gina Gerboth, CPM, IBCLC)

Still, these moms are going out of their way to make sure that their baby gets breast milk. And all moms, no matter what form of feeding they choose, deserve support. What do you think about this new trend?

Photo: Daquella manera, Flickr

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