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Breastfeeding or Pumping and Bottle-Feeding Breastmilk? What's the difference?

Posted Sep 15 2009 4:46pm
There is a HUGE difference, although it is not obvious at first. When a baby breastfeeds, he has to cup his tongue under the breast and pull it into his mouth. He makes a "teat", and pulls the nipple all the way back to the junction of the hard and soft palate. To breastfeed he effectively "milks" the breast, and his tongue makes a trough and pulls it backward into his mouth.

To bottle feed, the baby makes a hump with his tongue, pushing up on the bottle nipple, to slow the flow down, because it is constant. The flow of milk during breastfeeding starts as a trickle, then there are four or five gushes of milk during a feed (or let-downs), and then slows to a trickle again. So in effect the baby has to push his tongue forward to stop the bottle flow or slow it down.

The biggest difference you can see with these two methods is the shape of the palate. Breastfeeding makes the palate more U-shaped and flattened, which leads to straight teeth formation. Bottle feeding makes the palate more V-shaped and vaulted, which leads to crooked teeth and later orthodontic work. Muscle shapes bone, and the tongue shapes the palate. The difference in the tongue movement in breast VS bottle feeding is huge.

The other thing that you miss when you pump and bottle feed is the immediate antibody response to viruses and bacteria that your baby encounters. When a baby has been exposed to a germ, say from the hands of another child, and he goes to the breast, there is an IMMEDIATE antibody response. The mom's antibodies are then passed back to the baby, in that same feeding.

If you pump and bottle feed, there is still an antibody response, but it is delayed. Your baby doesn't get the immediate protection from viruses and bacteria in his environment. However, some protection is better than no protection at all with formula feeding. This is the reason why it is so important for mothers who are pumping for a premature baby to visit the baby and touch his surroundings, because her breasts produce antibodies to the germs in his environment.

One more thing- the pump is never as effective as the baby. Just because you can get 2 ounces out with the pump, does not mean that is the amount in that breast. The breastfed baby can get that and more out of the breast, by breastfeeding. Keep in mind Dr. Newman's advice: Babies learn to breastfeed by breastfeeding, not by bottle feeding, or cup feeding, or the like.

A baby needs to breastfeed for optimal health! Breastfeeding teaches a baby to swallow properly, and can even be protective against SIDS, sleep apnea, and enuresis later in life. Dr. Brian Palmer has done studies that have shown that the tongue thrust with bottle feeding can lead to all of the above problems.

If you are wary of nursing in public, please review the previous section, How to Nurse Discreetly. Your baby needs your milk, and it is your right to feed him with your breast!!! Don't be so embarassed that you resort to bottle feeding in public. It just takes a little practice.
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