Breastfeeding is the optimal way to feed your baby in the first six months after birth. During this period, it is best to breastfeed your baby exclusively. After six months, breast milk should be complemented with other foods.

Breastfeeding vs bottle-feeding formula milk

Breastfeeding is universally accepted as being ideal for your baby because of its numerous advantages for both the mother’s and baby’s emotional and physical health; and because of the remarkable qualities of natural breast milk compared to commercially prepared formula milk.

To help you better understand why health professionals everywhere, advocate “breast is best”, we present the pros and cons of breastfeeding and bottle-feeding with the help of Ms Cynthia Pang, Assistant Director of Nursing and Senior Lactation Consultant at the Lactation Clinic, KK Women's and Children's Hospital (KKH), a member of the SingHealth group.

Breastfeeding pros and cons​


For The MotherFor The Baby
  • It can help a mother bond physically and emotionally with her baby
  • It can help the mother lose weight
  • It reduces the mother’s risk of breast and ovarian cancer later in life
  • Breast milk is free
  • It requires no preparation time and is readily available
  • Breast milk is always at the right temperature
  • It can help prevent sudden infant death syndrome
  • Breast milk has the right balance of nutrients a baby needs, including protein, carbohydrates, fat, calcium, vitamins and minerals
  • Breast milk is easy to digest
  • Breast milk has antibodies that can boost a baby’s immunity and protect from common childhood illnesses such as diarrhoea and pneumonia
  • Breast milk can protect baby from allergies in the future
  • Breast milk has been linked to a baby’s brain development; there is evidence that breastfed children perform better in intelligence tests


For The MotherFor The Baby
  • A mother needs to be readily available to feed her baby at any time of the day
  • A mother has to ensure she has a healthy diet and limit her caffeine and alcohol intake
  • A working mother needs to find a private place to express her milk at work
  • A mother can develop sore nipples if the baby is not latching properly at the breast
  • None for the baby

Bottle-feeding formula milk pros and cons


For The MotherFor The Baby
  • A mother can leave the feeding of her baby to someone else
  • She can easily feed the baby in public
  • She does not have to worry about her caffeine or alcohol intake
  • None for the baby


For The MotherFor The Baby
  • Formula milk is expensive
  • Formula-feeding requires bottles, nipples, sterilisation equipment etc.
  • Bottle-feeds require preparation time
  • Bottle-feeding formula milk has no special benefit for the mother’s health
  • Formula-feeding can be inconvenient at night since the mother needs to leave her bed to prepare the bottle
  • Commercial infant formula milk has fewer nutrients than breast milk
  • It doesn’t boost the immunity of a baby or protect against allergies
  • It isn’t as easily digested as breast milk
  • When infant formula milk is not prepared properly or unclean water is used, the baby is at risk of infection
  • Malnutrition can result from over-diluting formula milk

Ref: S13