Pediatricians, obstetricians, and even manufacturer's of baby formula agree that breastfeeding is best. There are many advantages to breastfeeding for both mom and baby and they include:
Human breast milk contains at least 100 ingredients that are not found in cow milk and can't be synthesized in a laboratory. The composition of breastmilk changes constantly to meet baby's ever-changing needs; its different in the morning than late afternoon; different at one month that at seven months.
Breast milk is designed for a human baby's sensitive and still-developing digestive system, rather than for a young calf's. Its protein and its fat are more easily handled by a baby. Breastfed babies are less likely to suffer from colic, gas, and excessive spitting up.
Less sodium and protein puts less strain on newborn kidneys.
Better absorption of calcium.
Babies are almost never allergic to breast milk. Though an infant may be sensitive to something a mother has eaten that has passed into her milk (including cow's milk) he or she virtually always tolerates mother's milk, itself, well.
Constipation and diarrhea are virtually unheard of in breastfeeding babies.
Less risk of diaper rash, though this advantage is gone when baby begins to eat solids.
Breastfed babies receive a good dose of antibodies every time they eat, reducing their chances of becoming sick. In general breast fed babies get less ear infections, colds, and other illnesses, and are hospitalized less than bottle-fed babies.
Baby can choose to eat only as much they want when breastfeeding. A bottle fed baby is often urged to finish their entire bottle even when they are not hungry for the whole thing, leading to a greater chance of obesity.
A baby can continue sucking at an empty breast for comfort if they want, but not a bottle.
Even the most scientifically designed nipple fails to give baby's jaws the workout they would receive while nursing that ensures optimum oral development. The placement of the tongue is also different, so that breastfed babies are less likely to develop orthodontic problems when their teeth come in.
Breast milk is always ready to use, clean and the perfect temperature. Its extremely convenient.
Nursing your baby is free, as you don't have to buy bottles or formula which can get quite expensive.
It helps your uterus shrink back to size much quicker, reducing the "baby belly" quicker. It also burns 500 plus calories a day, taking calories from your stored fat reserves to feed baby. If you don't have much in the way of fat reserves, you will have to eat a little extra every day and make sure you don't lose weight too quickly.
It can be a natural birth control. Ovulation is generally suppressed in nursing mothers until baby begins to eat a lot of solid foods along with nursing. This is not always the case, however, and as ovulation comes before your first period, you can never be sure you won't become pregnant while nursing.
Some studies have shown that breast feeding reduces the chances of breast cancer that occurs before menopause.
You have to take a break more often in your day. Your postpartum body is screaming for rest, whether you feel you have the time to or not, and nursing helps to give your body a chance to take it easy for a few minutes several times a day.
Much more convenient night-time feedings, as you don't have to go off into the kitchen and take the time to warm and prepare a formula bottle.
Mother-baby bonding is made easier, and any mom will tell you this is what they enjoy most from nursing. You can still have bonding time while bottle feeding, but because its so easy to hand off the chore to someone else, or leave baby alone with bottle, and go do something else, its less likely to be as special.