Disadvantages of bottle feeding include cost, preparation, time and effort, the equipment required, and lack of maternal antibodies and health benefits. Even formula options can prove to be a disadvantage because there are so many choices and babies may not tolerate the parents' first choice.
Bottle feeding can be very expensive. Formula itself is expensive, and much is needed in the first year of a baby's life. Additional costs include nursery water, bottles, nipples, supplies for mixing formula on the go and bottle warming supplies. Cleaning brushes, sanitizers and sterilizing equipment also add to the cost of bottle feeding.
It takes time and effort to prepare bottles. Formula must be mixed, poured into the bottle and warmed before the baby can eat, and this preparation sometimes occurs with a screaming, unhappy baby in the background. After the baby eats, all the bottle and mixing pieces and parts must be washed and prepared for their next use.
Formula feeding from a bottle does not provide the baby with any of the maternal antibodies breast milk provides. These antibodies help protect the baby while its immune system is fragile. It is important to note that breast milk fed through a bottle does still give the baby those antibodies.
Traveling with a bottle fed baby requires packing a great deal of things in the diaper bag. Bottles, nipples, caps, water, formula, measuring scoops and warmers all have to go wherever the baby goes. Also, the baby will need multiple bottles, nipples, caps and water for outings lasting longer than one feeding.
While there are many choices of formula, a disadvantage lies in the fact that the number of choices is so great. Many parents pick a formula only to find out that their baby can't tolerate that formula, and so they try another and another. There can be much trial and error before the right formula is found.