As a parent you will have to make the personal decision of breast or bottle. Don’t worry, you will get many opinions, most of them very strong on one side or the other. There are pros and cons to both so let’s look at breastfeeding first.
Obviously, between breastfeeding and bottle feeding, breastfeeding seems to be the ideal nourishment for your baby being that it is what nature had intended. Research has shown that children who breastfeed are passed anti-bodies that help reduce ear infections, diarrhea, allergies, and obesity. It is easily digested and provides many of the vitamins baby needs. It exposes your little one to many different tastes through what you eat, introducing them into the world of what’s to come. Breastfeeding is also fairly convenient, especially for the middle of the night feedings when you don’t have to warm a bottle. It has been suggested by studies that it will give your baby a higher IQ when exclusively fed breast milk as an infant. Skin-to-skin contact is bonding for the mother and child as well as very comforting.
The benefits of breastfeeding
We all know that breastfeeding helps you shed those maternity pounds but it also naturally helps shrink the uterus back to normal. It can help reduce the risk of uterine and breast cancer, as well as high-blood pressure and cardiovascular disease.
Trials of breastfeeding
Moms need lots of patience to endure the trials of breastfeeding as well as persistence. It may be hard to get used to the pain and discomfort that come in the beginning and baby may have trouble latching on. As was my case, Maddie did have trouble learning proper suction and we were given a device to get her used to the proper technique. Finding and cleaning this device was a tiresome addition to the process, especially in the middle if the night.
It can be very inconvenient to be on call every two or three hours for an hour at a time, and they always seem to have perfect timing: when you fall asleep, are in the middle of grocery shopping, or out with friends at dinner.
Your diet has to stay relatively the same as when you were pregnant because any spicy, gassy, caffeinated or alcoholic foods and drinks still affect your baby. So it can be a challenge to breastfeed but the benefits are worth it.
If you are unable to nurse your baby for medical, personal, or economic reasons, does it make you a bad mother or selfish? It is really up to you but whatever you decide you must make the best decision for you and your baby and you can’t be a bad mom for that.
For Maddie and I, breastfeeding ended up not being enough. Although we tried and did OK at first, I ended up not having enough milk to keep her growing the way she was supposed to. So at six months we breastfed and used formula to ensure her proper growth. At one year she decided to quit nursing all together and so we went on with the formula until her pediatrician said she was old enough to have regular foods and milk.
Bottle feeding with formula has its challenges
It is very costly and goes quick. Bottles must constantly be cleaned, sterilized and warmed up in warm water versus the microwave to prevent burning. It can cause gas and indigestion since it is different from breast milk and doesn’t provide any of the anti-body properties of breastfeeding.
The benefits of bottle feeding
Formula can be a great replacement for breast milk, equipped with most of the essential vitamins and minerals found in mother’s milk. It can be a savior for working moms who can just make bottles and give them to a babysitter. Bottle feeding also allows the father to take part in some of the bonding time and gives mom some much needed rest. You also don’t have to be as picky in your diet as the formula prevents your diet from affecting baby. You can still have skin-to-skin bonding if you just lay the baby against your chest while feeding the bottle.
Whatever you choose be sure to discuss all options, benefits and negatives of both. Make sure your choice is right for you and your lifestyle to make sure your baby will get the most beneficial development. Don’t forget, if you choose to bottle feed you are not a bad mother, just think hard about your decision and give both a try. If breastfeeding isn’t going to work for you then go for bottle feeding.
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