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To Breastfeed or Not Breastfeed?

It may not be one of the most simple questions, but to breastfeed or not breastfeed shouldn't be as stressful a decision as you're making it.

By Mackenzie LuPublished 6 years ago 5 min read

You will be making a great deal of decisions for your child as a mother, or more accurately a supermom, but one of the earliest and most important concepts in your child's infancy is choosing between breastfeeding or formula feeding. Your final decision should not only rest on the importance of your child's nutrition, but should also strictly follow your child's health risks. Not all babies can be breastfed, nor should all babies be breastfed.

This is why making a decision to breastfeed or not breastfeed before your due date is a major step forward in ensuring your child remains healthy well into growth. Despite there being a proven set of health benefits associated with breastfeeding, as noted by the likes of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the World Health Organization (WHO), not every parent will end up employing breastfeeding, because of a range of different concerns, such as comfort level, health risks, and the taxing lifestyle it presents.

Pros of Breastfeeding

No one else can tell you otherwise: breastmilk is the utmost wholesome and nutritious natural sustenance for your child. The only source of food necessary for your baby in the first six months alone is breastmilk, but the AAP proposes that every baby should be breastfed for up to at least 12 months, after which it is merely up to the mother. To breastfeed or not breastfeed should not only come down to the benefits of health, though. Making this decision calls for a strict attention to both you and you child's needs. Knowing when to stop breastfeeding, as in age of your child, is also a key role that you must consider going forward.

Since there are more antibodies in breastmilk, bottle-fed babies will oftentimes contract more allergies than a breastfed one. Breastmilk is packed with healthy ingredients that ensure for a strong aging in your child, like natural vitamins and proteins, plus it's much easier to digest. Breastfeeding also doesn't call for the hard labor of cleaning bottles, making formula, and preparing a schedule for feeding. Some natural health benefits also go hand in hand with breastfeeding, specifically weight loss and returning the uterus back to normal size more quickly. The benefits of breastfeeding are staggering, but that doesn't mean there aren't a few drawbacks.

Cons of Breastfeeding

To breastfeed or not breastfeed, when breastfeeding, mothers must be present at least six to eight times a day as to ensure your child gets the proper amount of nutrients. Though some mothers might use a pump to store breast milk for later, they still must breastfeed the child in person as to maintain an adequate supply for your child. This also leads to the difficulty of measuring your child's intake and milk supply as you're breastfeeding. Mothers will notice that it is much more difficult to identify when your child is done feeding when using breastmilk as opposed to formula.

A mother's diet is also extremely important when breastfeeding. Certain foods, drinks, and medications should be restricted when breastfeeding, since all of these have the potential of reaching your child's internal system. There's also the problem with sore nipples and leaky breasts, which is anything but attractive or thought provoking, to say the least. This can cause extreme problems with your sexual life, and is oftentimes frustrating for many mothers trying to assimilate back into their home after childbirth. It's never an easy decision, but reinforcing deep thoughts and understanding in context with breastfeeding your child will help to ensure your child grows accordingly. These breastfeeding woes can be daunting, but they don't have to be when you are prepared for them.

Formula Feeding

Formula, or bottle, feeding utilizes manufactured formulas that duplicate mother's milk with a complex blend of proteins, sugars, vitamins, and fats. Some mothers simply don't want the added pressure and stress associated with breastfeeding, and would rather turn to the bottle, because of convenience and flexibility.

When it comes to breastfeed or not breastfeed, formula feeding is much more convenient for mothers, since it allows practically anyone to feed the baby, such as a nursing mother, your husband, a lactation consultant, or any other responsible caregiver. Formula feeding practically allows you to feed your baby anywhere. In addition, frequency of formula feeding is much less than its counterpart, since the former is easily digestible and babies tend to eat much less of it. Flexibility in formula feeding is seen by the readily-available bottle; once the formula's been made, there's no need to worry until either your baby is hungry or the next batch needs to be made. Unlike breastfeeding, mother's also won't have to worry about their diet having an effect on their child.

Sadly, there are also mothers who can't breastfeed for a myriad of different health reasons, one such example being breast cancer. Some mothers worry that when not breastfeeding because of their health issues, a certain level of bonding between mother and child is inherently lost. Don't let your condition drive you apart from your baby. Any loving mother will be able to bond with their child in a number of ways, not just through breastfeeding.

Formula Feeding Concerns

While there may not be an option when it comes to choosing formula feeding for your child, some risks include expensiveness, lack of antibodies, and other specific factors.

For one, formula feeding is run by a strict schedule. While it may be more flexible and convenient for some mothers, formula feeding does need to be administered at specific points throughout the day, so as to ensure the complex mixture doesn't go bad and your child gets the right nutrients at the proper time. Formula also doesn't contain any of the same complexity associated with breastfeeding, since breastmilk allows for a variety of changes to take place along with your child's growth.

Aside from the complexity and nonexistent antibodies, formula can also get pretty expensive. There are many different varieties to formula milk, such as ready-to-feed and specialty formulas, which are some of the most expensive, or powder and concentrate. This is why planning ahead of time is a key aspect when deciding to breastfeed or not breastfeed.


About the Creator

Mackenzie Lu

Namaste. Active yogi and life enthusiast. It has become her mission to spread the benefits of having the mind, body, and soul in tune with one another.

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