Is breastfeeding the way to go for you? Such a decision is always a personal one. But, before making the decision, it is essential to weigh the pros and cons of breastfeeding. Understanding breastfeeding can help you decide what’s right for your baby.
The Advantages of Breastfeeding
It is Natural
Breastfeeding is the most natural way to feed your baby, no one can argue with that. A mother’s body is created in such a way that makes it ideal for nursing a baby with an ideal source of nutrition.
Breastmilk is the Healthiest Food for a Baby
Nursing your little angel means you are providing them with a great deal of health and growth benefits. The ingredients naturally found in breastmilk have the purpose of protecting your child from illnesses and diseases during their infancy. As your baby grows, those nutrients continue to support their health.
Breastfeeding is Good for Your Health
Mothers who opt for breastfeeding generally recover from childbirth faster than mothers who do not breastfeed their little ones. Some studies claim that breastfeeding reduces the risk of developing ovarian and breast cancer. That’s not the end of the list, it also might reduce the chances of developing cardiovascular disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and hypertension, as you grow older.
Babies Love the Taste
The taste of breastmilk is sweet and creamy. Much different than that of any formula. Some would say its better, but that’s arguable.
The food you eat partially ends up in your breastmilk, making its way to your baby’s stomach. That way you diversify your baby’s diet from the beginning.
It’s Easy to Digest
Your body produces breastmilk specifically for your child. Because of that, it’s quite easier to digest than baby formula. It can also help prevent gas and colic.
The bowel movements of a nursing infant are less smellier too, which you will undoubtedly appreciate when changing diapers. But the child will also benefit from that as their bowel movements won’t be so irritating to their skin and can, therefore, reduce diaper rash. Nursing your baby can lead to a decrease in diarrhea and constipation.
Breastfeeding is Convenient
A mother’s breast is the best way to provide your baby with optimal nutrition at the ideal temperature. You don’t have to worry about making and heating a formula. There are also no bottles to clean up afterward.
Breastfeeding is Cost-efficient
Nursing your child can literally save you thousands of bucks. If you opt for nursing, there will be no need to buy bottles, formula and other related necessities. Nursing keeps your baby healthier, and thus possibly preventing future medical costs as your child grows.
Nighttime Nursing is Faster and Easier
Sleep deprivation is terrible on its own. Having to stumble across the house in the middle of the night doesn’t make it any better.
Nursing Delays the Return of your Period
For longer than you might think. It can prevent it from returning for 6 months and perhaps even longer. After you stop nursing exclusively, periods return in about a month.
Exclusive Nursing May Prevent Another Pregnancy for up to Six Months
If you choose to nurse without the addition of any supplements, your baby is under 6 months old, and your menstruation hasn’t come back, then you can rely on the lactational amenorrhea method for birth control. If you meet the criteria and stick to the method properly, this natural way of preventing a new pregnancy is up to 98% effective.
You Can Always Pump
A breast bump offers mothers a bit more freedom. It allows a mother to spend some time away from her child, so that allows her to get back to her job or do something else she might enjoy. That way, the partner also gets to take part in the feedings.
The Disadvantages of Breastfeeding
Being a nursing mommy means you are always on call. You need to make yourself available all day and night, for every feeding. It can get tiresome.
The first few months are the most difficult. In the beginning, you have to nurse your child every 2 to 3 hours around the clock.
It Can Be Painful
Breastfeeding can come with some uncomfortable or even painful problems that are not uncommon. Such problems are sore nipples, mastitis, plugged milk, and breast engorgement. Each mother has a different body, and the reactions to breastfeeding can vary.
Your Partner Can’t do It
Your partner probably also wants to be the best possible parent they can be. However, nature prevents them from breastfeeding.
That can cause them to feel a bit left out. But, using a pump or a formula can make them a part of the process.
Nursing Can Be Difficult
Not every infant latches on quickly or feeds well. Nursing might appear simple, as it is the most natural option, but it’s harder than one might think.
Mothers often end up being disappointed or discouraged by it. Even though it is natural, it is a process that comes with a learning curve.
It Can Be Stressful
Some mothers can feel discomfort and embarrassment when breastfeeding in public. Even though opinions on public breastfeeding are leaning towards in favor more and more, the feelings still remain for some mothers.
If a mother finds it troublesome to go out with her little one, she might stay at home more often. That can lead to feelings of loneliness and isolation.
You’ll have to Make Lifestyle Choices
Breastfeeding means a change of lifestyle. You might have to introduce changes to your diet. And that might lead to constant changes in your diet, as your child might experience different reactions to the food you are eating.
Even though some foods are generally considered safe, they might feel unpleasant to your child, and you’ll have to put them off the table, literally. For example, dairy products might become a no-no.
There are some things you’ll undoubtedly have to get rid of if you opt for breastfeeding. Substances like caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine should be avoided as they can be quite harmful to your child. And diet is not the only factor here.
Stress and other environmental factors also play a role. Stress can lead to a reduction in your breastmilk supply.
Nursing does not have to be an all or nothing thing. Some mothers prefer to breastfeed exclusively, but that’s not the only solution. You can nurse partially, or combine nursing and formula feeding. Another option would be pumping partially or exclusively.
There are many options, and most of them are healthy and good for your child. Never forget, you are the one who gets to decide.