The Benefits of Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding is coming back in popularity with full vengeance, and for good reason. Breastfeeding yields numerous benefits to both the baby and mother. In the same vein, there is no shame or discouragement towards formula feeding. Breastfeeding is a natural option that comes with pros and cons that should be well thought out before making a decision.

Pros

  1. Bonding: The physical touch that happens while breastfeeding is unlike any other. There is a chemical response in the brain of both mom and baby that bond the two together. Also, the time that is spent with each other adds to the natural bond that breastfeeding encourages. As you both interact with each other throughout the day, both will have better mental health.
  2. Health of the Baby: The mother’s body will tailor the breast milk to help the baby’s body fight off infections. There are loads of antibodies that are delivered through the milk to the baby, which make their immune system more robust. On average, breastfed babies don’t experience as many ear infections, colic, or allergies as formula babies.
  3. Weight Loss for Mom: Moms love the fringe benefits of breastfeeding as well. It takes all of that weight gained during the pregnancy off of you, and on to the baby. Your body will convert the extra storage of water and fat and transport it to the baby through the milk. Of course, moms still need to eat well-balanced meals and exercise throughout the day, but breastfeeding makes bouncing back much easier.

Cons

  1. Only Mom Can Feed: A downside to breastfeeding is the time constraint put on mom. Other family members who would be willing to help feed, simply can’t. Mom is the only one who has the ability to give the baby what they need. Every time the baby cries during the night, she has to be the one to answer it. The baby has to go with her everywhere for the duration of the time the baby is breastfeeding. This can become taxing on mom because she never gets a break.
  2. Knowing How Much the Baby Is Getting: Because the amount of milk ingested through breastfeeding isn’t measured, it can be difficult to know if the baby is getting enough nutrients. Formula is easy because the bottles are measured out every time. How much the baby consumes depending on the latch and how vigorous the baby is trying to nurse. If your baby isn’t reaching its weight requirements, you may have to supplement with formula.
  3. Pumping: Pumping takes time, and it’s uncomfortable. You have to set aside to strap up to a device and pump to create a storage of milk.
  4. Monitor Food Intake: Mom is still the main source of nutrients for the baby. You had to be conscious of what you ate while you were pregnant, and now you have to still be careful of what you eat while you are breastfeeding. Everything that you consume will eventually make it over to the baby, so you can’t eat all of the things that you might want to.

The adventure of parenthood is exciting, but it comes with many decisions. You always want to do what is best for the baby, and sometimes that means taking care of yourself too. Do what is best for everyone in the family, so everyone can be healthy physically and mentally.

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