The amazing thing about our bodies is that it knows just what baby needs. Breastfeeding is an amazing journey of it’s own. It’s not always easy but it shouldn’t be hard. There are many reasons for not being able to breastfeed and I will talk about those on another blog post. For now we will look at just the pros and cons of choosing to breastfeed.
Before reading this remember there are more then one way to feed your child. What you choose to do is yours and no one else’s choice. This is just to give you information from my personal experiences and some medical research.
Let’s discuss the cons first. It’s always good to receive bad new before the good so let’s dive right into it.
One of the biggest cons I can think of is sleep deprivation. The first few months in any newborns life parents are going to be sleep deprived. Both breastfeeding and bottle feeding your going to experience this, however most cases with bottle feeding it’s not up to one person. When you breastfeed then it’s only up to the one with the breast. Some babies continue to feed on a every 3 hours schedule for 6-8months or until solids get introduce. Many mothers choose to co-sleep to help with the lack of sleep. If you have just one child then you can always try to catch up on sleep by sleeping while they nap during the day, but to be realistic most women wont. If you have older children or multiples this usually isn’t optional.
When teeth start to arrive mom’s comfort is much needed for many babies. If your child won’t take a bottle then mom is their own source of food. Some babies become biters at this stage, which can be very painful. Luckily most won’t “bite the hand that feeds them” and you can continue to breastfeed as normal. What I found was cluster feeding started again once my children cut teeth. My own experience with nipple bitting luckily wasn’t bad with my first. It was usually when falling alseep at the breast and she would clamp down on my nipple as she would drift. My second on the other hand started bitting to get a reaction from me at 10 months.
Although breastfeeding is easier then bottles due to not needing to clean anything, it can come with a messy price for mom. Not all but many babies like to play games or distracted easily when feeding. So be prepared to get sprayed in the face or all over the room with breastmilk. If you have a fast let down then this can also be due to the other breast. Women who have an over supply have to take precautions prier to a feed. Making sure you have a breast pad or milk collecting device will help with this situation. I personally love using a Haakaa to catch my over supply on the other breast while feeding my daughter.
Your the only one.
If your child doesn’t take a bottle or you don’t like to pump then you are the only source of food until the introduction of solids. Following the reqremndation of B.C Health it’s the first 6 months of baby’s life before any solid foods are introduced. Be prepared to be attached to the hip with baby.
Not everyone just naturaly knows what to do. That’s for mom and baby. Many breastfeeding journeys come with alot of work. This can be the breaking point for many to stop. Don’t let this scare you, there is lots of help out there. With help from lactation consultants, trained nurses, midwife’s, doulas and mom groups breastfeeding can continue and be an amazing experience. You just have to learn like everything in life. My first was great at feeding but I still needed help from my midwife. My second struggled more and I had to work at a few tricks to get her latching proper, but with support and knowledge I am still breastfeeding her at 10 months and will continue until she want to stop.
Now for the amazing benefits to breastfeeding.
No matter how you choose to feed you will connect with your children. It’s a little different feeling to the bond with breastfeeding. A bit hard to explain in words. It’s like a continued connection. From spiritual point it’s the Tree of Life. If you go onto Instagram you’ll see many photos of trees roots on mother’s breast and leafs going into baby’s mouth. My own experience feeding both my children is they are strongly attached to me. They still have a great connection with their father but it just a bit different with me.
Health Benefits for Mom
Yes mom benefits from Breastfeeding as well. Studies have shown women who breastfeed have reduced risks to getting breast cancer and ovarian cancer. Breastfeeding also can help mom loose that baby weight. Along with eating healthy and light exercise breastfeeding can use those extra calories gained when pregnant. It helps stimulate healing in the postpartum period expshaly the first month. As your uterus shrinks after birth breastfeeding can help stimulate the process.
Health Benefits for Baby
Breastmilk contains the perfect amount of protein, fats, vitamins, minerals and carbohydrates. From day one breastmilk changes as baby grows. Starting with colostrum then becoming milk. When baby is sick your body adapts to what is needed through reading baby’s saliva. The antibodies around in breastmilk help protect baby from the outside world and disease. It can help reduce risks to developing allergies and asthma. If your baby does have sensitivities to foods you can cut these out of your diet and change the properties in your breastmilk. Research on this is still ongoing and medical science is finding more and more about the amazing properties of breastmilk.
Convenient (anytime anywhere)
It’s portable. No need to sanitise bottles, boil water or buy lots of products. Breastmilk straight from the breast is safe, clean and personally developed for baby. The more baby feeds the more mom can produce. When cluster feeding happens it’s a good sign that baby needs more milk and is telling your system to start producing more.
Easier on Baby’s Digestion
The odd case a baby can have issues due to the mother’s own nutrition however the majority of babies that are breastfeed have a much easier time then those formula fed. It’s gentle and easy to digest. Since breastmilk can change with mother diet and babies enzymes it’s catered exactly to what is needed.
SIDS is reduced
So many studies have talked about the benefits to breastfeeding and the reduction of SIDS. Here are just a few reasons scientist have found to answer why. Baby catching a cold or other infections are lower due to breastmilk fighting against them, because of this it lowers the risk of having breathing or sinus problems. Breastfeeding rarely causes reflux problems. This is because breastmilk empties the stomach faster then formula.
No need to use plastic’s or buy any made products. Breastfeeding is environmentlly friendly and reduces your carbon footprint.
Web articles on Breastfeeding Benefits: