Making The Decision
The method you choose to feed your newborn is a very personal one. Many people become upset if a mom breastfeeds in public causing some mothers to get discouraged at the very start. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) agree that it is beneficial not just for baby but also for mothers. So before making this decision lets look at some of the benefits.
Benefits for Infants
- Currently, we are not able to duplicate the nutritional benefits in a ready made formula.
- Breast milk is more easily digested by infants resulting in fewer stomach issues.
- Perhaps most importantly breast milk provides infants with antibiotics from her mother. If the mom has been exposed to an illness or has immunity than so will the breastfed baby.
- It can decrease the risk for asthma and allergies of all types.
- Brest fed babies require fewer hospitalizations than do formula fed babies.
- The breastfed child will often score higher in Intelligence tests given in childhood.
- The child will bond better with its mother and will display greater signs of security.
- It decreases the child’s chance of being overweight.
- The AAP has found that a breastfed infant has a lower risk of SIDS.
- Some studies indicate that the benefits may last to adulthood by reducing the likelihood of Diabetes, obesity and some types of cancer. More research is needed in this area.
Benefits to the Mother
If you’re still not sure, then consider the benefits to Mom.
- Breastfeeding burns extra calories allowing the mother to return to her pre-pregnancy weight faster.
- It releases the hormone Oxycontin which returns the uterus to it’s normal size faster and decreases the chance of heavy uterine bleeding.
- It’s been shown to decrease the risk or ovarian and breast cancers.
- Breastfeeding decreases Mom’s risk of osteoporosis later in life.
- It saves both time and money. You have no bottles to sterilize or warm in the middle of the night. In the U.S. right now the cost of formula remains much higher than the cost of extra food for the mother.
- It’s an excellent opportunity for the mother to relax and cuddle with her child. Something that not all mothers may have an opportunity to do otherwise.
- Mother’s who breastfeed have a lower risk of postpartum depression. This grave mental health issue is believed to be caused in part by hormone fluctuation and in extreme cases may cause the mother to act out violently.
There are times however when a mother should not breastfeed. You should not breast-feed if you are HIV-positive, who have untreated TB or is on chemotherapy. Certain drugs legal and illegal can pass through the breast milk to an infant and should be avoided. Most mothers can breastfeed without any danger to her child while passing on numerous benefits.
You consider your lifestyle as part of your decision. When will you need to return to work or will you stay in the home? Mothers who choose to breastfeed while working can use a pump to express her milk that a caretaker than gives the baby milk with a bottle. Do you have the money to buy formula without difficulty? Are you comfortable with the process? How to best feed your new baby is a very personal decision and one that you should make by being informed.