As a new mom, one of the quickest lessons you will learn is, mom guilt is real! Unfortunately, there is just no way around it. People and moms alike all have their own personal opinions and ways of doing things. One of your first big encounters with mom guilt will most likely be choosing which method you will use to feed your baby; will it be breast or bottle? Although the ultimate outcome is a fed baby, it’s truly your decision on which option is best for you and your baby.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that a mother should exclusively breastfeed up to six months. At six months once a baby has been introduced to other foods it’s still recommended to breastfeed up to 1-2 years. Breastfeeding is recommended because it is the most natural balance of nutrition your child can get.
If formula feeding is in your cards that is okay too. Do your research so you can make the best-informed decision on which formula to feed your baby. There are many circumstances where a mother needs to or chooses to formula feed and that is absolutely okay.
Benefits of Breastfeeding
- Breastfeeding encourages a natural bond between mother and baby.
- Breast milk naturally provides your baby with all of the nutrients he/she will need to grow and develop.
- Breast milk contains antibodies that help to build up your baby’s immune system.
- Some common allergies can be prevented by breastfeeding.
- Breastfeeding can minimize the chances of obesity and diabetes.
- As a mom, you may find it easier to lose the pregnancy weight.
- As a mom breastfeeding can lower your risk of breast cancer, ovarian cancers, diabetes, and other diseases.
- Breastfeeding allows you to feed your baby almost anywhere and at anytime.
- Breastfeeding is free.
Struggles that Might Come with Breastfeeding
- Your nipples can become very sore and tender, some may even crack and bleed.
- Your breasts may become engorged causing you to become very uncomfortable.
- You may get plugged milk ducts which can become painful.
- In some cases, you may not produce enough milk for your baby’s needs.
- You cannot leave your baby for long periods of time because you will need to feed them. (Pumping is an option for this.)
Benefits of Bottle Feeding
- Some moms are unable to breastfeed, and bottle feeding provides your baby with all the necessary nutrients needed.
- Anyone can feed your baby anywhere at any time.
- People can help at any time because they will have the capability of feeding your baby.
- Babies digest formula slower so they will have fewer feedings.
- Since formula digests differently it is easier to get on a feeding schedule.
Struggles with bottle feeding
- Formula is expensive.
- All items for formula feeding are expensive bottles, nipples, etc.
- You have to constantly wash and sterilize bottles.
- Formula can easily be heated too hot
- Your baby may not tolerate formula well.
If you are finding breastfeeding difficult don’t get discouraged, you don’t have to fully give it up if you are struggling. Supplementing is another option for feeding your baby. You can do this a couple different ways. You can offer your baby the breast and then offer them a bottle. You can also pump and combine your breast milk and formula.
While the experts suggest it is best to do everything you can to overcome any breastfeeding struggles and stick with it, for some people this is just not an option. Yes, there are plenty of benefits from breastfeeding, however, there are also great benefits to bottle feeding as well. The most important thing is that both mom and baby are happy, healthy, and fed! As long as you are making the best decision for both you and your baby, you are making the BEST decision. Ultimately what makes you a good mom is giving your baby the love, attention, affection, and care they need.