There are lots of decisions to make when there’s a baby on the way. One of the most controversial is the ever raging “breast or bottle” debate. There are many people who have strong feelings on both sides of this issue, and many of them will try like a televangelist to get you on their side. We are not going to do that. Milk and Mommy is going to give you the facts, and share some personal insight on the subject, which hopefully will leave you feeling good, whatever your choice is.
Scientifically, breast milk is best. There are nutrients in breast milk that help your child’s brain develop, and try as they might, formula makers cannot replicate these nutrients. Breastfeeding protects your child from illnesses because, as long as he or she is nursing, they are protected by your immune system, which is much more developed than theirs. Breast milk is very well tolerated by babies, and hardly ever causes gastric problems, and breastfed babies are less likely to be overweight.
But, realistically, the scientific facts are not the only things to be considered. Women who simply don’t want to breastfeed will probably not be very successful. Even some women who want to breastfeed will find it so difficult, that they are miserable trying to make it work. Some women will have difficulty making enough milk to satisfy their baby’s hunger, and some women will suffer more pain with breastfeeding than they can endure. If you fall into one of those categories, don’t beat yourself up. Your baby can do quite nicely on formula, too.
One mommy share when her daughter was born, she was anxious to breastfeed. She had two boys, but one is her husband’s by a previous marriage, and the other was adopted at ten months, so this was her only chance to be pregnant and breastfeed. She read all the books she could get her hands on, and like a fool, spent a bunch of money on a breast pump.
Well, it turns out that her nipples are not exactly a matched set, so her daughter completely rejected one nipple. So, she nursed on the side she would take until her nipples looked like ground beef. Plus, she was an eight pound eating machine at birth, and no matter how long she nursed her, she couldn’t satisfy her appetite. Even with pumping from the breast that she rejected, she was always hungry. She made myself crazy from it, worked with two different lactation consultants and tried every trick in the book, but still every attempt at nursing ended in tears. After two miserable weeks, she gave in and put her on formula. Ever since that switch, she never looked back. She was happier because she wasn’t constantly frustrated, and her little one was happier because her tummy was full and because her Mommy was much more relaxed.
After she told her story, she said if she'll have another kid on the way, she would try or start with breastfeeding again. Every baby is different, and a Mother’s body is different with each pregnancy. She would try again to give her child the best from a nutritional standpoint. But, she understands now that sometimes it just doesn’t work, or it isn’t right for her, and that doesn’t mean that you’re not a good Mom.
Breast or bottle is a personal choice. Weigh the facts and the preferences, and make the choice that is right for you and your baby. Whatever you decide, you don’t owe anyone an explanation.