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When you have kids, most mums feel they SHOULD be breastfeeding them. You almost feel forced into it by society.
Everyone tells you it’s essential, and that you shouldn’t seek out other options. Funnily enough I don’t remember being taught about bottle feeding on my NCT course! And of course, there are plenty of benefits to breastfeeding. However, there are also some potential shortcomings that shouldn’t be overlooked.
You may have read about my own experience of breastfeeding. I can’t say it was a positive one looking back, mainly because it was hideous but I felt pressure and all the mum guilt to keep trying when it wasn’t working.
So, if you’re a new mother – or are about to become one – then here are the pros and cons of breastfeeding your baby. It’s important to know as much about it as possible, and in my opinion, it’s also essential to know it’s OKAY to not do it if you don’t want to too.
Pro: Breastfeeding is excellent for your baby
The reason most people are encouraged to breastfeed is that it’s fantastic for your baby’s health and wellbeing. So this is clearly a no-brainer. Breast milk contains many of the essential nutrients your child requires to grow big & healthy with a strong immune system. Often, you can’t find a substitute for all the things contained in breast milk, so health professionals say you need to feed your baby this way at least sporadically.
Con: Allergies & intolerances
While this can be rare, some babies are born with natural intolerances or allergies to things in breast milk. Primarily, this relates to lactose. Some babies have lactose or dairy allergies that make them very sick when they feed from the breast. As such, an alternative is to seek out a lactose free formula to provide your baby with the nutrition they need. So, in some cases, breastfeeding physically isn’t possible because your baby doesn’t respond well to it and can become sick.
Pro: Breastfeeding may provide superior bonding with your baby
Bonding with your children is one of the best parts of being a parent, and as a mum of twins you get double the pleasure. There’s something amazing about looking into their little eyes and knowing that they love you with all their heart. A lot of this comes from the unique bond you share during their baby years. Your child grows up knowing that they can count on you to be there for them. Breastfeeding forms an integral part of the bonding process. Research says babies bond better with their mothers when they breastfeed. It supposedly brings the two of you closer together, and you get the all-important skin-to-skin contact. Although I’m here to tell you that I DIDN’T breastfeed my twins and we’re doing just fine – what a shock, eh?
Con: Breastfeeding can be potentially painful for some women
I’ve used the word ‘potentially’ because all women can have different experiences. However, breastfeeding is likely to be a bit painful when you get started. It’s a brand new thing to you, and you’ll be sensitive in that area. Plus, your child doesn’t exactly know what they’re doing, which causes more discomfort. As you progress, the pain can subside because you’ve got used to it, but if not here are 30 natural ways in which you can try to relieve the pain. However, some women still end up feeling very uncomfortable and suffering from soreness every day. Compare this to using baby formula, and you won’t have to deal with any discomfort or pain at all. Although you DO have to wash, sterilise and make up about FIFTY MILLION bottles on a daily basis. Swings and roundabouts, I’d say!
On the whole, breastfeeding is largely encouraged. Although professionals say you shouldn’t do it if your baby has a negative reaction to it, or if it causes far too much pain. Or like me, you’re about to lose the plot over it. But, that doesn’t mean you need to do it all the time. Lots of women combine breastfeeding with other feeding methods. If anything, this strikes the perfect balance for some mums as it takes some of the feeding responsibilities and pressure away from them. Now, both parents can share the load, which at the end of the day is always a good thing! But at the end of the day, breastfeeding is great ONLY when it works. If you’re like me, and you beat yourself up about it not working but refuse to give up, then have a word with yourself!
How did I do?
Did you enjoy this post? You might like some of my others, so how about you check out my parenting rants in my Mum Life section, or some great family holidays and days out reviews in my Travel Section.
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