What are the advantages of breastfeeding for your baby? For baby, breast milk provides them with mom’s antibodies and protects them from lots of infections that can make them sick. Breastfeeding also decreases the chances that the baby will develop obesity, diabetes, asthma, and SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) later in life.
What are the advantages of breastfeeding for mom? Breastfeeding burns more than 500 calories a day and helps you drop that baby weight. It decreases your future chance of developing breast and ovarian cancer. It can be a form of birth control for the first six months, but I would still talk to your provider about a back-up option. The most enticing feature of breastfeeding is probably that it is free! Formula can cost upwards of $1,000.00 for the first year.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that mothers breastfeed for the first year of life. However, less than half of moms are breastfeeding at the 6-month mark. So if breastfeeding is so great, why are so few moms breastfeeding after the first 6 months?
1. For lots of moms breastfeeding and pumping are painful. For some women and babies, latching on comes naturally, and for others it does not.
2. The emotional rollercoaster: for some women breastfeeding affects their emotions in a not so pleasant way.
3. Moms are exhausted: between feeding your baby, pumping and all of life’s other chores, moms are not getting any sleep.
4. Some women don’t produce enough milk, and watching a baby scream because of hunger is not a pleasant scenario.
5. Some babies do not tolerate breast milk or have bad reflux, and this can make breastfeeding difficult.
6. I just don't want to breastfeed. And this is totally acceptable!
So many first- time moms complain to me about how their decision to not breastfeed is met with hostility and cruelty. They even describe how complete strangers accuse them of being a “bad mother”. Frankly, it probably isn't anyone else’s business. The decision to breastfeed or not is a personal one. You should discuss it with your provider if you feel like you need help. Just because you breastfeed does not mean that your baby will not get sick, and there are plenty of babies that are exclusively formula fed that do just fine. The most important thing is to have a happy, healthy and comfortable mom and baby!