So, everyone knows all of the health benefits of breastfeeding. We are bombarded with the information on social media, in the news in the books we read as pregnant moms – and the mantra ‘breast is best’ is drilled into our conscious and unconscious minds. However, I’m here to just write an article on feeding your newborn baby – however you can safely.
Yes, there are definite benefits to breastfeeding and is recommended at least for the first 6 months of life – but there are also benefits to NOT breastfeeding if it is crippling the mother in a way that is impeding her ability to love and care for the child. I breastfed for 7 months, but I still had to supplement with formula at least once a day. It was hard, probably one of the harder things I’ve ever done, but ‘breast is best’ kept playing on repeat in my mind every time I wanted to give up. As Dr. Max Izbicki and countless others point out, breast milk contains antibodies that protect infants from certain illnesses, such as ear infections, diarrhea, respiratory illness, and allergies. This is definitely true, and honestly aside from Jack’s condition, he was clear of any additional illnesses and infections that other infants sometimes get. However, I know plenty of friends and family members that were formula fed from the start, and they were perfectly healthy and grew to be a perfectly healthy adult. Even more recent studies show minimal if any differences between siblings who were breastfed and those who were formula fed.
The benefits of breastfeeding are out there (and it’s totally cheaper), but no one can prepare you for all the things that happen to the mother when breastfeeding! It is a serious commitment and sacrifice. There’s sore, sometimes bleeding nipples, the possibilities and probable issues like clogged ducts, sleepless nights (because you are the only source of food), mastitis, engorgement, and I mean just throwing this out there – no margaritas yet either ! 🙂 Oh, and what if your baby doesn’t latch and you have to pump instead. . . so much pumping. . . and there is so much to clean! All that to say, breastfeeding isn’t all rosy and delightful for every mother.
So, before you feel bad for wanting to turn to formula or at least supplement with formula for those night feedings, formula is NOT BAD and you’re not a bad mom for feeding your baby formula. With formula you won’t always be on the clock, other family members can help feed the baby, and at night sometimes those precious extra hours are so important. There is a lot of stuff to lug when going out (cooler, extra formula, bottles, bottled water, etc.) but you also won’t be strapped to a pump when returning to work – so that’s a plus. And, even if you think you won’t, you will still feel close to your baby. Snuggling them in the crook of your arm and staring into those beautiful eyes is as close as it gets 🙂
So, I guess this post is just to lay it all out there, and to reassure the red-eyed, sleep deprived mother trying to do what is best — no matter what you choose, it will be the best for you and your child.
Hugs to all the mothers out there!