It’s a decision that every new mother has to make and it has more than likely been one of the hottest topics discussed within the last 9 months but breastfeeding always circulates mixed reviews. Some mothers will only feed their child breast milk and some mothers have not even been entertained by the thought of breastfeeding and would rather stick to formula milk to feed their newborn.
However there are many distinct advantages of feeding your little one breast milk. Have a think about it, mum’s don’t’ just produce milk for the sake of it, it’s there for a reason and its naturally produced to feed your baby as it’s the only natural food which is readily available for your newborn. It also protects your baby from infections and diseases which is very important, especially if you have a premature baby. Breastfeeding is also more or less hassle free. You are able to feed your baby when and wherever you like, it’s already at the right temperature, it’s free and also provides both you and your little one with wonderful health benefits. The health benefits from breast feeding can range from fewer chest and ear infections along with giving them a lesser chance of having diarrhoea, vomiting, being constipated and developing eczema. Furthermore there are also great health benefits for mums such as it can lower the mothers risk of getting breast and ovarian cancer, it naturally uses up to 500 calories a day which is always handy, it saves a vast amount of money on infant formula milk and feeding equipment and of course it helps you and your child create a strong bond. There just seems to be so many reasons for it!
It is recommended that mothers should breastfeed for around the first six months (26 weeks) of their baby’s life. Once this stage has passed, other food should start to be introduced alongside breastfeeding as this will help to continue the strong growth and development of your child. Also, the longer that any child is breastfed, the longer the protection against disease and infections will last. It’s also commonly known that infant formula milk does not give babies the same nutritional ingredients or provide them with the same amount of protection as what natural breast milk does.
Like with most things, there are many myths about breastfeeding yet they are not always true. So here is a few pointers to help put your mind at ease.
Breastfeeding makes your breast saggy
If you decide to breastfeed your child, please do not worry about your boobs suddenly becoming saggy. This only happens purely due to the natural ageing process or because you have drastically put on or lost weight.
If I breast feed, I can’t have a sex life
This is completely untrue. Deciding when you are going to have sex again after the birth of your child is purely down to you and your partner, breastfeeding does not stop this process at all. When you have sex, a hormone called oxytocin is released and this is the same hormone that helps you release milk, so during sex you may leak a little breast milk, however this is totally normal.
Formula milk is basically the same as breast milk
Formula milk is nowhere near the same as breast milk. Firstly, it is not a living product so it doesn’t have the antibodies, living cells, enzymes or natural hormones that help to protect your baby from infections and diseases later on in their life.
This is simply not true. You may feel some slight tenderness during the first few days which is relatively common. Any pain that you may feel which is more than mild is abnormal and is usually due to the baby latching on poorly.
You can’t get pregnant if you breastfeed
Breastfeeding can affect ovulation in some women however it cannot be used as a reliable source of birth control.
Smaller breasts will not produce the same amount of milk as larger ones
In fact breast size has absolutely nothing to do with the amount of milk that is produced.
Formula fed babies tend to sleep better
Babies fed on formula milk do not necessarily sleep better but they may sleep longer as bottle milk isn’t digested as quickly.
If your baby is vomiting or has diarrhoea, you should stop breast feeding
The best medicine for a baby’s gut infection is to feed them breast milk