New mothers have to make the personal decision to either feed their baby formula or breast milk. Breastfeeding has phased in and out of popularity throughout the years based on the ever changing lifestyles of mothers and families. When choosing whether or not to nurse your new baby, consider the pros and cons of breastfeeding regarding your the needs of your baby and yourself.
The pitfalls of breastfeeding occur during the days and weeks after the birth of your baby. During this time, some mothers struggle with getting their baby to latch, discomfort during feedings and keeping up with the demanding schedule of nursing. Due to these challenges, some women don’t make it past the early stages of breastfeeding. By finding ways to overcome these obstacles, you can continue nursing your newborn and eventually feel very comfortable with the process.
While still in the hospital, lactation consultants can assist you in finding a comfortable latch for you and your baby. For new mothers who still can’t get their babies to latch, lactation consultants show them proper holding techniques and even offer rubber nipple shields that facilitate the latching process for babies. The nurses at the hospital will also give you pain medication to relieve the uterine and nipple pain associated with nursing.
Breastfeeding gives new mothers the opportunity to spend quality time bonding with their new babies. Immediately after the birth of your baby, nursing provides skin-to-skin contact, giving him feelings of warmth, comfort and security. If you commit to feeding your baby breast milk only, you will need to either be with him at all times, or pump milk ahead of time to leave with caregivers. Newborns eat every two hours for the first couple months.
As the natural option for feeding your baby, breastfeeding offers many health benefits. During the first few days after a baby’s birth, a mother produces colostrum, breast milk rich in nutrients and antibodies that strengthen the health of the baby. Breast milk also contains hormones that protect babies from illnesses and digests more easily than formula. Breast fed babies have a lower occurrence of asthma, obesity, ear infections, diarrhea and respiratory infections.
With the many positive aspects of breastfeeding, nursing in public still has a negative social stigma. Mothers who feel uncomfortable nursing in public can use cover-ups or plan ahead by pumping milk into bottles. Many public places now attach private nursing rooms to their restroom facilities. Though people may sneer or even make rude comments to public nursing mothers, federal laws protect their rights to feed babies in public locations.
When your baby arrives, use a feeding method that complements your style. If you choose to nurse your baby and want to persevere, consult professionals and loved ones for strategies on successful breastfeeding.