Breastfeeding your baby is what nature intended for us, this much is true, just look at our make up. Breasts believe it or not, were not made just for gawking at. The breast is called the mammary gland. Within the mammary gland there is a network of branching ducts which extend from lobules. The lobules are what produce milk with the hormonal changes in pregnancy and birth. If however you make the decision to bottle feed, there are many different formulas available to feed your child ,and they definitely won’t lack nutrition. There are even special formulas for special needs of your baby. Let’s say your baby is iron deficient, the use of iron enriched formula is usually recommended for use in the first year. There are the colicky babies, and sometimes the use of soy based formula will cut down on their apparent discomfort, because sometimes its a matter of them being lactose intolerant, so cow milk based formulas would be no good for these babies. There is formula made specifically for preemie babies, who need added nutrition for their tiny bodies struggling to catch up. These formulas contain higher calories, more minerals, vitamins, and protein.
Before having any babies, the breasts feel like just another extension of our body It is quickly learned after birth of your child what they are really about. All on their own, they produce milk for our newborn babies, to give them the nutrition they need. When your baby feeds say every three hours, your breasts will automatically start producing milk every three hours. Upon the baby starting to cry, or suckling this also signals the breast to start producing milk for your hungry newborn. During our evolution, our bodies always changed to adapt to our new world. For example, the appendix, which we apparently have no need for now is believed to have been necessary in the digestion of leaves (Darwin). The appendix changed with our evolution. It has shrunken in size and appears to have no use, or no harm in those who have had it removed.The breast and its purpose has endured, and always will. Not only do we nourish our babies for the forty weeks they are in our womb, but we are designed to continue this nourishment to our offspring after birth.
Breastfeeding can be a very euphoric for some mothers. They feel a bond with their babies, and some say the babies are calmer. This is not true for all mothers though. Sometimes the babies have the need to feed so often, Mom’s breasts become very sore, and with the sleep deprivation normal for all new parents, and added pain just from child birth alone, it is just too much for them. Also, sometimes Mom cannot produce enough milk for their babies. There are numerous reasons this can happen, but one medical reason is low thyroid.If it is not caught by doctors, the baby can end up malnourished, or dehydrated. There are also Mom’s who are ill, and during pregnancy put themselves and treatment last, as to not expose the baby to the chemicals of their medication. These Mom’s need to start treatment ASAP after birth, after all, if moms don’t take care of themselves, what possible good can it be for the baby to have a mom declining in heath. Just as during pregnancy the chemicals pass through to the baby, the same goes for Mom’s milk. A lot of times Mothers are guilt ed into continuing to breastfeed by well meaning family members, and sometimes even doctors and nurses. These mothers need to understand, they are not failures in least if they find breastfeeding is just too much for them and they can not continue.
Breastfeeding even for the first three days, can give your baby those important antibodies. During this time, your breasts are producing colostrum, which contains among many other things, antibodies, and growth factors. Even if its possible to give your baby those first three days, with the exception of mothers who need treatment for an illness, in fact can be good enough. If you cannot continue after that, don’t feel discouraged, or like you’ve failed. Your baby will not suffer because you didn’t breastfeed. It is also a fallacy that they will bond any less with you. You certainly don’t hold your baby three feet away from you when you bottle feed, you hold your baby close to your breast, and murmur sweet nothings into their ear as they lovingly look into your face, smell your breath, and listen to the comforting sound of your heartbeat. If this is not bonding I don’t know what is.
Please don’t get me wrong, I am neither pro nor con breastfeeding. I just know that there are some Mom’s out there who just can’t do it, and they should not feel chastised because of it. There are support groups all over for breastfeeding moms, but nothing for the the moms who really do want to breastfeed but absolutely can’t. They need support too. This support needs to come from within the family, Mom, Grand mom, baby’s dad. After birth the hormones are raging. Any feeling of inadequacy could lead to some depression, or moodiness, which will effect the bonding with the baby and the baby’s mood/happiness.
Is there really a long term difference between breastfed and bottle fed babies? Research leads to no. Ten years, twenty years, thirty years later, your offspring will be no different because he/she either breastfed or bottle fed. In the end, its the care and love you give your child, not how he/she was fed the first year of their life. Having a brand new beautiful life which you created and carried should not be marred by the opinions of others on how you fed him/her. As a new parent you are completely bombarded with advice, which is almost always conflicting on everything from how you change their diaper when they wake up in the morning, to how to put them to bed at night. The last thing you need right now is a debate on how you should nourish your child. Do what you know in your heart you need to do, be it breastfeeding or bottle feeding. Not only in your heart, but how you feel physically. Remember if you feel stress, they feel it, and will react with tears. So take a deep breath, and make the decision on your own and feel good about it, as this too will make your baby feel good.