11/13/08

Is Breastfeeding the Best Option for Your Child?

. 11/13/08

Breastfeeding is a hot topic today with mom’s across the country. Is mother’s milk really the best for baby, or will formula do just fine? There are supporters on both sides of the fence, and the decision can be a difficult one.

There are many women who have an easy choice; they get to stay home with their kids either as a housewife or with a work at home job. They can choose to breastfeed easily, or opt for formula if they have a need. Others face going back to a job when the baby is still small, and have to decide if they can make feeding their child breast milk work or not.

Some of these mothers try to breastfeed as long as possible, switching to formula only when it becomes impossible to continue nursing and pumping isn’t an option. Others choose to go with formula from the beginning, so they don’t have to struggle through a transition.

Many women have difficulties producing breast milk and end up with no other option but to give their baby formula. They may agonize over which one is best. Lots of babies turn out to be sensitive to certain types or brands of formula, and end up with colic or bad gas that makes the scream for hours.

Formula is convenient; you can use it anywhere without worrying about someone being offended by you feeding your child, and it stores and travels easily. However, the current recommendation of most pediatricians is that mother’s milk is indeed best - particularly for the first few weeks.

Breast milk is thought to help pass the mom’s immunities on to the baby, and can strengthen them against possible infection. Children who are breastfed on the whole have less ear infections and instances of croup or colic than formula babies, and are reported to be less prone to tooth decay.

This is not always an option however, and formula is far better for a baby than cows milk. Some trial and error may be needed to find a brand that doesn’t cause stomach upset, but in the end bottle-fed babies are just as happy as breastfed babies, though they may battle a few more colds and sniffles.

There are many mom support groups that are in favor of breast feeding, and try to make it easier for moms who want to nurse their babies but are encountering problems. Many organizations also exist that can provide counseling, training for new moms on how to get he baby to latch on and suck properly, and even tips on how to increase milk production. Many women have benefited from such societies, as well as state run programs that also provide education, support, and breast pumps or formula depending on the need of the mother.

You aren’t a bad person if you don’t breastfeed, and you aren’t old fashioned if you do! Only you can make the decision that is right for you and your baby.

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