The decision to breastfeed is an important one that every mother has to make. Advocates for breastfeeding proudly shout the mantra “breast milk is the best milk,” and mothers who don’t breastfeed may feel guilty about their decision. Knowing the facts is important to understanding which method is best for you and your baby.
Many doctors agree there are benefits of breastfeeding newborns. One of the most noted benefits is that breast milk is the perfect food for your baby. Breast milk is also free and is always available, even for moms who do not think they are producing enough milk. Breastfeeding is easily digestible and can protect against diseases. It helps prevent Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Many breastfeeding moms co-sleep, which makes for very convenient night feedings and may allow mom and baby to get more rest.
However, many moms experience frustration with breastfeeding. Leana Greene, CEO of KidsintheHouse.com, experienced many challenges while breastfeeding and encourages other mothers to not get frustrated. Though challenges may arise with breastfeeding, moms can almost always overcome them.
If a mother wants to or has to formula feed, she should embrace this equally important way to meet the nutritional needs of her baby. Annie Wilcox talks about her own experience and choice to formula feed and the backlash this choice often receives from outsiders. While some women are praised for breastfeeding, it is not always the same case for those who formula feed.
Psychologist Dr. Polly Palumbo shares evidence to ease some of the qualms for mothers who formula feed. She explains the research as it pertains to the comparison of breastfed and formula fed babies is not as concrete as some may think it is. The differences between children are often very modest and cannot always be attributed to breastfeeding alone.
Using formula isn’t wrong or bad for the infant. There have been great strides made in the production of infant formula and companies have improved greatly at matching the ingredients found in human milk. Also, anyone can feed the baby when using formula, which is convenient for moms who have hectic lives or are returning to work. Research shows that the most important thing is to have a mother who is happy and not stressed, and if formula feeding will help a mom to better take care of her baby, then that is her choice and one that should not be looked down upon.