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Pregnancy

To Breastfeed or not to Breastfeed

Jessica Evert, MD

One difficult decision you may face during your pregnancy is deciding whether or not to breastfeed your newborn baby. Breastfeeding is currently in vogue for a variety of good reasons which we will shortly discuss. However, the decision to breastfeed or not remains a personal choice that each mother must make. You should not feel pressured into choosing one way or the other just to please the people around you.

mother nursing baby Keep the following points in mind while making your decision:

Advantages of breastfeeding include:

  • Breast milk is the most complete source of naturally balanced nutrition available for your baby. The only food an infant needs during the first six months of life is breast milk.
  • Breast milk contains antibodies that protect your baby from illness. Breastfed babies tend to have fewer allergies than bottle-fed babies.
  • Breast milk is less expensive and easier for babies to digest than formula.
  • Breastfeeding can be both relaxing and convenient. There are no bottles to wash, sterilize, or prepare.
  • Breastfeeding can help your uterus return to normal size more quickly after delivery because of the release of the hormone oxytocin.
  • Breastfeeding can also help you lose weight.

Disadvantages of breastfeeding include:

  • Women who breastfeed must be available to feed their babies 6 to 8 times each day. Although women may choose to pump and store their breast milk so as to make it possible for other people to actually feed their baby, women typically have to continue breastfeeding in person, in order to maintain an adequate supply of milk for their baby. It is much easier for others to share the responsibility of caring for a baby when bottle feeding methods are used.
  • Because breast milk is easier to digest, breastfed babies tend to require more feedings. Bottle-fed babies tend to remain fuller for longer periods, and therefore can go longer between feedings.
  • Bottle feeding makes it easier for you to see how much your baby is eating. When breastfeeding, a woman has to guess how much milk her baby is getting.
  • The foods you eat and the medications you take while breastfeeding can enter your baby's system through your milk. Therefore, women often have to avoid certain foods, drinks and medications that might have a negative effect on the baby throughout the entire period of breastfeeding. If you choose to bottle feed, you do not have to worry about these restrictions.
  • Breastfeeding can lead to sore nipples and leaky breasts, which in turn can affect your sex life. This is not a problem for women who bottle feed.

Keep this in mind when deciding how to feed your baby: Your breasts will only continue producing milk if you allow your baby to nurse on them. They will cease to produce milk if nursing ceases. For this reason, it is easier for you to start out breastfeeding and later switch to bottle feeding if you decide it isn’t for you than vice versa. Most hospitals have lactation (breastfeeding) consultants who can help you to learn about breastfeeding and get used to this new experience during the first few days with your new baby. Information about breastfeeding is available online at http://www.lalecheleague.org/.

 

Reader Comments

Try to have better arguments - Gemma - Feb 21st 2015

Old post now, but the pro-bottle arguments are so weak I feel compelled to comment. 

You have to breastfeed your baby 6-8 times per day plus on-demand. This means you may be feeding your baby many more times in a day. Most days my baby ate 12-15 times. So the # feeds argument is accurate - less time spent formula feeding.

The claim that formula is more difficult to digest, keeps your baby "fuller," and thus needing to eat less often... take a look at what you wrote, I don't know that I need to add much. Formula is more difficult to digest. It is not keeping them "fuller." It is taking longer for their bodies to digest because it is not what babies are intended to eat.

Formula means you can see how much your baby is eating. Why do you need to know this? If your baby has sufficient wet/dirty diapers each day, is gaining weight, and is healthy, then your baby is getting enough to eat.

Medications - yes, you need to be mindful of your meds. Be aware that many medications are safe for breastfeeding. If you are on meds that are not, you may be able to switch meds for the duration of breastfeeding. Contact MotherRisk to find out about the safety of your meds. The other lifestyle changes you may need to make for the duration of breastfeeding re: food/alcohol seem minor to me when compared to the health of your baby.

Impact on sex life - well. To each her own. Personally, leaky breastmilk just seems like another body fluid that may arise during sex. How sterile can sex be?

 

God is our judge !!! - - Nov 16th 2011

The way I see it is God is our judge .. We are not to judge anyone because we are not god .. I breastfeed my baby girl I'm 21 and yes I had a very hard time but I knew I was doing what god made me do for my baby .. I thought of my baby before myself it was hard for me when I was use to being independent but to me god didn't want women to be independent he wanted man and women to help eachother raise our children .. So in the end just keep in mind god is the only judge so he knows u and your heart and he can only judge u .....

 

Great article for new moms and moms to-be! - Elisabeth - Nov 8th 2011

Thanks for this article.  It's an uncommonly calm and balanced piece about deciding how to feed your baby. 

As, you probably know, moms who are SA survivors and/or suffer from PPD sometimes find breastfeeding helpful, while nursing can exacerbate issues for others.  This should, in my opinion, be a factor in deciding whether to breast or bottle feed-- for mom's and baby's sakes (happy mom= happy baby.)  Most babies turn out healthy, intelligent and well-adjusted whether they're fed breast milk, formula or some combination of the two.  I'm glad to see you're not trying to pressure or scare new moms and moms-to-be one way or the other.  That's the last thing they need.

Both?? - Joy - Sep 15th 2011

My baby is 5 weeks old and I am getting ready to go back to work next week. I chose to breastfeed him, and I have bought a breast pump. I have not been using the breast pump at home because, I let my son feed whenever he is hungry.. usually every 2-3 hours. I don't have time to sit and pump after every feeding because I wouldnt be able to do anything except feed him and pump. I decided, in order to have some sanity it would be best to have my husband fix some formula for him every now and then when I need a break. It gives him time to bond with our son, and it gives me time to take a mental break. A bottle of formula every now and then doesnt seem to hurt. It does however, cause him constipation and he wont poop for a few days after taking a bottle but usually when he starts to nurse again he will expell it pretty quickly. I like the advantages of breastfeeding, it has helped me lose weight. I was 190 lbs when I gave birth and now I am 161.4. My waist almost looks like it did before i was pregnant. I dont have to worry about making a bottle in the morning, it's already ready to go. The baby gets the antibodies from me, and it's vertually free. You do have to eat more food, and watch what foods you eat but that should be desired anyway. You dont want to feed yourchild junk. I don't think formula is really bad for him. It does seem to bother his stomach more; but he seems a lot more content when he gets the formula. He doesnt seem as hungry. When I breast feed him.. he wants to feed almost all the time when I hold him. I think what you do is your personal choice. I have went back and forth in my mind whether or not to quit breastfeeding.. because it is more convient for people to watch our son with formula feeding. I have decided so far that I do not want to quit just yet, I want to at least try to continue until he is  6 months old. It will be a challenge.. but I think I can do it. I will try to pump at work when I go back next week. My husband will be watching our son and formula feeding him while I am gone. I do have a little breast milk in the freezer.. but just as long as he gets fed I really dont care what he gets. Do whatever you feel is right for your baby. I think that if I quit breast feeding him now.. it would be selfish on my part.

worry about yourself - - Feb 7th 2011

Why do you all care what someone else chooses to do? I have 2 children, the oldest of which was bottle fed and the youngest,breast fed. I honestly say that My oldest is a child who is never sick, he's 3 and has been sick maybe 3 times. my youngest however was breastfed and in his 6 months of existance has been sick more than 6 times. He's had regular check ups and tests say hes a normal kid. Breast milk is important for babies for the fist week so they can get the colostrum and helps their immune system, but you have to look at the many other factors that affect the childs health.

the household environment, (cleanliness,smokers,pets)

daycare vs. home care (daycare babies tend to get sick more often)

dressing the child according to the weather(just because youre not cold doesnt mean he's not, babies cannot regulate their body temp. as well as we can)

some kids just get sick more often then others, these variations occur interculturally, internationally, within the same family. . . everyone is different

And for the record, no one knows anyone elses life (and if your judging people for their choices ONLINE, you must not have one of your own!) I'tll be a cold day in h*LL before people learn to mind their own d*mn business. STFU

All of you are crazy - A Great MOM - Nov 24th 2010

I think it is so funny how you can bash the publisher of this article. Breastfeeding is not manditory. I breastfed my children and it was hard, but that doesn't mean I can judge and critisize others who didn't make the same decision as me. You think your better than others for what you can do with your boobs!!! HA! That is pathetic, what you should do is get a life and stop talking trash on the internet, because I gurantee you wouldn't state your opinion to someone that was bottle feeding in public. STOP using the internet as a way to bully someone else. It's OKAY to have an opinion, but at least be respectful. It's OKAY to state your personal experiences, but that's not the same as bashing someone for their experience.

Yep bash breastfeeding - - Oct 22nd 2010

You seem to breeze over the benifits of breast feeding, and concentrate on bagging it out.  So basically you are saying formula feed so you can go about your "normal" life eg alcohol and socialising.  This is what my SIL did - had her baby and dumped it off with her mother so she could get into another man.  I had to give up breast feeding due to medical issues and it is the biggest regret that I have however there is nothing I could do - trying medication to increase  supply, LC, doctors and specialists couldnt help.  Now I have the expense of buying formula - which I know isn't the best for my baby.  And to the previous poster about if the mother doesn't eat properly the milk won't be good - the milk is always good -its the mothers health that will suffer if she chooses not to eat well.  There needs to be more truth in the article so misconceptions (that you are fueling) are ceased.  I doubt that you will let this post through as it doesn't fit in with your proaganda against breastfeeding.

true nutritional standpoint - - Sep 24th 2010

from a true nutrional standpoint, it would be advantagous to breastfeed for the first four days when the breatmilk contains ingrdiants the infant cannot recive in any formula. After that, it is a matter of choice, simply that.

Let us not forget that there are many mother's who do not eat properly and if they are lacking in nutrition or are over stressed, their milk will be lacking and the infant will suffer.

Also, if a mother is on ANY meds, even something as simple as tylenol, it is in the milk and can cause liver damage. If a mother is on birth control pills, the baby gets hormones it dosn't need.  So THINK of your infant and not yourself.

why so many refuse to sacrifice? - - Sep 24th 2010

Any woman who doesn't care enough about her child to breastfeed doesn't deserve to be a mother. Why start your child out on processed junk from the beginning?

Any woman who says she formula feeds because it's what is best for her and her baby is lying. It may be "best" for the mother, but no matter how you look at it breastmilk is best for EVERY baby.

And to the women who swear up and down that their fomula fed babies are just as healthy as any breastfed baby they know...I call BS on that. Every formula feeder I know swears up and down their child never gets sick, even when I've seen their sick kids. And the fact remains, breastfed babies do not get sick as often as formula fed babies do. Do try to argue that FACT to make yourself feel better for being a crappy parent.

The selfishness of some parent's just amaze me. How can you not want to do what's best for your child? My daughter was born premature so I pumped, she never would latch on so I continued to pump for over 2 years for her! The first 6 months were hell, I was exhausted, but her health mattered more to me than sleep. Why so so many parent's refuse to sacrifice for their children?

Struggling with decision - - Aug 18th 2010

I am one month away from giving birth and have gone back and forth with this decision.  I have a 5 yo healthy son who I tried to breastfeed and was emotional and felt like a failure when I couldn't produce milk.  I never felt let down or felt engorged or even saw more than a drop of milk after pumping  This went on for nearly a month until my mom intervened and expressed her concern over the baby not getting enough to eat and gave him a bottle.  It was a huge relieve I was finally able to enjoy motherhood, bond with my baby and wasn't an emotional wreck.  After reading all the postings I have finally made the decision that is right for the baby, myself and the rest of the family that I will formula feed this time.  I talked with a lactation consultant and discussed my past experience with her.  The two questions she asked was have your breast been sore during pregnancy and are they mostly pale or have alot of veins running through them.  My breasts have never been sore during pregnancy and my breast have very little veins and are mostly pale.  She explained that those can be red flags to lack of milk production.  I am not going to put myself , my baby and my family through the stress again and I am going to do whats best for us and bottle feed from the get go.  

Oh, come on! - - Aug 16th 2010

The person who wrote "Just kidding yourselves" is a judgemental a$$, and has no clue.  The fact is that some women can't breastfeed, and that post just made breastfeeding advocates look bad!

That said, I also have to wonder why so many women who choose to formula feed are so defensive about it. 

I understand that if you tried and failed to breastfeed you may have feelings of guilt, which is what usually leads to defensiveness.  I know I have had feelings of guilt due to my c-sections, despite the fact that I tried to give birth vaginally.  It's the guilt of your body not doing what it's supposed to do.  This guilt is irrational, but normal. 

It's the women who CHOOSE to formula feed that I don't understand.  Why would you be so knee-jerk defensive of a decision that you made with all possible information?  If it's truly the best thing for your child you shouldn't feel defensive about it.

And before you start saying "it's a not knee-jerk reaction" you need to ask yourself why you think it's "bullying" to give all of the research-based information available about the limitations of formula-feeding?  It's amazing that this type of information is somehow bullying, but telling people about the disadvantages of not using proper car restraints is just letting parents make an informed choice?

Why do people say "I was formula fed and I'm fine, so I'm going to give my children formula!"?  The research shows that formula-fed children are at a much higher risk for a multitude of health problems.  Don't tell me about all the formula fed children you know who are healthier than the breastfed ones.  Unless you have a base of thousands of children with the same results, and all possible variables accounted for, it doesn't count.  Anectdotal evidence just doesn't do it.

One "study" that refutes hundreds of others just isn't convincing, either. 

The bottom line is that when you **CHOOSE** to formula feed you choose to put your child at risk.  It's your child and your choice.  You make the decision, but just be realistic about what you're choosing.

Definitely a personal choice! - Laura - Aug 11th 2010

I am 5 1/2 months pregnant and have just decided not to breastfeed. I will be going straight back to work shortly after my baby is born and so will be unable to breastfeed. I was not breastfed as a baby, not even for a day, and I don't believe my husband was either. We are both perfectly fine, healthy, smart adults. Now a days, formula feeding is perfectly fine for your baby. Try the Nestle formulas! They have almost all the same nutrients as your breast milk and have been working wonderfully for my many friends who are also not breastfeeding! I don't believe it is fair to make women feel guilty when they decide not to breastfeed, or simply cannot do it. It is actually proven that some women cannot produce milk for their children. This is information I have received from my OBGYN. So ladies, don't fret about what other people may say if they try to make you feel guilty! If you can breastfeed and want to that's wonderful! Good for you! If not, that's fine too! Trust me, your baby will turn out just as normal and healthy as your friend's baby who did breast feed! :)

Don`t feel guilty if it just doesn`t work! - - Aug 5th 2010

The stress and anxiety that is added to a new moms already sleep deprived life for not breastfeeding is increasing her risks of post partum mood disorders!! 

If it`s not working out for her than let it be that way and praise her for trying!!

Don't Listen to the Dec 14th comment!! - - Aug 5th 2010

Every mom wants the best for their baby!!  I was still having issues with supply even after hours of lactation consulting, domperidone, fenugreek, etc.  I never experienced the let down sensation even after months of trying.  

What I want to pass on is that if our bodies are genetically predispositioned to a certain height than is it not the same for milk supply.  Don`t loose sleep over not breastfeeding your baby.  The stress and anxiety that society has now put on moms who are not able to breastfeed is absolutely unnecessary.  Non breastfed babies have the same emotional bond with their mothers and will be just as smart as all the other kids!      

Sometimes it just doesn't happen! - - Jul 23rd 2010

I have a beautiful 9 month old little girl who is formula fed. She was only 4 lb 11 when born and was losing weight as i was TRYING to breastfeed her. I can, in all honesty, hand on heart, say that i tried so hard! But for various reasons i had to switch to formula. This was a decision i did not make lightly, in fact, i spent days crying over this and felt very guilty.

I personally find it very hurtful when i read comments from people who say that 'us mums who CHOSE to FF are selfish' I would NEVER pass comment about how other people bring up their children and breastfeeding your child doesn't make you this automatically amazing parent...

I was not breastfed and my husband was not breastfed and i have not been ill more than friends who have been. At the end of the day...yes its natural but its not miracle milk!!!

How about you concentrate on your own children rather than passing comment about others

 

No one told us the dangers - Breastfeeding Dogma - Jul 1st 2010

My wife gave birth six days ago. Our midwife, doctor, doula, relatives, all said that formula milk was quite unnecessary and positively unhelpful, potentially harmful. I was told to refuse any encouragement from nurses to use formula milk. I was told that colostrum has everything the baby needs, even in the sweltering heat of where we live, there was no need to supplement the babies milk. We were told that babies who breastfeed often do not produce much poo or may produce nothing, so wholly is the breast milk absorbed, and that the poo has no smell, so good and wholesome it is in its creamy innocent yellowness.

No one but no one warned us that sometimes breastfeeding simply doesn't work well enough.  

Two days ago my five day old nearly died of dehydration. She is still in intensive care. We are still trying to breastfeed her with a supplementary drip feed. To the people on this comments board, please, try to acknowledge that our bodies are mortal, and vilifying women who find breastfeeding extremely difficult, and spreading the religion-like myth that breastfeeding is always enough is as wrong as condemning anyone for any physical shortcomings, but more so, because my daughter's life nearly slipped away at a very early stage as a result. When we talk about the dangers of breastfeeding, we do not need to put inverted commas around 'dangers', the danger is real enough.

Milk does a baby good - Donnatella - Apr 26th 2010

Hi I'm doing an essay and I read a post that is of interest to many women who wish to nurse their babies but are unable to because they aren't producing a sufficient amount.  Check out La Leche League (www.llli.org) or many of the other human milk banks. Baby needs human milk.

Bless you all and your beautiful babies.

Donna

help - rebecca - Jan 25th 2010

I want ta breast feed but mi boy friend don't want me to cuz he said if I don't mi boobs will stay that big for ever but I don't think that they will what do yall think write me on mi email its butlerr58@yahoo.com

Dr. Dombeck's Note: Breast feeding is nutritionally best -- much better than any formula -- for baby if the mother can manage it, and it sounds like you can and are willing except for your boyfriend's concern, which is unfounded. Breasts enlarge to provide milk for baby but do not stay large when breast feeding is done.  Breast shape is changed by pregnancy, however, and whether or not breast feeding occurs, the very act of pregnancy may result in breasts that have a different shape than they did pre-pregnancy.  You should breastfeed if you can; it's really best for your baby's health that you do so. 

entitled to their opinions - Heather - Dec 20th 2009

You are not making excuses.. nor are you hurting your beautiful baby.

I applaud you for your efforts, and for making a decision that has not only allowed you to successfully nourish your daughter, but to be HAPPY and enjoy being a new mom.

Just be thankful that we're not related to that overly opinionated, closed-minded, big mouthed, lactation loca..  Imagine having to listen to THAT everyday!  Everyone is entitled to their opinions - and thankfully we have the option to listen  or to completely disregard them (i think you know where I stand)

Congratulations on your new baby and on being a great Mom!!

wow - - Dec 17th 2009

I find the last comment very rude.  I WANTED to breast feed.  However I was only pumping out 1 ounce if I was lucky.  I took medication that was suppose to up my supply... it did not work.  I tried everything to breastfeed... I WANT TO BREASTFEED.  For some reason my body wouldn't let me.  Thank God we live in the age where there is formula... or who knows what would happen to my baby.  She is thriving and very healthy on similac.  I do not believe that I'm making excuses.

Keep kidding yourselves, FF ladies - - Dec 14th 2009

Excuses, excuses.  It is totally selfish for a mother not to breastfeed for those first few weeks.  Period.  Formula-feeding moms that I know are chock full of excuses why they think they can't breastfeed, but I KNOW your body is able to do it and that you are just too selfish to try or to stick with it when it doesn't happen as easily as you think it should.  The incidence of a woman not being ABLE to breastfeed is actually a lot smaller than it seems.  Breastfeeding is something so simple that folks make into such a difficult, hard-to-manage, daunting task.  Your body wants to do it, hell, your body is crying out and so is your baby.  By not letting your baby suckle, you are suppressing a physical reaction to your baby.  That has got to be so depressing, knowing you are willingly depriving your tiny, helpless baby of the nutrient-rich sustainance that he/she is entitled to have, just because you don't want to fool with it.  That is selfishness at its finest, my dears.  If you breastfeed your baby like you are supposed to, you won't have to give anyone any lame excuses, or let's call them what they are - LIES. 

I am mainly talking about the first few weeks.  I understand that mommas go back to work and pumping is not an easy thing to keep up with.  I am talking about those first few weeks when you have nothing else to do but bond and care for your baby.  I just think it is so selfish to not even try.  And it is so lame for mamas to listen to people who are telling you your baby isn't getting enough to eat those first few days when your milk hasn't come in yet.  People will question you, inevitably, if you are BF-ing and your baby is crying because they think they know better than your body.  If baby needed the milk immediately after birth, your body would immediately make the milk, not wait a few days.  Your body will do what it is supposed to do for the baby it just produced.  Period.  Don't let anyone convince you otherwise.  You know best.  You're the mama.  Educate yourself (just read a book!) and be confident in your body's ability to breastfeed.  Confidence in yourself is everything when it comes to breastfeeding.

All you have to do is:

1)  Offer your breast to your baby every time it cries.  Try 10 mins on each side at first.  This will help your baby learn to latch well and will stimulate milk production in each breast.  This is called nursing on demand.  Your nipples will hurt increasingly bad for a few weeks, but this will go away, just stick with it.

2)  Don't give your baby a bottle until after 3 weeks.  Not even one.  Make this your first goal.  Do not worry that you aren't making enough milk, your body will take care of that.  Don't listen to people who tell you to supplement with formula.  Just nurse your baby on demand.  If you give a bottle after 3 wks, pump a bottle.

3)  Continue nursing until you are ready to wean. 

If you just do it, you won't feel guilty, nor will you have to make lame excuses about your "inability" to nurse.

 

mental health - Amy - Dec 4th 2009

I had my first baby in september 09.  I went to a breastfeeding class, and read many breastfeeding books.  I have every intention of bf.  I wanted to do what was best for my daughter.

After I had my daugher I tried and triend to bf. I have inverted nipples so it made it difficult, but I kept trying. the nurses where very supportive in the hospital, but i was sent home before my milk came in.

At home I was exhausted my little girl wanted to eat every 2 hours all day and all night.  I was not sleeping at all.  I began to cry, ALOT.  I cried all day, all night.  I was exhausted, I wasn't hungry, but knew if I didn't eat I would loose my milk.. i was cramming unwated food down my throat.

My husband was getting so worried about me.  he wanted to help, but couldn't do much.  I went to the doctor, the perscribed zoloft for me for post pardum depression.... I couldn't take it.  It made me so dizzy I couldn't hardly walk.  How could i carry a newborn?

I talked to a friend that was breastfeeding..but pumping all her milk and feeding it through a bottle.  I tried that and found that I was only pumping one ounce at a time.  I was frantic that she was getting enough milk.

Finally my mother (who is very pro bf) convinced me to start bottle feeding.  THings got so much better... my daughter was getting more to eat. started sleeping better at night.  My husband could help feed her.. I found he started to form more of a bond with her too.

I will try bf again for my next child.  However, I find that mothers mental health needs to come before breastfeeding.  To many people make you feel horrible if you dont.  I've had many people give me sour looks for bottle feeding.  If only they knew how terrible I felt.  I was so depressed.

I feel that I have great bond with my 2month old daughther..she gives me the biggest smiles, and I know she loves me.  I hate how people suggest you won't have a strong bond if you don't bf.  I have a very strong bond... and its helped her daddy bond wiht her too.

Myths that stop people trying to breastfeed - - Nov 23rd 2009

I have a 4 month old baby who I am breastfeeding and I agree with the other commentators who don't understand why people wouldn't give it a try.  I think there are a lot of myths out there which encourage people to make the decision not to breastfeed. 

I never had any problems latching (yes my baby fell asleep a lot on the breast in the first few weeks but he soon got over that as he got more alert and hungry) - I know some people do have latching problems but you won't know until you try.

Its a myth that breast fed babies don't sleep through the night as quickly - some do some don't, it depends on the baby.  Yes my little boy fed every two or three hours at night in the first few weeks but again if you stick with it that doesn't last long, he has been sleeping through the night (9pm - 6am) since 8 weeks and now sleeps for 12 hours (7.30pm - 7.30am) every night.  I know I'm lucky but don't just assume your baby sleeps through the night because you formula feed.

If you have to go back to work obviously I understand why people would choose formula feeding but you could breastfeed until you go back to work and if you don't have to be away from your baby for long periods its so much more convenient to feed them yourself rather than worry about sterilising etc.  And pumping for me has always been a doddle and my little one takes a bottle easily so I do get the odd night out / break in the day when my husband looks after him.

And when people say about it ruining your sex life I don't see why it should, yes my breasts leak sometimes but so what, I just wear a bra and breast pads while I have sex, it doesn't change anything (actually my husband finds my DD boobs very sexy - much more so than the usual Bs!)

Oh and benefits wise, i lost all my pregnancy weight in 2 months, and I am convinced that a lot of that was due to breastfeeding.

Just try it, if its as easy for you as it is for me believe me it is soooooooooooooooooo worth it.

Its the mother's choice - Breastfeeding Mom - Nov 12th 2009

I have to tell you that breastfeeding was very difficult at first, and I can see why it's difficult to continue.  My little one lost some weight and needed supplementation with formula at first until my milk came in.  Plus, I got ZERO sleep (maybe 15 minutes a day sometimes) because I received no help during those grueling first 3 months, and my baby was a very demanding baby who cried to be fed continuously.  It was extremely taxing on my mind, my body, and on my marriage.

A breastfeeding mom needs a great deal of support from her spouse and loved ones to keep from becoming physically and emotionally exhausted.  The difficulties eventually worked themselves out for me, my baby and my marriage, and my 13-month-old is still nursing a couple of times in the evening while gradually weaning off.  I have found it to be a beautiful bonding experience, especially after not seeing my little one all day long while I'm at work. 

As wonderful as it was, with its ups and downs, it is wrong to criticize any mother about her decision to breastfeed or not.  I truly believe's that it's the mother's choice.  Yes, dads are also the parent, but they don't have to go through the bootcamp of bf.  If Dad would like to offer his breasts to the baby as well, then he might have a say in the matter.  Everyone else should respect the mother's decision.

All in all, I would do it again and again.

Breast is Best - Kelly - Nov 7th 2009

Dr. Jessica Evert and Mentalhelpnet.com should be ashamed of themselves

  • Studies have shouwn that the time women spend breastfeeding their child is  important for building bonds and security between mother and baby.  Women should be spending as much time with there child as they can and breastfeeding gives you the perfect excuse for sitting down with your child and just enjoying them before they grow up
  • breastmilk is free and the best possible thing you could give your newborn.
  • Formula is harmful to the sensitive stomach of a newborn infant. Formula was developed by large coorporations for profit.  Do you think these companies really care about the health of your baby.  Many studies conducted are sponsered by formula companies and are therefore biased
  • Formula companies give large amounts of mony to hospitals and healthcare workers to promote their products
  • When a baby is full it will stop nursing.  Thier stomachs are small and therefore they will requires multple feeding.
  • breastmilk is a natural food engineered perfectly for the sensitive stomach of a baby.  How can it be more harmfully than formula that ts made from hundreds of chemicals and who knows if the water you use to mix it with is pure.
  • Having a baby is a commitment that know one should take lightly.  If you are concidering formulaf-eeding because you don't want breastfeeding to disrupt you your normal schedule or sex life perhaps you should be re-thinking you decision to have a baby. 

My Opinion - Nope - Nov 2nd 2009

In my opinion, it is much better for the mother to breastfeed. It creates a bond between the mother and child that will be important as your child ages. Plus, if you really think about it, when we were created, our cycles like everything else in the universe were created perfect. We were not created with the knowledge to make formula, therefore it is still considered a foreign chemical that you are inserting into your child. People have become so selfish these days. Always worried about how your child will effect your daily schedual, but completely ignoring the effects on your childs life. These all contribute to the increase in formula babies in this country. I do believe a large portion of it is selfishness. I understand some moms do need to work, in those cases it was not the MOTHERS selfishness, but the Fathers for not being there. I just chalk up Formula Babies as yet another notch on the wall for the breaking down of the family unit. Again, I believe these to be facts, perhaps you should think long and hard about these points and decide if you are feeding foreign chemicals to your baby for the right reasons.

Choosing not to breast feed - - Oct 29th 2009

When I had my son I was all for breast feeding, but in the hospital even though I had huge amounts of help, it wasn't comfortable and no matter how much I tried I couldn't get him to latch on. my poor baby started to lose weight, but because I had been pounded with "breast milk is best" I kept trying to breast feed. Eventually my son started losing a lot of weight, and almost had to be hospitalized. I was brought a pump and tried to bottle feed him with pumped milk but all he would do is spit it out. I was really down and depressed about not being able to breastfeed, since everything I have been told says that a good mother breastfeeds their child. Once a new nurse came on shift she brought me little bottles of formula for him to try and as soon as he started sucking on the bottle you could see such a change in him. He gained his weight right back and is now 5 months old and a beautiful formula fed baby. What I'm trying to say is, however you choose to feed your child. It is your personal choice, it doesn't make you a bad parent, selfish, or lazy. You are doing what you think is best for your child, and as long as you think its what is best then you shouldn't let anyone tell you otherwise, because they are your breasts and you should choose what you want to do with them.

choosing to ff - - Oct 23rd 2009

We don't seem to have a population problem here in the US that I can seem to see...which means that all of these babies, kids and adults who were or are currently being either breast fed or formula fed are doing just fine.

If one was really so much better or worse than the other, wouldn't there be droves of infants dying from sickness and hords of children developmentally behind their peers who were fed 'the other way?'

If it really made that big of a difference, wouldn't doctors ask us well into adulthood if we were ff or bf?

Since when is one medical advancement better than another? Fertility treatments are hardly natural, but try telling that to an infertile couple and see the reaction you get.

I'm choosing to FF for personal reasons that I don't feel the need to list out...because they are my personal reasons.

I would never ever try to force my choice and opinion on a woman who chooses to breast feed. I would never judge her. I wouldn't even bat an eye. Why? Because I'm not her, and that is not my baby.

I think I deserve the same respect. And using the excuse, 'We're just trying to help you make an informed decision' implies that I haven't thought about it and that my present decision isn't informed. All it says is that you don't agree with what I've chosen to do (or not do) so therefore I must be uninformed.

To: Why not try it - - Aug 15th 2009

You are full of contradictions. You say that women should not feel pressured and it's their choice but then you talk about how terrible it is that they don't try it. I chose not to breastfeed and had no intention of trying it. Do whatever you want for your baby but my almost two-year-old daughter has never been breastfeed and despite what people say about formula-fed babies, she's very healthy (never had a runny nose or anything), her weight and height are proportional (she's in the upper 90% for both) and she has surpassed her peers in speech and motor skills (she can say more than 100 words at 20 months old and can say even more in sign language).

My sister breastfeed all three of her kids. Her oldest is average among his peers, her middle child has a very high IQ and her youngest is ill often and has developed extremely late. 

My point, if you don't want to try it, don't. Genes and environment will determine how your child develops, not whether or not they sucked on your nipple for a few months.

And, I'd like to add, despite studies saying that breastfeeding does not make you saggy....

My mom (didn't breastfeed)=breast didn't sag until she was in her 50s

Me (didn't breastfeed)=almost 30, no saggy at all

Sister (breastfeed)=almost 30, breast saggier than my 60-year-old mothers

Brother's wife (didn't breastfeed)= almost 40, no sagging at all

Husband's sister (breastfeed)=22, starting to sag more than mine and I'm almost 10 years older and our daughters are the same age

 

Just saying.....

Personal choice - Allan N. Schwartz, PhD - Jun 26th 2009

Hi Melanie,

You are absolutely correct when you point out that breast feeding is a personal choice and that each woman must decide upon it for themselves or with their husband. Most certainly, no one has the right to judge anyone for their choice.  I just want to make that clear before I proceed.

Having made my opinion clear, and that I agree with you, I also want to point out some of the pros of breastfeeding:

1. It gives the infant the mother's immunity from diseases and virus for a couple of months.

2. It seems to prevent the problem of colic or at least that is the latest claim.

3. It strengthens the bond between baby and mother.

4. Mothers report tremendous feelings of gratification from the breast feeding. That may have to do with endorphins.

5. Many additional benefits to baby and mom have been documented.

However, none of this implies that it is wrong to bottle feed and the fact is that people have grown into normal adulthood with bottle feeding.

I can tell you that my daughter is opting for breastfeeding.

Dr. Schwartz

Personal choice - Melanie - Jun 25th 2009

I am 8 months pregnant with my first child. I have decided to try breastfeeding, but if I dont feel comfortable with it, then I will try to pump or bottle feed. I am planning on being a stay at home mom, thankfully we are able to do that. But I would just like to say this, Breastfeeding is a personal choice for each mother. There is absolutely nothing wrong with choosing to bottle feed and never attempting to breastfeed. I myself have doubts about breastfeeding, and whether I will feel comfortable doing it, but I am going to try, and see how it goes. There is nothing wrong with working full time and being a mom. Alot of people do it, and their children grow up to be well adjusted adults. I wish everyone the best in their decision to breastfeed or bottle feed. I personally am surprised that so many people are very negative towards choosing to bottle feed. Everyone is different, and women who have a newborn have a lot on their plate, and need the support of other moms, and not feeling like they are being judged for their decision of whether or not to breastfeed. Good luck to everyone and I wish you all the best.

Why not try it? - - Jun 24th 2009

I don't believe women should feel guilty for formula feeding their baby.  What I have a hard time understanding though is that some women don't even try breastfeeding (obviously excluding those women with medical reasons). 

When I was pregnant with my first child I didn't make any promises of breastfeeding because I didn't know what it would be like and I didn't want to put any pressure on myself.  I did promise that I would at least try it.  Luckily for me the process was relatively easy (meaning no problems latching or infections but I did experience very sore nipples for the first while and many sleepless night!:)).  It was tough at times but then you get the pump out and you can experience hours of freedom just like formula feeding moms:). 

I find it disheartening when women don't try BFing because they "just don't want to".  Without rhyme or reason they decide to not breastfeed.  I have a hard time understanding that.  Also, the pressure goes both ways.  My MIL wanted me to stop breastfeeding and was always trying to push formula on me.  Not to mention those parents who swear that formula feeding will get your child sleeping through the night... whatever. 

I do believe BFing is a personal choice and no one should feel pressured or become depressed from failure to breastfeed.  If you try it and it makes you miserable, I believe that you should stop.  That being said... don't tell me breastfeeding isn't for you if you haven't even tried it.  Does one decide they hate peas before having a taste? Just my opinion!

real world - - May 18th 2009

i think some of the writers of these posts need to get a life! is there not something else u cud be doing (like breastfeeding ur baby?) rather than ranting at others when u dont know their situation?  as for the "inconvienience" rant. yes, i would imagine it wud be less than convinient for a working mother to breatstfeed. dont know 2 many employers who wud welcome a baby in the office lol!......and people are forgetting to mention the topic of those with twins and triplets etc......

very frustrated - Wendy - May 3rd 2009

Obviously the current trend in our society is "breast is best" and I call it a trend b/c regardless of the current medical research breastfeeding has come in and out in popularity over the last century based on the current medical research at the time.  My sister was breastfed, I was not.  I had an allergy to breastmilk.  My sister was and is, although we are both in our 30s, sick more often. I am certainly at least as smart as my sister and had more success in school.  I also suffer from depression and anxiety.  These mental illness can be clearly traced to other members of my family from generation to generation.  I've been on treatment since I was 18.  When I go off of my drugs I always relapse within 1-6 months.  And it's bad.  It's like drowing in a well and I can't get out and I don't care.  I plan, unless I have too many suicidal thoughts, to forego my drugs during my pregnancy (I'm not trying to get pregnant yet and I've never been pregnant).  However, I am frustrated and concerned by the pressure to breastfeed and the pros and cons of the risks of infant exposure to anti-depressents and anti-anxiety drugs.  I plan to use formula.  I feel it is the best solution for my future child and myself.  That way I can be on my prior drugs, all of them, and my child will not receive any amount of them.  My husband, who is 100% behind me if not even more behind me than I am, often remarks, sure, you breastfeed your child but then you spend the next 17 years feeding him absolute processed crap with partially hydrogenated oils, high-fructose corn syrup, artifical sweetners, dyes, etc.  And it's true.  I might not breastfeed but I do shop exclusively at Whole Foods and my child will not spend 17 years eating crap.  And maybe it's the current trend in our diets that necessitates breastfeeding the first place.  Nonetheless, my point today is that, for some people who suffer from true pre-existing mental illnesses going back on full doses of their drugs is the best choice for the family and you should listen and be supportive of that choice.

food for thought... - - Apr 15th 2009

Breastfeeding is a personal choice... that is true... however such personal decisions should be based on more than a very short article which is obviously biased toward formula feeding... and based rather on information about the two which is current, accurate and also unbiased.... it should be based on facts...There is quite a bit of incomplete information, and also some inacurate information...breastfeeding is the "norm" in most parts of the world, with USA being one of the few exceptions where formula feeding is the "norm"a breastfeeding mom does not have to guess what her baby's intake is, she can do a "testweight" to get an acurate account of her baby's intake at the breast, by weighing her baby naked right before a feeding and then also at the end of the feeding (also naked)... the change in baby's weight will show what intake at the breast was for that feeding.some key points to consider with reguard to formula feeding...formula is made in a pharmacutical plant, in most parts of the world requires a prescription and also requires a doc to closely monitor the baby's health.main ingredient in most "cow's milk" based formula is not cow's milk, but rather some form of corn syrup solid, or modified corn product of some type or another (corn is often linked to allergies)...fomula fed babies can easily have their own body's cues to be "over-ridden" by others who are feeding them...most mothers who pump now adays do quite well with thier supplies, and do not have issues, when they do, usualy it is linked to inproper use of the pump. KEY MESSAGE BEING... MAKE A VERY WELL INFORMED CHOICE OF WHAT IS BEST FOR YOU AND YOUR BABY... I WORK WITH BREASTFEEDING AND NON BREASTFEEDING MOMS ON A DAILY BASIS AND I CAN SAY THAT I HAVE NEVER HEARD A REGRET FROM A MOTHER WHO CHOSES TO BREASTFEED, AND ON THE OTHER HAND I HEAR REGRET OVER FORMULA FEEDING ON A REGULAR BASIS FROM MOTHERS WHO ARE NOW WONDERING IF BREASTFEEDING WOULD HAVE PREVENTED THE REGULAR VISITS FOR EAR, RESPORATORY, FREQUENT ILLNESSES AND MANY OTHER HEALTH ISSUES, INCLUDING OBESITY AND DIABETES IN THEIR CHILD WHO IS NOT GETTING ANY EXTRA SUPPORT TO THEIR IMMUNE SYSTEMS FROM ANTIBODIES THAT ARE NOT IN THEIR FORMULA.

Profit motive - New Dad - Apr 14th 2009

As a business grad, I read some of these posts and wonder if they are made by formula companies. Whenever I see such contention, I have to suspect that the argument away from the truth is supported by money. Shouldn't you guys be providing links to articles supporting your arguments? Some basic facts: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Breastfeeding

Editor's Note: Comments are anonymous and might be made by anyone, corporate shills included.  We have no way of knowing.  The main article was created under our own control and was not commercially sponsored.  This is not intended to be an academic article but rather a lay reference.  It was as accurate as we could make it at the time of its creation.

We are such a sick society ... - Maya - Apr 9th 2009

What memos on the earth considering not to breast feed it's off springs ?(and b4 birth!)....

There are rare cases when it is impossiable for the mother (such  as medical condition )  to breestfeed ,but not to breastfeed ur child will meanS it will be harder for you to care for your child without hipps of support..which in these days we dont have much (community,family),and even if you have it ,at night time you are alone, no one will stay awake to help you night after night after night ...

So when mother is not breastfeeding it is harder for her to take care of her baby,this is sientificly approved :prolactin (hormon that produce milk) ,is not just about producing milk,just like other hormones prolacting has effect on our emotions and perantal behaviour . All my life I couldn't understand the embivilant relationships myself and so many others experienced with their mothers , almost not authentic all the way ...If you need to fake the bonding from the begining, you going to have hard time and your baby ...I know you are so confused about what is right to do just because your mother didn't show you how, pluse hospital birth is a major part in it too (luck of support and over medicilazation ) and you not alone its growing ,there are more mother's who not breasfeed then breastfeed ...

we cant have it all go back to work 8-5 and be attentive and nurturing mothers. 

If you want to keep your life style the same just bare in mind ,it will better off to wait with the pregnancy till you are ready and aware of all the factors that can block your emotions from being a a good mother ,and all of us want to be good mothers ...

STOP THIS VICIOUS CYCLE , TRUST YOUR BODY, GET LOTS OF SUPPORT COZ IN HOSPITAL YOU WONT GET IT (BIRTH CENTRE =HOSPITALS!) AND ADUCATE YOURSELF B4 YOU ARE JUMPING TO THE POOL ....

MOTHER,

GOD BLESS US ALL,

Keep your opinion to yourself - - Mar 31st 2009

I dont really think it is your place to pressure someone into breastfeeding. It is a personal choice and to be honest it is people like you that make the decision harder.It is a very personal decision and it is hard enough to make all the decisions a mother needs to make without people like you. From now on when you have a thought that you think you should share...just dont.

Why wouldn't you at least TRY? - PWJ - Mar 27th 2009

I do not understand why a mother wouldn't at least give breastfeeding a try.  Given all of the benefits to both the mother and the child, what good reason is there to decide not to breastfeed (barring circumstances where the mother has a medical condition that requires medication that is bad for the baby and passes through breastmilk)?  Even if you only breastfed for a few weeks until you had to return to work, the baby would at least get a few weeks benefit.  Or if you breastfed part time and bottle fed part time, the baby would get the benefit part time.  I understand that some people try breastfeeding and have to stop because of various problems (bleeding nipples, for example), but it just seems cruel to me that a mother would decide from the outset not to breastfeed.  Why have a baby at all if you  aren't willing to sacrafice a little for them?

Judgemental people - ETM - Mar 24th 2009
It isn't for everyone and it's a very personal decision.  Personally, I'd rather people mind their own business and raise their children the best way they think and I'll do the same.

 Sam, you should be ashamed of yourself for suggesting new mothers that don't breastfeed are neglecting to do so because they are selfish.  There are many reasons that people choose to breastfeed and many reasons why some choose not to.

In the end, we all have to do what works best for us and our babies.  If breastfeeding causes nothing but frustration and hardship, then why not feed formula?

Just as I don't judge people that keep their children on the breast until they're old enough to eat steak, I also don't judge those that decide to formula feed.  So, think about other POV's before trying to forcefeed someone your own.

Too much pressure to breastfeed - - Mar 11th 2009

Kudos to all you moms that are breastfeeding and it's going well for you.  I've been breastfeeding my son since he was born but it's been nothing but a struggle since the very beginning.  My milk was slow coming in after a c-section and our baby had to be re-admitted into the hospital the same day we took him home due to severe dehydration, because I was told by the nurses at the hospital to just keep breastfeeding he'll be fine.  Yeah well, he almost wasn't.  He ended up in the hospital for 4 days on a saline I.V. just to get him properly hydrated again.  We have had to supplement him with formula since the very beginning and for a while I was fine with that.  Now that he's almost 4 months old, I'm slowly phasing out breastfeeding him as it no longer works for him or for me.  He screams through every feeding as he isn't getting enough so I have to use larger and larger amounts of formula to satisfy him.  And no I am choosing not to pump.  Tried it, hate it and it's not effective, not to mention that I would have to be pumping or feeding him every waking hour of my day in order to make that work.  I am being pressured by my partner to continue to breastfeed which is only adding to my stress.  So please, to all you dads out there, if your wife decides that breastfeeding just isn't working or it's just not for her, please don't add to her guilt and stress by not being supportive.  In the end, what matters is that your baby has a happy mom who gives him all the love and attention he needs instead of a weeping, stressed out mom who's falling apart at the seams. 

Ladies, do what works for you and your baby.  No one else has the right to make you feel guilty for being the best mom you can be no matter how you get there.

As nature intended - Sam - Mar 5th 2009

I can’t believe how many people on here are against breastfeeding. Is it the fact that in this day and age we have become so self centred that we aren’t willing to sacrifice ourselves for what we love so much, our children. It seems selfish to me that some women on here can’t be bothered to breast feed. Weather it be because of a lack of time, pain, or a false belief that something created in a chemical lab cam replicate and be better than something that has come about as part of our evolution over 1000s of years is stupid. If you don’t have the time because your so tied up in your job pump. If it hurts then deal with it you’re a big girl now, in time your body should get used to it. Not to mention that without the invention of formula “your easy way out” would you sooner let you baby starve and die rather than put up with some temporary pain in your life? Breasts were created for 1 main purpose, to feed and nurture babies. All other uses are secondary, if you don’t want to use your breasts to feed your child then you may as well have them removed.

The pressure - Christine - Jan 29th 2009

I felt pressured to breastfeed while still in the hospital after a traumatic birth experience of my preemie (who is a healthy 3 year old today). In fact, I came back to my hospital bed with a breast pump machine already parked beside it!  I ended up just lying to the hospital staff that I was planning to continue breast feeding just to get them off my case, but then I would go home and cry, being made to feel like a horrible mom for not breastfeeding.   I wonder if maybe this pressure has any link to the increasing rate of moms going into postpartum depression?  It just seems like yet another thing to make moms feel horrible.   

Once home, I didn't breastfeed, in fact I decided to do my own research as every hospital pamphlet seemed to only have one liners like "studies show breastfeeding is the best..." yet the "studies" were never referenced strangely enough.  Even more strange, despite my numerous inquiries to nurses, not a single nurse was able to direct me to or provide me with these elusive studies.  So I did some of my own research and I found medical studies about the levels of environmental toxins in breastmilk (apparantly since it comes from fat in the breasts that is where toxins such as mercury from fish or pesticides from our fruit are largely concentrated?), I also found some medical journals discussing how there may actually be a link between a mom having allergies or asthma and through her breastmilk passing those symptoms on to her baby threefold; I also found medical articles about how most of us have significant Vitamin D deficiencies and although this Vitamin is added to formulas it is severly depleted in breastmilk and at the same time as breastfeeding rates are going up so are the rates of Vitamin D deficient diseases like rickets in our children (coincidence?); I even read things where doctors are qualifying the blanket statements made such as "breastfeeding can reduce allergies..." to explain that it really only delays allergies since the child is not introduced to other foods when exlusively breastfed hence the pamphlets can say it may reduce allergies (a play on the wording I guess?)...the list goes on and on... 

The whole point is, I wonder if we should be questioning people and hospital staff who seem to take such a one-sided view, it is kind of scary and perhaps ignores some important concerns that we as mothers may want to consider.  Should we not be entitled to and fully informed of the entire picture and not just the one-sided "breast is best, breast is best" - like some kind of brainwashing mantra? 

On a more sad note, I also wish things like encouraging breastfeeding using the side-lying position would be re-thought, as a recent tragedy in my neighbourhood involved a woman who was exhausted (like any first time mom) who was breastfeeding her new baby in bed and fell asleep and suffocated the baby and unfortunately the baby passed away.  Maybe if she and other women did not feel such pressure to breastfeed, and were provided with the full facts, maybe this is another tragedy that could have been avoided similar to the posting below about a baby boy losing 20% of his weight as he was failing to get enough milk through breastfeeding. 

It would be good to have all the infomation to allow moms to make informed choices.

Hang-ups - Stephanie - Dec 14th 2008

Choosing to breastfeed or to not breastfeed has nothing to to with what is best for your baby, it has to do with what is best for you.

Its just funny how we humans will drink the milk from a pregnant cow, but when we are pregnant we won't give the milk to our own children it was specifically produced for. 

decisions - - Dec 11th 2008

I NEVER FELT PRESSURED BY FAMILY OR CLOSE FRIENDS ONLY PEOPLE WHO I WAS NEVER CLOSE WITH..BUT THESE ARE THE ONES WHO ALSO DECIDED TO SHARE THERE HORROR STORIES REGARDING LABOR.  I ALSO FELT VERY SUPPORTED IN THE HOSPITAL EXCEPT FOR ONE PERSON AND SHE DIDN'T MATTER TO ME.

 MY DAUGHTER WAS BOTTLE FED FOR ONE YEAR AND NEVER BECAME SICK AND STILL HAS NEVER HAD ANY REAL SERIOUS ILLNESS.  MY FRIENDS BOTH NURSED THERE CHILDREN AND THERE KIDS ARE ALWAYS SICK WITH A COLD OR SOMETHING.  I AGREE IT IS EASIER ON THERE STOMACH AND CHEAPER BUT LET'S NOT THINK THAT JUST BECAUSE THEY ARE BREASTFED IS NECESSARILY THE HEALTHIEST.  MY DAUGHTER IS PROOF OF THAT.  

I AM HAVING MY SECOND CHILD AND PLANNING ON BOTTLE FEEDING AS WELL..I SUPPORT ANY WOMAN WHO NURSES THERE CHILDREN I THINK IT IS GREAT IF YOU CAN OR WANT TO DO IT, BUT WOMEN SHOULD NOT FEEL PRESSURED BY SOCIETY TO NURSE THERE BABY JUST FEED YOUR BABY.

Dangers of breastfeeding - - Nov 4th 2008

I respect any mothers choice when it comes to breastfeeding, all I hope for is that they are able to make an informed decision.  Breastfeeding is forced upon first-time mothers, they are pressurised into trying, shamed when they decide against it and are denied the full story from the health professionals that are supposed to be on hand to help.

My wife gave birth to our boy 3 weeks ago, she was intent on exclusively breastfeeding - in accordance with the one-dimensional advice she was receiving.  Within 10 days our boy had lost 20% of his birth weight.  Best intentions coupled with great difficulty in judging how much milk he was receving via the breast led to him being re-admitted to hospital.  As first-time parents it is not easy to maintain an accurate eye on whether the weight of your baby is healthy - especially in light of the fact that babies lose upto 10% of their weight naturally after birth before putting it back on.

Mothers are pressurised, shamed and bullied into breastfeeding. Whilst I acknowledge the benefits of mother's milk it is very clear to me - and my wife - that the dangers of breastfeeding are just not properly communicated to new parents. 

Not sure what to think - Renata - Sep 17th 2008
Regarding the comment below mine titled "please!" I take offense to it. As hvaing a 3 year old whom I went back to work at 6 six week post partum after having a c-sec and breastfed him 10 months old, I take offense.  I became a stay at home mom when he was 2 got preggers again and am once again successfully breastfeeding my new son at almost 4 mos. So I get to see both worlds. Just because a mother works full time doesn't mean those are the only moms out there supporting formula and milk bottles. I mean kudos to all the women out there utilizing a "mother's room" at there work place. Let me tell you all - it's not easy being a fulltime working mom and breastfeeding. Between office politics of women who know what you are doing and being not so supportive - scheduling breaks if your boss is a jerk, staying healthy and not runned down- And kudos to all the stay at home moms out there who choose to formula feed. Gees, it's our choices as parents, and the last comment really urked me as if stay at home moms are some kind of idiots who have no clue of the world itself.

please!! - - Sep 11th 2008

Not only is it more important the way a child is brought up than how it is fed the first 6 months...it is also more important what a child is fed growing up that its first few months, with obesity levels at an all time high, and an expected 50% of children and 70% of adults are to be obese in 2050, I wish more money and time was spent on this issue than a mother's PERSONAL choice on how to feed their child initiallly..........Bottle feeding does just fine, as does Breast feeding, and breast milk is only as good as one's diet anyway. hospitals in the UK get extra monely each time breast feeding numbers go up, this has led to bad coersion techniques to get mothers to breast feed, intead of giving the right information and letting them choose. This article is refreshingly fair and no mother is expected to safrice their life for any amount of time, the economy needs working moms and bottle feeding is a life saver to those whom work and choose to procreate, and thank goodness working moms do hav kids as if not then the economy would be in a worst state!!!! I think Stay at home moms should take classes in economics, just to fully understand how the world keeps going!!! but hats off to those whom do breast feed, I'm just happy that formula feed exists as a safe , happy method for those whom choose not to breast feed.

I agree - Zandra - Aug 30th 2008

I agree with all the people saying - Lay off and Chill out!

BREASTMILK may be best but not breastfeeding. Abusing women for their choice or inability not to is wrong. I've had to sit by an watch my poor suffering sister nurse her baby, and it was terrible for both of them. She's still trying - and hating - breastfeeding, but has started to try and ween her onto bottles.

I won't be breastfeeding. At first it was a choice i'd made, but now I know I can't because of the medication I'm taking. If I were to stop taking it just so I could 'enjoy to wonders of breastfeeding', I would be a bad mother.

For all the ladies that can't or won't BF, I salute you. Sometimes we need to do what we need to do to be the best mothers we can be, and if that's bottle feeding, then so be it.

all that talk about sacrifise - Joanna G - Aug 23rd 2008

I read that comment below about how as a parent you are supposed to sacrifise everything for the child. First off, I have an issue with the word sacrifise. Golly, she makes it sound as if one has to give up their life for one's child. I think children enrich our lives, but we were here first and children need to fit into our lives as well. As a parent you make choices, hopefully sensible ones. But alas we are all different and lead different lives and therefore one rule does not fit all. Yes breast feeding is fantastic if a mother chooses to do so, but lets not guilt non-breast feeding mothers into it ,by portraying them as some heartless selfish child hating monsters. I believe it is a personal choice. My kid was not breast fed, but is the perfect weight, height and, knock on wood, health. She is also in the gifted program at her school, so mentally she apparently did not suffer either. By all means if one wants to breast feed, please do, but stop judging mothers that don't.

other issues arise - jane - Jul 30th 2008

Sore nips can also be caused by infection and over-sensitivity.  BFing is not easy for everyone, some experience pain even with proper latch.  Multiple Infections of breast and lack of sleep do not help the situation.  Be empathetic to the mothers that wanted so dearly to nurse, but were brought down by infection and pain.  It is hard enough adjusting to motherhood.  Herbs, rx, pumping, lact. consults, doctor visits...enough already.  It just is not working, and accept that, allow those of us who truly tried to heal.  It is disheartening to hear the overzealous successful bfers to say "well did you try x, did you nurse on demand, well you should, etc etc"  We did breastfeed, just not as long as desired.   Best wishes to the mamas that did make it even if it was one week, one month, or one year. 

Caaaalm doowwwnnn - - Jul 25th 2008

I think you should do whatever is in your heart, I am 3 months pregnant and right now I don't think I will breast feed. I'll probably just use a breast pump and if that doesn't work I'll use formula if someone doesn't agree with that then too bad I'm doing what I think is best for me and my baby. Everyone is different and breastfeeding isnt for everyone. We all love our children as much as the next person even if we don't all make the same decisions.

CHILL OUT!!! - - Jul 10th 2008

i think that you should choose your own way and i don't know why people have to argue about it when the answer is right in front of you!! Do your own thing. that is whats best for you and your baby!!!!

please there is no need to fight over this issue.

Respect - - Jun 21st 2008

I have to agree. I was not breast fed and I graduated with honors, not to mention was a varsity athlete. So physically and mentally I did very well. I believe that it is a choice and it should be respected as such.

Don't be silly - - Jun 20th 2008

I wasn't breastfed and I don't have allergies and certainly have done well later in life. Just tossing that out there.

Bottom line... - - Apr 16th 2008

Bottom line is that parenting is about sacrifice. You sacrifice your body when you become pregnant, and any parent should be willing to sacrifice their life for their child. A mother should sacrifice her sleep for her young infant in order to breastfeed, she should sacrifice the eating restrictions (she did it while she was pregnant...she can do it for another 12 months while breastfeeding), she can sacrifice sore nipples and sex with her partner (the partner can sacrifice sex as for a little longer as well), you can sacrifice time spent at your job...what's more important than your child? To me, bottle feeding is a path, a trend in mothering that I did not wish to take. It's a path leading to doing what's easy and what's more convenient, rather than what is right. I'm no saint, I'm no martyr, but I will do what ever it takes for my child. I will do whatever I humanly can...and a little bit more. These choices are not easy, and breastfeeding is one of the first of many hard choices that lay ahead.

'To Breastfeed or not to Breastfeed' - Richard - Mar 11th 2008
To Expecting mom - is there a reason that you cannot breast pump and have a partner / nanny / feed your baby? You could even do it yourself. Babies that are fed on breastmilk, from the nipple or not, do better later in life, even after adjusting for social and educational differences. They are also less susceptible to stomach upsets, and are less likely to develop eczema.

Working moms - Expecting mom - Feb 23rd 2008

People need to stay out of others' lives and worry about themselves.  Half of these women that are giving other mothers hell about not breastfeeding don't WORK!  For the ones of you that do work AND breastfeed, congratulations BUT I am 4 months pregnant..i work 45 hours a week at a very, very stressful job and I will not be breastfeeding because of it.  So for the "housewife" moms out there or the moms that can "take off work" until their baby reaches a certain age, I'm happy for you...that's great BUT don't give other women that work a full time job hell because they can't do the same things you are able to do...

Thanks! 

To the above - patricia Toste - Feb 3rd 2008
To the above comment.  It sounds like your not seeing it both ways.  The best thing about botlle-feeding and breast-feeding is that it's a choice.  Let it be a choice without someone giving them a guilt trip.  

Bottle vs. Breast - Hannah's Mom - Jan 17th 2008

Thank you to the nursing mom's who said that the choice of bottle vs. breast was a personal one and that how you raise your baby is more important than how you feed them.  Formula is strictly regulated by the FDA, and if it was truly as bad for babies as some breast-feeding advocates say, why would it even be on the market?  I bottlefed my baby due to my battles with post partum adjustment disorder (I think my attempts to nurse and the pressure I felt to nurse may have exacerbated my condition), and she is currently a happy, healthy, intelligent 2.5-year old.

All of the above - ann - Nov 4th 2007

I think that everyone needs to calm down and realise that not everyone is the same and eash individual persons wishes should be respected.

I am 4 months pregnant and do not want to breast feed at the moment but may change my mind. Evey mother has a right to do what they feel is best for them and their baby

why - kellyanne - Nov 2nd 2007
why do people not to breestfeed i'm 14 and i have a kid i choose to breastfeed and that is the best thing for a baby

tried both - - Oct 23rd 2007
First baby I was not comfortable breastfeeding.....wonderful first baby in every way and hardly any illness, maybe two ear infections before age 3. Second baby, wanted to try breastfeeding...hung in there for ONLY 2 months...all she did was fall asleep after one side and fed every 2 hours and I was up all night every night every 2 hours for 2 months with another beautiful 3 year old to take care of...did NOT work for our family, as soon a she went to a bottle everyone had a normal night slepp and I became the mommy I always was to our 3 year old again. Both these daughters were allergy free,healthy and completely a joy to me whether breast fed or bottle fed. Try it and take it or leave it but don't assume it is for everyone.

i am doing my own thing - - Sep 24th 2007
I have no intention of breastfeeding. I understand that "breast is best," but for my child, only "second best" will do! And it's "good enough!" What does it really mean if your kid has an extra 4 IQ points. I was not breast fed, my husband was not breastfed, and breastfeeding to us, as perfectly healthy people, is overrated. I don't appreciate people in my business, trying to lay a guilt trip on me. Are you perfect in every way? I'm sure you're not. Make you own decisions and live with your own repurcussions.

many reasons - - Mar 8th 2007
As to the person above, I think it's unfair ofyou to catagorize women. I've known quite a few who do have sore nipples even though they'v consulted lactation consultants, etc. There are many reasons for sore nipples. Don't make a mother feel like her baby isn't latching on properly simply b/c of sore nipples.

reply to previous comment - - Feb 21st 2007
Breastfeeding is best, but bottle feeding is not harmful in any way. I breastfed my son because it worked for us as a family. If it didn't, I would have given him formula. Why do you feel the compelling need to romanticize breastfeeding? Bottom line: its physically and mentally exhausting simply to care for a newborn baby. Many women are not emotionally equipped to handle the stress of a newborn baby requiring them for food up to ten times a day, and forcing themselves to do so will only cause them to resent their baby and miss out on the many joys a child brings. One thing I've learned as a parent of a now three-year-old is to chill out and do what works best for you. If bottle feeding helps you feel less stressed out, you'll be a better parent because of it. Same applies to working or staying home or letting the baby sleep in your bed, or any of the other hotly debated topics in parenting. A happy parent will raise happy kids.

- - Feb 3rd 2007
Wow, anger issues?!?!?

reply to other comment.... - - Oct 19th 2006
I find that some all for breastfeeding parents go a bit too far in the push to breastfeed. As a mother myself who did breastfeed exclusivly to the best of my own human ability it is not easy for all mothers. I stuck with my desision for 11 months and struggled everyday for the whole time. I also was having post partum depression, anxiety and other issues I still deal with. I think that mothers need support most in that first year they don't need the added pressure to be made to feel like they are failing if they chose not to breastfeed. Some mom's can't because they are too tired and that is ok. What matters is that they do there best in what ever way that is. I was given formula as a baby and I'm ok, so it really depends on the situation that the mom is going through. I wonder sometimes if I had stopped breastfeeding to get treatment for my depression early if I would not still be struggling now with it. Yes I did the best for my son but in that choice gave up my own possible remission and now 4 years later I still deal with this. If I do have more children I would again hope to breastfeed for a year but knowing myself and my limits are best and that is ok, moms really need that support more then they need to be pushed to feel like they fail if they don't follow all the recomondations. I gave in to the occasional formula feeding because if I didn't mabe I would not have made it through. What is worse? One peaceful night sleep vs. a extreamly worn out mom. Reality on this needs to be looked at.....MOMS do what is best for your situation. You are the best for making the right choice for YOU!!! take care....

I disagree with this advice - - Oct 16th 2006

"Because breast milk is easier to digest, breastfed babies tend to require more feedings. Bottle-fed babies tend to remain fuller for longer periods, and therefore can go longer between feedings." BOTTLE-FED BABIES REMAIN FULLER LONGER BECAUSE THEIR BODIES CAN'T DIGEST FORMULA! WHEN DID IT BECOME AN INCONVENIENCE TO BREASTFEED A BABY?!?

"Bottle feeding makes it easier for you to see how much your baby is eating. When breastfeeding, a woman has to guess how much milk her baby is getting." BOTTLE FEEDING MAKES IT EASIER TO OVERFEED YOUR BABY- IF A DR TELLS A MOTHER HER BABY SHOULD DRINK 3OZ. AT EACH FEEDING, AND HER BABY ONLY DRINKS 2OZ. SHE MAY FORCE THE LAST OUNCE. THIS IS JUST THE BEGINNING OF A HUGE PROBLEM... P.S. AS AN EXCLUSIVELY BREASTFEEDING MOTHER I NEVER HAD TO GUESS HOW MUCH MY DAUGHTER WAS GETTING- SHE SHOWED ME IN HER DIAPERS- WHICH DIDN'T SMELL AS BAD AS THEY WOULD HAVE IF SHE WAS DRINKING ARTIFICIAL BABY MILK!

"The foods you eat and the medications you take while breastfeeding can enter your baby's system through your milk. Therefore, women often have to avoid certain foods, drinks and medications that might have a negative effect on the baby throughout the entire period of breastfeeding. If you choose to bottle feed, you do not have to worry about these restrictions." SOME BABIES MAY HAVE REACTIONS TO A FEW FOODS, BUT MOST OF THE TIME ALL FOODS IN MODERATION ARE OK. AND MOST PRESCRIPTIONS ARE OK TO TAKE WHILE BREASTFEEDING (TALK TO YOUR DR OF COURSE)

"Breastfeeding can lead to sore nipples and leaky breasts, which in turn can affect your sex life. This is not a problem for women who bottle feed." BREASTFEEDING DOES NOT LEAD TO SORE NIPPLES- IMPROPER POSITIONING OF THE BABY ON THE BREAST CAN LEAD TO SORE NIPPLES. SOME WOMEN LEAK MILK DURING THE EARLY MONTHS, SOME DO NOT. SO WHAT IF YOUR BREASTS LEAK A LITTLE? YOU ARE DOING THE BEST FOR YOUR BABY AND A GOOD HUSBAND/PARTER KNOWS THAT!

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