Photo from Pixabay.com
It seems like breastfeeding is all the rage these days when it comes to parenting. In fact, we’re told that “breast is best”. I do love breastfeeding. I also love bottles and formula.
I have breastfed AND bottle-fed both of my boys, and it has worked out stupendously for our family.
Here’s why I love breastfeeding:
It’s a special, snuggly experience.
I love the warm snuggles that come with nursing my babies.
It’s cheap and convenient! *
Breastfeeding is free! *It’s convenient because a mom can nurse her baby anytime, anywhere. But I don’t find it convenient in every way (like when I want to go somewhere for a few hours and have to worry about the baby getting fed in my absence).
When you can do it successfully, it can feel good.
If you’re a new mom, you might not believe me when I say this one, because it can definitely hurt (a lot sometimes!) at first. But if you and your baby get it down, it does feel good; breastfeeding releases the hormone oxytocin, among others. (Oxytocin is a hormone that serves many different purposes! 🙂 )
I like not having to worry about calories.
There’s a lot of pressure to lose the baby weight after having a baby. I’ve enjoyed a hearty appetite during the initial postpartum period with both of my boys, because breastfeeding burns a lot of calories! While I’m breastfeeding, I feel like I don’t have to think very much about losing my baby weight.
As I mentioned, I’m also pro-formula/bottle feeding. Both of my babies have needed supplementation, so I am grateful for formula. Here are the reasons I love it, and the concept of bottle feeding:
It allows the daddy (and others) to help feed the baby.
Each time my babies have started taking bottles, I feel like my whole world opens up! With bottles, I’m not the only one who is capable of feeding the baby!
In my experience, my babies sleep better overall when they have bottles.
Both of my boys started sleeping better at night when we started supplementing with formula. I don’t know much about the science behind this, but I’ve heard several times that breast milk is digested more quickly than formula, which could explain why some babies (like mine) sleep longer with formula in their tummies- whether that formula is given along with breast milk or given on its own.
It frees me up to exercise more.
When my babies start breastfeeding less, I have more energy and time to exercise. I know not all women feel this way, but while I’m nursing, my body feels a little awkward doing intense exercise. (Let’s just say “the girls” aren’t up for a lot of running and jumping around… ;). ) I’m not sure why I feel like I have more energy to exercise when I’m breastfeeding less… Maybe it’s associated with getting more sleep? Granted, I am able to work out a little bit while nursing- just not the same way as when I’m not nursing. Again, some women don’t experience these while breastfeeding- this is just my experience with exercise/breastfeeding.
I’m able to see how much my babies are eating, and I have more confidence that they’re getting full.
One difficult thing about nursing is that you can’t tell how much your baby is eating unless you pump. (Even then, pumping isn’t always a totally accurate way determine how much milk you’re producing.) With bottles and/or formula, I can keep track of the number of ounces my baby is taking in.
The bottom line is that I am pro-breastfeeding and pro-formula. I’m grateful that I’ve been able to do both, and that they have both worked for my babies and for our family.
I know that feeding a baby can cause a lot of anxiety for parents. If I could give some piece of advice to any new mom (or dad), this is what it would be: Trust your instincts, and remember that the most important thing is for your baby to be well-fed. Sometimes I think we can get so caught up in what other people think, in our goals that we have for our babies, etc. that we forget to relax and let our instincts take over. Some women find breastfeeding fairly easy. I don’t. I’m glad that I’ve been able to do it, but it hasn’t been easy for me. Parenting is very personal, and I believe parents have a special gift to understand what is best for their individual, unique children. Ultimately, you should strive to give your baby the most loving affection and attention you can give him or her. Your baby loves you unconditionally; don’t be too hard on yourself. Finally, treasure the precious time you have with your baby, because they grow up REALLY fast! (I’m feeling right now that I need to slow down more and enjoy my sweet boys in the special stages they’re in… they truly do grow so quickly! I wish I could soak every little moment in and never forget them!)
You’re doing great, mamas and daddies! Keep up the good work!