Every new mom is faced with the question of whether or not she should breastfeed her baby. You may be surprised to hear the answer is not always the same.
Some people will tell you that “breast is best” or breastfeeding is absolutely always the best thing to do, but, the truth is, you really need to look at your own situation and decide what is best for you and your little one.
Try breastfeeding for a couple days and see how your baby does.
I’ve had three boys and breastfeeding only worked out for me on my last one. Believe me, I tried on my other two. I was determined to breastfeed both of them but, both times I had to stop for different reasons.
To read about why it didn’t work out and reasons you may not want to breastfeed, see my post here.
Because I was unable to breastfeed my first two sons, I was pretty anxious about it the third time around. Though I hadn’t yet had a good experience when it came to breastfeeding, I wanted to try it again and see how my youngest son did with it.
The difference was like night and day. My baby latched on perfectly, he ate great at every feeding, and it was clear he was getting more than enough to eat. I finally got to feel what breastfeeding should be like.
I breastfed my youngest son until he was almost six months old and it was definitely the best thing for both of us just as much as my decision not to breastfeed my first two sons for more than a couple weeks was also the best for them.
With that said, let’s look at some of the pros and cons of breastfeeding.
Pros of Breastfeeding
No preparation time is necessary before feeding your baby.
One thing I love about breastfeeding is that it’s very convenient. When it’s time to feed your baby you just have to pick up your baby and feed him/her. If you’re pumping or using formula, you need to prepare the bottle, warm it up, and do whatever else your baby needs before his bottle is ready to eat. Sometimes this takes as little as five minutes, other times it’s longer.
I know five minutes isn’t long, but when you have a hungry baby that is ready to eat, every minute feels like ten.
If you aren’t nursing and you need to go somewhere you also have to pack everything you need to feed your baby every time you leave the house. You need bottles, nipples, milk, and some way to warm up the bottle as most babies won’t eat it if it’s cold.
It’s much more convenient to be able to just pull out a blanket and feed your baby regardless of where you are.
It Can Help to Bring You Closer to Your Baby and Your Baby Closer to You
Breastfeeding actually does quite a bit to help you form a close, special bond with your baby that’ll be there for years to come. I’m not saying that bond won’t be created if you don’t breastfeed just that it is one great way to establish it.
I didn’t really get to breastfeed my first two sons but my third I breastfed for months. As my older two grew, neither liked to be held or sit on my lap for more than a couple minutes at a time. My youngest, on the other hand will still sit on my lap for hours if I let him.
He likes to be close to me. My other boys are very close to me in other ways but it’s been interesting to see the differences in each of them.
In Most Cases, Breastmilk is the Healthiest thing for Your Baby
One of the most important decisions you’ll make as a mom is what to feed your baby. This decision will determine if your baby thrives and grows. It’ll determine how healthy he or she is for years to come.
Our bodies are made to provide the very best nutrition our little ones can get and unless your baby is failing to thrive on your milk, little else is needed for the first couple months.
Breastfeeding Can Help You Lose the Baby Weight
One thing most new moms worry about is if they’ll be able to lose the baby weigh and how long it’ll take.
Breastfeeding is a great way to help you get started. It takes a lot of work for your body to keep up a milk supply to feed your baby and to do so, it burns a lot of calories.
I noticed myself that the one time I consistently breastfed my baby, I got back to my starting weight much quicker.
Cons of Breastfeeding
It’s Difficult to Leave Your Baby with Anybody If You Have Errands/Appointments
When you’re breastfeeding, your baby needs to eat every 2-3 hours. Unless you have a pump as well and your baby is happy to take a bottle, you can’t leave him/her at all unless it’s timed in between feedings and you know you’ll be back before it’s time for their next feeding.
Your whole schedule revolves around that feeding time and you have to be the one to do it. Regardless of what comes up, you have to be with your baby or he/she will be unable to eat.
For this reason, I always recommend breastfeeding moms get a good quality pump that they can use to pump if something were to come up and they have to leave their baby for a couple hours.
With my last son, I rarely used my pump. I probably only used it twice a week, but having it when I needed it helped me to be able to take care of my son and keep him on his schedule. When things came up, I could leave him and a bottle with a friend or parent and know that he would be able to eat.
It’s Hard to Know How Much Your Baby is Eating
Though I love breastfeeding, it’s frustrating at times not knowing how much your son or daughter is eating.
If you’re baby was born at a lower birth weight or is failing to thrive, your doctor may recommend that you track how much he/she is eating at every feeding. With breastfeeding this is almost impossible.
There are scales you can buy that are sensitive enough to tell you exactly how much your baby ate, but they’re usually very expensive and not really an option for most families.
It’s extremely critical that you make sure your baby is getting enough to eat. There have been cases in which newborns have died of dehydration because they were being breastfed and their mothers didn’t realize they weren’t getting much, if anything to eat.
If there’s any question in your mind, it’s best to follow up every session with a bottle until you know without a doubt that your baby is getting enough to eat.
It Can Take Awhile to Feed Your Baby
Some babies are very slow eaters. It can take anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour to feed your baby. If you’re breastfeeding, you have to spend the entire time they’re eating sitting down doing nothing else.
It’s nice to sit down and relax with your baby while he/she eats but, doing so for an hour every two-three hours for however long you choose to breastfeed can be hard, especially if you’ve got other young children at home with you.
What do you think of these pros and cons of breastfeeding? Are there any others you think should be added? Let me know by leaving a comment below!