Breastfeeding is a natural way to feed a baby but formula is another option.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends “exclusive breastfeeding for about the first six months of a baby's life.”
AAP reports that breastfed babies have less risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) and obesity.
“..choosing to breastfeed should be considered an investment in the short- and long-term health of the infant, rather than a lifestyle choice,” says the AAP.
For some moms, breastfeeding comes easily. But for other moms, it can be a challenge, one that sometimes cannot be sustained. Some moms simply do not have enough milk. Other moms experience pain or have other health issues that create a problem.
My son ended up in the neonatal intensive care unit days after he was born because he was dehydrated. Despite my best efforts, my body was not producing enough milk for him. He was given formula to supplement the milk I was giving to him. I was lucky enough that my milk production caught up and we were able to discontinue the formula not long after taking him home from the hospital, but this was not the end of our breastfeeding challenges.
My son and I never fell into a comfortable feeding routine as it became more and more painful for me to feed him. As the weeks went by, the pain became so intense that it was all I could do not to scream every time I fed my son. I went to my OBGYN. I went to our pediatrician, and I had a private lactation consultant come to our home.
Finally, I was referred to a pediatrician who specializes in breastfeeding issues. She diagnosed my son as being tongue tied and cut his frenulum. That was the end of that issue. I was lucky to have found someone to correctly diagnose and treat the issue we were having. Every mother is not so lucky.
I’m glad that through nursing and pumping, I was able to provide my son with breastmilk for the first year of his life.
I am not alone in the issues I faced, but I was lucky to have been able to resolve them. Not every mother is so lucky and not every issue can be overcome before a mother gives up or dries up.
And with or without these issues, breastfeeding is a time-consuming labor of love. It takes over your body in many ways thsoe who have not done it can never understand, and it is not for everyone.
Formula can be an alternative.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data from a survey of infants born in 2006 found that 73.9 percent were breastfed and 43.4 percent were still breastfeeding at 6 months.
How did you make your decision to breastfeed or to use formula? What obstacles did you encounter and what help did you find?