pregnancy and Birthing Q&A

is breast feeding really better than bottle feeding?


     Of course, its not always that simple, especially for the single mom. Life gets busy, stress, special diets, lack of sleep, all of this can interfere with the nursing relationship and make breast feeding a challenge.
     What I recommend for the single mom is to breast feed as much as you can for as long as you can, but don't feel bad about having to supplement with formula when you really have to.
     It is true that breast milk is nutritionally far superior to any formula on the market (its so good for you, in fact, that I considered making a habit of drinking my own), and that the attachment formed during nursing is hard to achieve when bottle feeding. Nursing reduces your chances of developing post partum depression, and of women who do suffer from PPD, those who nurse have shorter and much less sever bouts of it. Nursing can help some women lose the baby weight, and even reduces your chances of developing breast cancer later in life.
     I very much loved nursing my son, it was my favorite part of being a mom the first year. I loved our special cuddle time, and so did he. But I did have to supplement with formula while I was at work. I just couldn't pump enough during the day to feed him. The pump doesn't remove as much milk from the breast as a baby does and for me, my body adjusted its self to produce less milk while I was away from my baby (as some women's bodies will do, since breast milk is produced on a supply and demand basis). I made up for it by nursing all night (we bed shared, so this was fairly easy) and all day on the weekends. My son grew up healthy and happy, and we were able to continue nursing until he was two, when he gradually self weaned.
     I recommend trying to keep nursing, at least a little, for at least a year. But some women can't make it that long, and that's okay. Some breast milk is better than none, what's important is that you give it a try for as long as you can. If you can manage to breast feed exclusively for the first six months, and continue to nurse while supplementing with solid foods for the rest of the first year and as far beyond that as you desire, good for you! That's the gold standard of nursing your baby.


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