Deciding whether or not to breastfeed your new baby can be one of the most difficult decisions to make as a new mom.
For many women, the thought of breastfeeding makes them cringe; for others, they wouldn’t have it any other way. The experts at Women & Infants Hospital say that the most important thing to remember is that it is okay no matter what you decide.
There is no doubt that there are benefits to breastfeeding. Breast milk in the first six months can protect your baby – breast milk is rich in nutrients and antibodies which help your baby digest easier and fight disease, breastfeeding can also lower the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). There are many benefits for mom, too, such as helping her bond with her baby, saving money, and boosting her health too, experts say.
Despite the advantages of breastfeeding, there are many reasons – work obligations, family stressors, illness or, on rare occasions, inability to make milk- some mothers choose to formula feed. Sometimes, moms who decide to give formula can feel alienated and guilty about not breastfeeding.
“It is important for a new mom to realize that we have not eliminated all the barriers to breastfeeding that may contribute to her inability to feed her child at the breast,” says Nancy Chandley-Adams, NCA RN BSN, IBCLC, a lactation consultant at Women & Infants Hospital. “The Warm Line nurses try to help parents realize that the choices they make for their families are based on their individual circumstances. No one else is facing the same life stressors, so no one else can make the decision for them.”
The important thing to remember is that you are not alone and there are plenty of resources to help you if you decide to formula feed your baby. Breastfeeding is only one piece of the parenting puzzle. Parents need to savor the time they have with their baby, snuggle with skin-to-skin care, and relish the celebration as the extended family welcomes the littlest new member. Quickly, the feeding method becomes less and less important, as this new being begins to show his/her personality and temperament.