For most moms, breastfeeding is a badge of honor. It’s as if you’re showing the world that you’re doing what’s best for your child by giving her or him the essential nutrients and enzymes that babies need for rapid growth and development.
That doesn’t mean that breastfeeding is for everyone, though. Some mothers work or have an irregular schedule that prevents them from being available for their child on an ongoing basis. Others are unable to breastfeed due to medical factors.
Either way, you shouldn’t have to feel guilty about the way you feed your baby. That won’t get you anywhere.
The Choice Is Yours
There are several factors that influence the choice to breast or bottle-feed a baby. The principle reason connects to the fact that it’s the healthiest form of food for most babies.
A mom’s breast milk contains vital antibodies from the mother’s immune system that so far, scientists have not been able to engineer. It’s great for boosting their metabolism, keeping them healthy, and reducing their chances of having allergies, constipation, or diarrhea.
Another reason many mothers choose to stick with breast milk is the cost. It’s significantly cheaper to breastfeed than to purchase formula, even for women who purchase an expensive breast pump.
Moms who choose breastfeeding can expect to save an average of $400 on formula in just the first year. However, there are other a mom might choose not to breastfeed, such as:
• Low Supply of Milk: Though this is fairly rare, some mothers have a low milk supply, which can be brought on by stress, anxiety, or external factors such as breast reduction surgery in the past. Trying to feed a baby with a low milk supply is extremely dangerous to the infant’s health, and it can cause pain and soreness for you.
• Autoimmune Diseases and Active Illnesses: Mothers that have been infected with HIV or other autoimmune diseases may be advised by medical professionals not to breastfeed in order to protect the baby from contracting the illness. If the mother has an infection or active illness such as tuberculosis, she should also avoid breastfeeding.
• Lifestyle Choices: Moms who work or spend a lot of time on the go may find that breastfeeding takes up too much time and serves as an insurmountable to their professional routine. In this case, formula may be preferable to get the baby on a consistent feeding schedule.
• Hormones: For some women, hormones and lack of sleep associated with breastfeeding can result in serious emotional illnesses, including post-partum depression, which can damage the relationship between mother and baby. If that’s the case, mothers can benefit from discontinuing breastfeeding and switching to formula.
• Improper Latching at Birth: Certain babies don’t learn to adequately latch onto the breast at birth, which disables them from eating that way. For babies that have this problem, bottles are often a better alternative.
Nothing to Feel Guilty Over
When you’re a new mom, it’s important to recognize that choosing not to breastfeed is nothing to feel guilty about, particularly if you choose to avoid doing it for health reasons. Though there are options for getting breastfeeding support and help, sometimes there’s nothing to be done.
Ultimately, if you’re honestly choosing to do what’s best for your baby, there’s nothing to feel guilty about.