The decision to breastfeed is a personal matter, but the decision may draw strong opinions from your family and friends. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) strongly recommend breastfeeding exclusively for the first 6 months of your baby’s life. However, the decision to breastfeed is entirely up to you. Before making a decision, here are some of the pros and cons of breastfeeding.
What are the Benefits of Breastfeeding for the Baby?
Breast milk is rich in antibodies and fatty acids and is the ideal food for a baby. More importantly, something interesting and truly special happens during breastfeeding. The baby’s saliva interacts with the nipple of the mother, actually communicating through the baby’s backwash what nutrients the baby may need. This amazing “body conversation” can prevent a host of potential health issues, including ear infections, necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC), colds, sudden infant death syndrome as well as various stomach issues and infections.
What are the Benefits of Breastfeeding for the Mother?
While there are many items that benefit the baby when breastfeeding, it can positively impact the mother as well. Breastfeeding can reduce the mother’s risk of type 2 diabetes, ovarian cancer, breast cancer as well as other health issues.
Breastfeeding also has many practical benefits including saving time and money on bottle related tasks like buying and measuring formula or sterilizing nipples. It can help with losing pregnancy weight as breastfeeding burns calories. However, one of the most important benefits is the personal time and attention given to your newborn. Breastfeeding strengthens your relationship and provides a relaxing, peaceful event to share with your baby.
Are There Drawbacks to Breastfeeding?
One of the most common complaints with breastfeeding is that the adjustment period can be a little rough, especially after you just gave birth. The first 3 to 4 weeks of breastfeeding can leave you with sore or dry, cracked nipples, reduction of autonomy and it can be mentally taxing trying to identify if you are producing enough milk. As a breastfeeding mother, you are at the whim of your baby’s needs. You must be available for them and, if you are putting your breast milk in a bottle, you still need to potentially deal with breastfeeding in public. It can be an uncomfortable experience for some, especially first-time mothers.
Breastfeeding strengthens your relationship and provides a relaxing, peaceful event to share with your baby.
Breastfeeding is Your Decision
While many top health authorities, such as the ACOG and AAP, strongly suggest breastfeeding, the choice is ultimately yours. If you are still on the fence and need to talk with someone about your choice, it’s always good to contact your OBGYN.
If you are expecting and want to discuss breastfeeding with an OB-GYN, Christopher Quinsey, MD, has delivered over 3,600 newborns over the past 20 years in Central Florida. He and his friendly, attentive staff is available to walk you through any questions you may have about your health or your pregnancy.
*This blog is for general informational purposes only. Christopher K. Quinsey MD, P.A. does not distribute medical advice through this blog. As such, this blog does not constitute a patient-client relationship between the reader and Christopher K. Quinsey MD, P.A.