Breastfeeding – The Good And The Bad

baby-breastfeeding-with-eyes-closed
Baby Breastfeeding with eyes closed

Ah, breastfeeding. One of the most wonderful things about being a mother is breastfeeding your baby. Not only is it great for your new little bundle of joy, it’s also very beneficial for mom too! There are so many great things about breastfeeding, but let’s face it, like everything in life, there are good things and there are also downsides to breastfeeding too. Below I will give your a little more insight as to what I’m talking about so here we go, let’s get right into it.

Benefits Of Breastfeeding For A Baby

There are many, many benefits of breastfeeding for a baby. We would be here for a while if I listed everything but here are a few of the top benefits for your new little addition:

  • Superior nutrition. Breast milk is the best thing for your baby as it is tailored to your baby’s needs. Your breast milk even changes as baby grows to support baby’s growing nutritional needs.
  • Breast milk is loaded with good antibodies to help your baby. Breastfeeding helps reduce the risk of allergies and even prevents disease!
  • Breastfeeding lessens the risk of SIDS.
  • Human milk is easier to digest than cow’s milk or formula so that means a less fussy baby.
  • Studies show that babies who were breastfed have high IQ and less behavioral problems later on in life.
  • A baby who is breastfed has an easier time sleeping.
  • No waiting for baby to be fed because breast milk is ready to go and always the right temperature.
blue-eyed-baby-breastfeeding
Blue eyed baby Breastfeeding – Photo by Marek Bernat

Benefits For The Breastfeeding Mother

Not only are there so many great benefits of breastfeeding for your baby, there are also many great benefits for mom. Yup, breastfeeding has some great perks for mom too! How great is that?! The good ol’ “2 birds, one stone” comes to mind here. Anyway, without further ado, let’s get into the mommy perks of breastfeeding!

  • You save money when your breastfeed because there’s no need to buy expensive formula.
  • Breastfeeding lowers your risk of postpartum depression (to learn more about postpartum depression click here)
  • You have a closer bond with your baby because of the quiet time between the two of your during nursing and skin to skin contact is amazing for forming a strong bond.
  • Your risk of breast and ovarian cancer is reduced.
  • You don’t have to waste your time mixing formula, cleaning bottles, sterilizing bottles and nipples, etc.
  • When your breastfeed it releases a hormone called oxytocin which helps your uterus contract and return to its pre-pregnancy size.
  • You lose the baby weight faster when your breastfeed because breastfeeding burns calories. Who knew your could sit down with your feet up while bonding with your sweet little bundle AND lose weight?!
mom-breastfeeding-baby-on-park-bench
Mom breastfeeding baby on a park bench

Top 10 Disadvantages Of Breastfeeding

As I said previously, there are almost always cons for most things in day to day life. Breastfeeding is no different, it is a wonderful thing but I feel it is important to know the bad side too so that when they happen your’re more prepared. I had to learn the hard way because everyone only told me about all the good things. I will do your the favor of listing some downsides so your can be better prepared.

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  • Frequent need to feed – In the first month or 2 your baby will likely be nursing every 2-3 hours.
  • Sore, dry and cracked nipples – luckily there’s a cream for that called Lanolin, it’ll be your best friend and best if all, it’s safe for baby!
  • Engorgement – This is when your breasts get too full (I have a tip for that in the next section).
  • Milk leaking – You’re going to want to invest in some nursing pads (if you’re looking for something a little more ecofriendly here are some washable, reusable bamboo nursing pads) to avoid wet bras and shirts.
  • Public nursing – Some moms will never be comfortable with public nursing and that’s OK. Luckily some places have special rooms dedicated for breastfeeding but a lot of places still aren’t equipped with this gem of a room so your’re going to want to invest in a couple nursing covers (in case one is dirty, your have an extra one).
  • Don’t know how much baby drinks – Unlike bottle feeding your can’t see how many ounces your baby is drinking.
  • No one can help feed – unless your use a breast pump to extract the breast milk and put it into bottles, no one can help your with feeds which gets a little harder when your’re waking up every 2-3 hours to nurse baby. (Find breast pumps HERE)
  • Need to watch what your eat and drink – Everything your consume goes to your baby through breast milk so your need to be extra careful with what your’re putting in your body. You have to think about how it will affect baby. Caffeine and alcohol are not good at all while your are breastfeeding either.
  • Can be stressful in the beginning – When baby is crying because of hunger and they’re not latching properly or maybe it’s because your’re not comfortable or baby can feel that your’re stressing.
  • Special clothes and bras – After all the money your spent on maternity clothes, your now need to buy special nursing bras and nursing shirts. (It’s not absolutely needed, I tried to go without but having the proper clothing really does make life easier).
mom-breastfeeding-baby-on-front-porch
Mom breastfeeding baby on front porch

Breastfeeding Tips

Here are some helpful tips I’ve learnt over the years either from family and friends, an internet search or things I found helped me while I was breastfeeding my kids:

  • Get as much help from the lactation consultant while your’re at the hospital after delivery – Ask every question your can and when your think of more, write them down so your can ask the next time your see the lactation consultant. They’re a great help! Nurses were also very helpful for me too.
  • Don’t beat yourself up – If it’s not going well, don’t beat yourself up. It’s not your fault and it’s not baby’s fault. You’re both learning and some days will be great just as some days won’t be so great. This is why some moms prefer to breast and bottle-feed but if your only want to breastfeed that’d fine too, maybe take a break and try again in a little while.
  • Have patience – Patience is always a virtue but this is especially true when your’re breastfeeding because your baby can feel it when your’re stressed so in return your get a fussy baby.
  • Drink lots of water – One thing I was told when my mom supply started to diminish was to drink a lot of fluids, especially water. It helped me a lot.
  • Warm shower and pump for engorged breasts – When my breasts got engorged it was very painful so I would take a warm shower and I’d pump some milk afterwards. Not all of it of course because baby might be in need of a feed but enough to be comfortable.

I hope these tips help your as much as they helped me and your’ll find your own little tricks as your go too!

mom-breastfeeding-her-baby
Mom breastfeeding her baby

To Sum It All Up

Breastfeeding is awesome. I couldn’t breastfeed my first child because she was in the NICU for a while after birth but I pumped so she could at least get it by bottle. I did breastfeed my second and third child though, and as I said, there are good days and bad days but in the end your’re giving your baby the best nutrients there are.

When your breastfeed it makes your feel like your’re on another level, making readily accessible food for your baby is surreal. The suggested amount of time to breastfeed your baby is the first 6 months but whether your do it for a shorter amount of time or longer is completely up to your and if your’re able to. I was able to breastfeed for about 3 months for each of my children because my milk supply ended up not being enough to keep them full long enough but I was very happy that I at least got to breastfeed them for the amount of time that I did.

Everyone is different so take it easy and follow your body’s signals and before your know it, your and baby will be a breastfeeding team!

All the best,

Melissa

Do your have anything to add? Maybe some of your own tips to help other moms? Please feel free to leave your comments below and if you liked this post don’t forget to share the wealth. Have a great day!

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