If you're pregnant and trying to decide whether you should breastfeed or not, make sure you do your research, gather all of the relevant information and read about the pros and cons before you make your final decision.
With pregnancy comes many questions and concerns. Is your house large enough? What kind of pram should you get? How long should you stay off work for? The list goes on and on.
Another major issue for many new mums is whether or not they should breastfeed their baby. While no doubt your mum, your mum-in-law, your friends, your colleagues, and heck probably even your hairdresser all have opinions on the subject, ultimately the final say is up to you.
But before you make your decision, read on to find out some of the pros and cons of breastfeeding.
The pros of breastfeeding
- Breastfeeding is said to make a substantial difference to new mums who are trying to lose their baby weight, as the process burns kilojoules.
- Breastfeeding may help you bond with your baby. Many new mums say they feel a huge emotional rush being able to provide life-giving formula to their baby in such a raw, natural way.
- Breast milk also obviously cuts down on the cost of baby formula, which can be a financial burden for those who are struggling.
- The breast offers a convenient supply of milk as you can provide for your baby even when you're on the go, while formula would have to be specially prepared, measured and packaged hygienically.
- Some mums also say that successful breastfeeding boosts their self-confidence and gives them a bit more reassurance that they're capable of taking care of this precious and fragile newborn.
- Breastfeeding advocates also say there are many health benefits for the baby too. These include a reduced likelihood of diarrhoea and colic, and better digestion and a healthy heart.
The cons of breastfeeding
- Of course, there are also some drawbacks to breastfeeding. Firstly, new mums who are struggling to breastfeed may suffer from a serious knock to their confidence, which can not only lead to creeping doubts about their own ability as a mother (completely unfounded, of course!) but also anxiety and frustration with their baby.
- The side effects of breastfeeding can include cracked nipples and other aches. However, there are things you can do to help ease these pains.
- If you solely breastfeed, it means your body will be required for every feed, which can put a lot of pressure and responsibility on you and lead to exhaustion. It's time-consuming and means you won't be able to leave your baby at crucial times. But remember that you do have the option of using a breast pump and storing your breast milk if you need to head out or go to work, or if someone else wants to feed your baby.
- Some first-time mums may feel self-conscious breastfeeding in front of people, particularly if they're having trouble and need the help of midwives or nursing staff. Keep in mind that these professionals have seen and done this a million times before, and they are not judging you.
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