The breast-is-best debate

Even formula companies will now admit that “breast is best.” But moms who struggle to breastfeed can feel enormous guilt. And the breastfeeding militants can make you feel like you might as well feed your infant liquid crack if you choose to use formula. What is the truth? Are there any legitimate reasons to bottle feed your baby?

Breastfeeding mom |

Breastfeeding challenges

Despite what the breastfeeding militants will tell you, there are more than three percent of women who struggle with legitimate nursing difficulties. Latch problems, tongue-tie, inverted nipples, low milk supply, mastitis and thrush are just a few of the most common difficulties. Additionally, as mothers in our country are emerging out of a formula-feeding era, finding breastfeeding guidance and support is not always easy.

How to get the best breastfeeding support

If you are dealing with one of the challenges mentioned above — or some other breastfeeding complication — the best support is found with an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC). Although your mom or best friend might have some helpful tips to share, don’t rely on their advice alone when you are dealing with serious nursing challenges. If you don’t know how to find an IBCLC in your area, contact your local chapter of the La Leche League and they will be happy to help.

What to do when you can’t solve your nursing challenges

Before I was a mom, it had never occurred to me that breastfeeding would be anything but natural and easy. But it wasn’t. I had always planned to breastfeed my children and I was shocked when I encountered so many difficulties — clogged ducts, recurrent mastitis, thrush, latch problems and a son with ankyloglossia (tongue-tie). With the expert guidance of a very skilled IBCLC, we were able to overcome many challenges with my firstborn son. But despite surgery and many kinds of therapy, my tongue-tied second son could not nurse. Gratefully, I already owned a double electric breast pump and so I began to express milk immediately. However, not everyone has a lifestyle that is conducive to pumping every three hours around the clock.

Lose the guilt

In cases like these, it is important to remember that nothing in motherhood is perfect. We all do the best we can for our children. If you want to nurse, but have found yourself with a challenge that is insurmountable, even with the help a skilled lactation consultant, do not buy into the mommy guilt time-share. Situations like these are exactly what formula was designed for. Not to mention, the quality of infant formula has improved dramatically in recent years with the addition of DHA and ARA, as well as organic formulas in both cow’s milk and soy varieties. Seek the guidance of your pediatrician and choose a formula that is best for your baby’s particular dietary needs. Rest assured, your baby will still grow up healthy and strong with a loving and concerned parent like you.

More on breastfeeding

How to boost your breast milk supply
Why you should breastfeed your toddler
Why moms choose to breastfeed