Breastfeeding Pros And Cons

Posted on 12 September 2007

By: Linda Davis

No matter how you look at it, breastfeeding is the best feeding alternative to keep your child healthy and strong. Breast milk, according to the experts, contains proteins, fats, and antibodies that help protect your child from infection and disease. It also provides your child with enzymes that help with his or her digestion.

Yet no matter how long the list of benefits is, there are still some mothers who can not do it because of time constraints or low milk production. Others combine formula feeding and breast milk. There are no disadvantages to breastfeeding. Rather, there are factors that may prevent some mothers from breastfeeding. Here are several of the Pros and cons of breastfeeding:

PROS:

1. Breast milk contains such nutrients as vitamins, minerals, and an enzyme that aids in digestion and prevents diarrhea.

2. Breast milk contains antibodies that help babies fight off infections like otitis media and respiratory problems like meningitis and bronchitis. It has been found to reduce the incidence and intensity of atopic diseases. Babies who breastfeed tend to suffer from colds less frequently and have fewer incidents of colic.

3. Breastfeeding protects babies against Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), as well as sepsis in pre-term babies.

4. Breast milk is free -- you save a lot of money not having to buy formula.

5. The high protein content of breast milk aids in the development of the baby's brain and may led to higher IQ (as mentioned by a study which claims that breastfeeding can add as much as eight more points to the baby's IQ).

6. Breastfeeding helps moms lose weight and get back to their pre-pregnancy size.

7. Breastfeeding strengthens the bond between mother and baby

8. Breastfeeding lowers the mother's risk of developing pre-menopausal breast and ovarian cancer.

9. Breast milk protects children from developing food allergies.

10. Breastfeeding helps the uterus return to its pre-pregnancy size.

11. Breastfeeding is effective in combating postpartum depression

12. Breastmilk is convenient and readily available

CONS:

1. Blood-borne viruses and diseases like Hepatitis B and HIV can sometimes be passed on from parent to child through breast milk. It is important that mothers have a thorough check-up prior to breastfeeding.

2. Babies who breastfeed need to be fed more frequently than those who drink formula.

3. Pumping milk can be difficult and sometimes painful. It requires somewhat expensive pumps and numerous bottles.

4. Breastfeeding can occasionally be painful for the mother. A few women develop wounds and soreness on their nipples due to the baby's strong sucking reflex.

5. Babies who breastfeed sleep for shorter periods of time than babies on formula.

6. There are times when a mother just doesn't produce enough milk. Some mothers produce less milk than others. This is why there are mothers who opt to combine breast- and formula feeding.

It is clear that, nutritionally speaking, breastmilk is best for your child. Unfortunately, while breastfeeding is ideal, it is not something that some mothers can do. Examine your options carefully when deciding between breastfeeding and formula feeding, and get advice from a physician or a lactation consultant. Ultimately, only you know which choice is best for you.

 

About The Author

Linda Davis contributes to several web sites, including http://tocip.com and http://yetra.com

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