Breast milk is the most nutritious form of baby’s food as it is specially designed by Mother Nature to provide all the nutrients a baby requires. These nutrients are not all to be found in baby formula.
Breast milk also protects the baby against many illnesses such as ear infections, respiratory illnesses, and stomach viruses. Baby’s first milk known as colostrums contains essential immunity building nutrients that protect the baby against illnesses.
Breast milk also prevents the baby from developing allergic reactions to foods because he only consumes what the mother eats and is therefore secreted into the breast milk.
Breastfeeding creates a special bond
The experience of breastfeeding creates and increases the special bond between mother and child as the child feels close and safe to the mother.
The mother also experiences a boost in feel-good hormones that draw her closer to her child and also quickens her after-birth healing period. Mothers who breastfeed their babies also tend to lose their pregnancy weight faster.
Breast milk is available naturally thus making it the cheapest form of baby food available in the market. It’s also usually available on demand, unlike baby formula which needs to be specially prepared before the baby can consume it.
Challenges of breastfeeding
Not every mother is able to breastfeed due to a number of challenges such as:
The mother may be too physically and emotionally drained and this can affect the milk production and supply. The mother may also experience lactation difficulties such as sore nipples which make breastfeeding a painful and unpleasant experience.
Infants need to be fed round the clock and a mother who is exclusively breastfeeding may find it very difficult to keep up since breastfed babies tend to feed more than formula-fed infants.
The mother may also be limited by where she is able to breastfeed as she may not be comfortable breastfeeding in public. She may also need to return to work so she is unable to exclusively breastfeed her baby.
Certain medical conditions
Some medical conditions such tuberculosis and HIV infections prevent a mother from breastfeeding her baby. Mothers who have gone through some form of breast surgery may also find it very difficult to breastfeed especially in situations where the milk ducts have been removed.
Benefits of bottle feeding
Bottle feeding is the alternative to breastfeeding and there are several benefits to bottle feed your baby:
It’s more convenient
Bottle feeding is more convenient than breastfeeding because anyone can feed the baby – the partner, the caregiver and other members of the family thus allowing the mother to take a rest. It is also easier for the mother to have a feeding schedule for her baby that allows her to sleep at night while someone else feeds her baby.
With bottle feeding, the mother’s diet does not affect the baby. Bottle feeding also helps mothers who are unable to produce enough milk or where certain baby disorders such as cleft lip prevents the baby from breastfeeding.