Contributed by: Nancy Dixit
If you have children — or are thinking about them — you’ve probably heard the mantra “breast is best.”
on it World Breastfeeding Week 2022We will highlight Advantages and disadvantages of breastfeeding and pumping Focusing on good nutrition can improve the health and well-being of the child and benefit maternal health.
Most doctors recommend that mothers breastfeed their babies exclusively for at least the first six months of their lives.
Studies have shown that breastfeeding significantly enhances the physical and social-emotional connection between both mother and child.
Did you know that breastfed babies perform better on intelligence tests, are less likely to be overweight or obese, and have a lower risk of diabetes later in life?
Breastfeeding is when you feed your baby breast milk, usually directly from your breast. It is also called nursing.
Many medical experts strongly recommend exclusive breastfeeding (no formula, juice or water) for 6 months.
Even after the introduction of solid foods, it is recommended to continue breastfeeding until the first year of the baby’s life.
During the first week, your baby will drink colostrum. This first stage of breast milk is concentrated and very nutritious, so your baby only needs a small amount.
cConfused about how often you should breastfeed?
Well, the frequency of breastfeeding often depends on whether your baby likes small, frequent feedings or longer feedings. This will change as your baby grows.
Newborns often want to feed every 2 to 3 hours. By 2 months, feedings every 3 to 4 hours are common, and by six months, most babies are feeding every 4 to 5 hours.
Benefits of breastfeeding
Some examples of the benefits of breastfeeding include-
Exclusive breastfeeding means not having lots of bottles or pump parts to clean after each feeding session.
Breast milk is safe, clean and contains antibodies that help protect against many common childhood illnesses.
Breast milk provides all the energy and nutrients a baby needs for the first months of life.
It continues to supply half or more of a child’s nutritional needs in the second half of the first year and up to one-third in the second year of life.
Your breasts respond to the baby’s saliva, producing antibodies to viruses or bacteria that the baby has been exposed to.
- Bonding time with your baby
Breastfeeding time and intimacy promote a special bond between parent and child.
If you are exclusively breastfeeding, you don’t need to worry about whether you have formula or pumped milk to feed your baby.
Disadvantages of exclusive breastfeeding
Here are some reasons why some women dislike breastfeeding:
Exclusive breastfeeding can worry some parents because you may not easily know how much milk your baby has consumed.
Exclusive breastfeeding can cause pain in the breast and nipple area, especially in the early stages (first few weeks). But it gets better in the end.
- Possible food and drug restrictions
Certain medications, foods, and alcohol can pass to your baby through breast milk. Therefore, an exclusively breastfeeding parent may need to avoid eating certain items.
During the first few weeks of your baby’s life, you will need to feed the baby frequently. Your baby may need to wake up every 2 hours to make sure he has enough food.
It can be difficult emotionally and physically after just giving birth.
If you want to breastfeed your baby but for some reason you are unable to breastfeed, or you just don’t want to, one option is bottle feeding.
But sometimes babies refuse bottles, so exclusive breastfeeding is the only option.
In the first few days after your baby is born, you will only be able to pump and collect a small amount of colostrum.
After you’ve expressed a few spoonfuls worth by hand, pumping for a short while until your milk comes in is a good way to stimulate milk supply.
Some parents may wonder if these feeding methods are okay to use, and the answer is definitely yes. With this method, you pump your breast milk using a breast pump and give it to your baby in a bottle.
A breast pump is a mechanical device used by lactating women to express milk from their breasts.
Advantages of pumping
Exclusive pumping can be really beneficial in certain situations such as a premature baby, difficulty latching, a baby with cleft palate or when breastfeeding is extremely painful.
Here are some benefits of pumping breast milk:
Exclusive pumping gives you the ability to do this on your own schedule.
You can save breast milk for when you want to drink alcoholic beverages or eat something that does not fit your baby’s stomach.
Additionally, when you are able to pump breast milk, it means you can build up a supply in the fridge or freezer that allows your partner or other caregivers to participate in feeding your baby.
Pumping can offer a way to avoid breast discomfort caused by poor latch, bite or other problems.
Bottle feeding helps you know exactly how much milk your baby is getting in a day.
Note: “Whether you breastfeed directly, pump and express, or a mix of both, your baby is still getting the nutrients it needs for proper growth and development.”
Disadvantages of pumping
Exclusive pumping can also have some disadvantages, such as:
There are plenty of spare pump and bottle parts to wash and sanitize. This is something that needs to be done carefully and also takes a lot of time.
It’s true that breast pumps can be expensive and equipment like breast milk storage bags can add to the cost.
Pump suction is not always as effective as a baby’s mouth in extracting milk from the breast.
As a result, depending on the individual, pumping exclusively may result in less milk production than breastfeeding.
Breastfeeding is something that closely affects the relationship between you and your little one.
Both breastfeeding and pumping have their pros and cons. Ultimately, you have to decide what is best for you and your baby.
If you have any concerns about breastfeeding, breastfeeding, pumping breast milk, etc. make sure you schedule some time to talk to a lactation consultant.
However, once you decide to stop breastfeeding or start weaning your body off of pumping, you need to approach it slowly.
Talk to your doctor or lactation consultant about how to wean effectively without causing problems for you or your baby.
Moreover, you should opt for frequent health screenings. It provides you with vital insights into your health, allowing you to take the necessary measures to improve it.
Book a full physical health exam today!
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