Breastfeeding - Why breast is best

Breastfeeding - Why breast is best

If you bring up the topic of breastfeeding amongst mums, you are sure to find split opinions - some of which can be very strong. 

Breastfeeding provides babies with the best nutrition and is preferred whenever possible. The World Health Organization recommends that infants start breastfeeding within one hour of life, are exclusively breastfed for six months, with timely introduction of adequate, safe and properly fed complementary foods while continuing breastfeeding for up to two years of age or beyond.

In an ideal world all mothers would breastfeed as there are many obvious physical and emotional advantages for both mother and baby. No baby formula manufacturer has yet been able to come up with anything better than an approximation of human milk, whereas your own milk continually adapts to your baby's individual nutritional requirements. Healthy human milk contains the delicate balance and quantities of proteins, fats and carbohydrates necessary for your baby's development.

Breastfeeding is thought to decrease your baby's risk of:

  • diarrhoea
  • respiratory infection
  • middle ear infection
  • meningitis
  • botulism
  • urinary tract infection
  • necrotizing enterocolitis
  • sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)
  • diabetes
  • Crohn's disease
  • ulcerative colitis
  • lymphoma
  • allergies and food sensitivities

Some women choose to bottle feed because:

  • Lack of confidence. Some women never feel confident about their ability to feed their baby. They worry that their baby is still hungry, isn't thriving, or that they can't produce enough milk for their growing child. They find the visual aspect of bottle feeding reassuring - they can see exactly how much milk is going in.
  • Returning to work. Balancing breastfeeding and working can be very stressful and a lot of hard work. Some working mothers opt for a combination of breastfeeding and bottle feeding, but often your breast milk supply will dwindle because of the lack of regular feeds.
  • Cultural pressures. Some women find it difficult (or impossible) to breastfeed with people other than their family around, which is very restricting. 
  • Illness. One bout of mastitis is enough to put many first-time mothers off breastfeeding for life! The early trials and tribulations of breastfeeding should not be underestimated - it can be a tough road.
  • Flexibilty. Some parents bottle feed so they can share the load more easily or leave their baby with a relative. 

 

REMEMBER!

Whether you decide to feed your baby by breast or bottle, she will always be mother fed. Don't feel stressed over your decision - as long as you can feed her in a positive and calm manner, she will benefit from being close to you.

 

Find more

Kidspot is dedicated to the promotion of breastfeeding as the best possible start in life for babies as well as being good for the health and wellbeing of mothers.

The World Health Organization recommends that infants start breastfeeding within one hour of life, are exclusively breastfed for six months, with timely introduction of adequate, safe and properly fed complementary foods while continuing breastfeeding for up to two years of age or beyond. Source: http://www.who.int/nutrition/topics/infantfeeding/en/

Breastfeeding provides babies with the best nutrition and is preferred whenever possible. Good maternal nutrition is ideal for breastfeeding. You should be aware that reversing a decision not to breastfeed may prove difficult. Partially introducing formula could negatively affect your milk supply. Social and financial implications should be considered when selecting a method of feeding. Professional advice should be followed before using an infant formula. Proper use of an infant formula is important to the health of the infant and should only be used as directed.

If you’re worried about breastfeeding, your Well Child nurse or PlunketLine can help.


This article was written by Ella Walsh for Kidspot- New Zealand's parenting resource for newborns and baby. Sources include Australian Breastfeeding Association.



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