When my daughter was born 16 years ago, breastfeeding did not come naturally to either of us. She was born with a raging infection and spent the first week of her life in the ICU. I had a post-partum hemorrhage and was severely anemic.
Like many new mothers, I went through antics of trying to nurse, then pumping, then trying to feed the pumped milk to my baby through a feeding tube taped to my nipple. This went on for days. Finally, one night the elevated bottle of pumped milk got knocked over and spilled all over my newborn. My stress level had hit its zenith and my mother sent my husband out for a case of formula.
From then on in, feeding was easy. I continued to pump and supplement the formula with breast milk. I later read my anemia would make it hard for me to breastfeed. Had I known that, it would have saved me a lot of aggravation.
No doubt, breastfeeding has its benefits, among them:
- It’s cheap (free, really)
- Convenient (you don’t have to turn your kitchen into a mini-science lab)
- It offers a well balanced, nutritious meal for your child
- It helps your uterus get back into shape
- It promotes bonding with baby
But, bottlefeeding has its fair share of check marks in the plus column as well:
- Dad and other caregivers can feed baby too; there’s plenty of bonding opportunities to go around
- Some people are more comfortable bottle feeding rather than nursing in public
- No vitamin D supplement is required since formula is fortified
- Feedings are often less frequent than breastfeeding
- No problems with sore, cracked nipples or mastitis
The decision to breastfeed or bottlefeed is based on so many things: your health, your baby’s health, your work and financial situation, just to name a few. When I had my second daughter a couple of years after the first, I tried breastfeeding again, and truthfully, I wasn’t disappointed when it didn’t work. I made the decision that worked for me and my babies, and they’re thriving today.