Is Breast Best?

By Anna Snyder

One of the questions we encounter as new or even experienced moms is whether to use formula or breast feed.

We quite often have a birth plan, and in the process of making this birth plan, we decide this. Unfortunately, we can't see the future, and so we don't really quite know the outcome of this. Sometimes our bodies don't quite cooperate with our minds and what we think is right.

Many situations will help us choose what we will do, and we always try to choose what is best at that point in time for our baby. Multiple births tend to lean towards the bottle feeding, but some mom's do both. Single births, depending on complications as well, will help with the decision whether or not the mom is going to breast feed.

Another situation is if the baby is born premature. The mother may be going through way to many things to be able to breast feed, or in some instances, may not even come, or the baby may not have his or her sucking reflex and the mother will have to pump to provide the milk for her baby. My son was born 8 weeks premature, and I had to get my milk to come in by constantly pumping. He didn't quite have his sucking reflex yet, so he couldn't stimulate my milk to come in normally. I wanted him to have my milk because of the antibodies in the breast milk.

Although breast milk was the best for my son because of his prematurity, and the antibodies would ward off any extra germs that he could have picked up, if I had chosen formula to feed him then he would have gotten stronger faster and gained weight faster. This is not necessarily true for all cases, but for mine it was because for some reason, my breast milk did not have enough fat in it to help him gain weight. So, I ended up having to add more calories with a substance called human milk fortifier, supplied by the hospital. And, he also had to have liquid vitamins on top of all that, producing extra work for me. But, at the time he was my only child and so I could devote all my time to him.

And devote my time I did. He had such a sensitive tummy when he was little. I would pump for him, then I would bottle feed him the breast milk (mind you, it took him an hour to drink 1 ounce) and sometimes he would throw up everything and I would have to start again. I only gave him my breast milk at the time because I believed that breast is best. Not all moms who have other children will have time and patience to do this.

My other two children were easier in a sense because they were born full term with a suck reflex. I nursed my second son for 9 months and my daughter for 11 months. In that process, I had mastitis tons of times and that is very painful. I think that if I had known all the complications involved in nursing, I may not have done it. But, like I said, every case is different.

Formula today has come a long way. Sometimes mothers choose it over breast feeding because of its convenience. Breast feeding can be convenient too, but not when you are going out and want to leave the little one with someone else.

I think that the best thing for this day and age is for the mom to be able to do both, breast feed and bottle feed the baby. That way the baby can have the breast milk, and the mom can take a break and give the baby a bottle as well. (Time for bonding with Dad!!)

Some women may not be able to breast feed and I think that it is okay. These moms need to stop being frowned upon because they choose to formula feed their baby. There are tons of medical cases and reasons why they choose to bottle feed and formula feed, and I think that it is a matter of choice. The baby is still being fed, and is happy and just as healthy as the breast fed baby.

So whatever you choose to do, take day by day. Don't let anyone tell you that you did the wrong thing, or made the wrong decision. You as a mom know what is best for your baby, and for yourself. - 30525

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