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Breastfeeding - Breast is Best
Women have been feeding their children this way from the beginning, and it is of course natures intended food, therefore the best nourishment for your child. The decision to breast-feed is entirely up to you and each woman should make up her own mind, it is an individual choice.
There are a number of reasons why a mother would decide not to breastfeed, including infection e.g. hepatitis or HIV this can be passed onto the baby through the breast milk, or if the mother is on long-term medication for an illness, in this situation it is advised to bottle feed instead. Some mothers canít produce enough milk and others just do not like the idea at all, either way itís a personal decision.
In the 40s and 50s it was very unfashionable to breastfeed and mothers were encouraged to bottle-feed. Itís a different story now days with our health conscious society, more and more mothers are deciding that for them and their infantís breast is best. Breastfeeding benefits not only the child but the mother also.
It is the babyís natural food and is easily digested limiting stomach problems and wind causing pain and discomfort to the baby. It is also provides antibodies reducing the risks of gastro-intestinal infections, urine infections, chest and ear it infections, breathing difficulties including asthma, diabetes, eczema and childhood obesity.
There are also lots of benefits to the mother for breastfeeding including a close maternal bond between you and your baby, a reduced risk of breast cancer, ovarian cancer and osteoporosis. Breastfeeding also helps the womb to contract back to its normal size much quicker than if you were not breastfeeding.
You need to keep in mind that when you are breast-feeding it is not safe to take the combined pill but you can take the mini pill for this duration, this of course dispels the myth that you cannot get pregnant during breastfeeding you definitely can. Another positive note is that breastfeeding aids in the loss of the bodyís fat stores that were stored in preparation for breastfeeding, this will speed up loosing the pregnancy weight.
Although keep in mind that eating a well balance diet with daily vitamins and minerals is fundamental for producing high quality milk for your baby, this is not the time for any crash diets.
One of the big concerns for mothers when breast feeding is that they are unsure of the amounts of food the baby is consuming, once the baby is breastfeeding well and he or she is having wet and dirty nappies be assured all is well. Your midwife or maybe friends and family can help and advise when you are going through those anxious few weeks of breastfeeding, there are also breast feeding support groups that you can go along to and speak to other mums with the same problems or concerns as you.
Another concern for mothers is breast-feeding in public, most people are okay with breastfeeding in front of friends and family but the thought of breastfeeding in public makes them a little nervous. Do not let this put you off, if you and your baby are comfortable with it thatís all that matters. There is always a discrete table you can sit at in a restaurant and or on the train and there is always the option of planning your outings around feed times to avoid it completely.
When you decide the time is right to wean your baby onto bottles and get some routine back into your life you need to decide if you will be expressing your own milk or using formula.
Expressing is said to be a difficult and tricky task that takes a bit of time and patients, however if you decide to go down this route you can build up a store of breast milk and freeze it in specially adapted freezer bags. Breast milk can last up to six months in the freezer. This way you can be more flexible with your time and your baby gets all the goodness of breast milk.
Although a lot of women actually want their breasts back and to feel itís their body once again so they go with formula. Bottle feeding using formula is not a bad idea as you can stop worrying about those embarrassing wet patches and get back into your pretty smaller size bras again.
Not all women want to or can breast feed but I think you should give it a go. It is a wonderful bonding experience for both mother and child providing a lot of health benefits, its extremely rewarding all round.
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