Ask any mother, and she will tell you that having a child is one of the most rewarding and exciting experiences of your life. However, it also comes with a lot of responsibility, and the first big decision you will tackle as a new mom is how your newborn will be receiving its nutrients. But, don’t get overwhelmed. Instead here’s what you need to know to make the right decision.
What to Consider First
While it may be easy to get swept up in the breastfeeding vs. formula debate, both narratives forget about one crucial detail; each baby and mom duo is different. Ultimately, your decision should come down to your baby’s nutritional needs, your body’s response to motherhood and your pediatrician’s recommendation—not what others are saying. Be sure to visit your pediatrician regularly both pre- and post-pregnancy so that they can monitor your baby and advise you accordingly.
What to Know About Breastfeeding
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), breastfeeding your infant is highly recommended for at least 6 months or longer, if health conditions allow. This is because breast milk contains the perfect combination of nutrients for your infant. Additionally, breastfeeding can help protect your child from developing illnesses later on like obesity, asthma, eczema, diabetes and colitis.
But, breast milk is not just a healthy option for your baby, but also for you as well. Not only will your body release hormones that help you to bond with your child, it also reduces your risk of certain cancers, like ovarian or breast cancer.
While your breast milk can pass tons of nutrients to your baby, it can also pass some not-so-good things if you’re not careful. If you choose to breastfeed, you’ll want to watch your alcohol and caffeine intake as well as talk with your doctor about any medications you are taking as those can be easily transmitted from your breast milk to your infant.
What to Know About Formula
If you are leaning toward relying on formula due to health reasons or your doctor’s recommendation, that’s ok! Formula has all the key nutrients your baby needs to develop and grow strong. Also, formula can help measure how much your baby is eating since you are mixing and preparing it yourself.
Some state that mothers who bottle feed lose key maternal bonding time, but don’t worry: you won’t miss out on any mother/baby bonding with formula; as the bonding hormone, oxytocin, can be released in a variety of ways.
However, formula can pose some risks for your child. First, formula can cause issues such as constipation and gas. Second since formula is synthetic, it will not give your baby as much protection against illness as breast milk.
Start the Conversation With Your Pediatrician
The right choice for your baby starts with talking with a trusted pediatrician. At Community Access Network, we have experienced health providers available who are dedicated to seeing your child grow strong and healthy. Whether you’re pregnant or already have your bundle of joy in your arms, it’s never too late to discuss your options. Schedule an appointment today.