I have known many mothers, over the years, who have beat themselves up for deciding against breastfeeding their children. I breastfed my children because breastfeeding was what worked best for me. I had the luxury of staying home with my children, and the incentive of having very little money to spend on formula. Breastfeeding was not painful for me, my children took to it easily, and I haven’t got a shy bone in my body so the idea of breastfeeding in public, when necessary, did not bother me a whole lot.
The popularity of breastfeeding has gone up and down over the past several decades. Given the surprisingly prudish nature of our country, the idea of needing to breastfeed her infant in public can be embarrassing to some women. Some women have to return to work so soon after they give birth that the idea of breastfeeding for a short length of time, or pumping their milk on a daily basis and dealing with breast leakage in the workplace, is unappealing to them. Some women suffer from skin conditions that make the act of breastfeeding painful. All in all, breastfeeding simply is not for everyone.
For many women, the fact that they have chosen to feed their infants formula causes a certain amount of unnecessary guilt. If breastfeeding makes you uncomfortable, stressed, or causes you pain then it is not the correct method for you to use to feed your child. Today’s commercially prepared infant formula is a nutritious alternative to breastfeeding. While breast milk is, of course, the ideal milk for your child, formula comes in a very close second.
The commercial formulas of today are manufactured under very strict, sterile conditions and those that manufacture it do everything they can to replicate the natural breast milk. Today’s formula is even iron fortified, a fact that has actually been credited for lowering the incidence of anemia in infants.
There are advantaged to feeding your infant formula rather than breast milk. Other members of the family can help to feed the baby, and this gives the father and siblings a better chance at bonding with the child. The mother can also leave the child for more than a couple of hours without difficulties arising when it comes time for the baby to eat. Not only can the mother leave, but she can do so without fear of having her breasts begin to leak at the most inconvenient possible time.
So if breastfeeding does not work for you, don’t beat yourself up. There is nothing wrong with feeding your infant formula – it is quite healthy – and it does have some advantages over breastfeeding.