If you are a new or expectant mother, you might be wondering what the best option is for feeding your child. You may be considering breast-feeding or formula feeding. Here are some things you need to know about breast-feeding your baby so you can decide if it is right for you.
Why Breastfeed Your Baby?
There are many benefits to breast-feeding a child. One of the most important is that the mother passes her antibodies to the child. Young infants do not have developed immune systems, which means that they have a hard time fighting off illness. When you breastfeed your child you give them your antibodies so that they can fight off illness and be protected from diseases that they have not yet been immunized for.
In addition, breast milk, straight from the breast, is safer because it is free from external pathogens. You don't have to worry about the child being exposed to bacteria on their eating supplies. Even if you do choose to pump and give the baby breast milk through a bottle, you can be confident that the milk is clean and that it is free of any dangerous additives.
What Are The Risks Of Breastfeeding?
Luckily, there are really no risks to the baby of breastfeeding. However, the mother may experience some discomfort while breast-feeding. For instance, it is not uncommon for the nursing mother to get an infection in their breasts that is called mastitis. This infection can make the breasts feel hard, you can get lumps on the breast, they may be hot, red to the touch, and you may run a fever. However, even when the mother has mastitis, the milk is still safe for the child to drink; it is simply a problem for the mother.
You can prevent mastitis by doing a couple things. The first is that you should nurse often and on both sides evenly. If you feel any lumps starting to form, try to work them out by massaging the area, applying heat to the area, or even wearing cold cabbage leaves in your bra. Mastitis usually takes a couple days to form, so if you are looking out for it, you can generally catch it early on. If you do get mastitis you should contact your doctor right away, especially if you are running a fever and be put on a antibiotic to treat the infection.
By understanding the benefits of risks and breast-feeding you can decide if this is the right option for you or if you would rather use another option, such as using formulas or breast pumps.