For the majority of women, whether to breastfeed or not is never even a question. But why is breastfeeding so good for both the mother and her baby? And when breastfeeding isn't an option, what's a mum to do? Angela Pedersen investigates …
To breast or bottle feed is a debate most new mothers are totally unaware of until baby arrives and a decision has to be made. For many the decision has already been made by the amount of information received through midwives and antenatal classes during pregnancy.
Breast feeding often feels like the natural and normal choice to make - a way to bond with our newborn, to gain that connection that only a mother and child can know! There is an enormous amount of influence for women these days to breastfeed - everyone from midwives to doctors to specialists will tell you that 'breast is best'. However, some women don't have the ability to breastfeed and other mothers may simply need to start bottle feeding as they go back to work.
A few reasons for choosing bottle:
- Some women just don't feel comfortable breastfeeding, and it doesn't come naturally to everyone.
- Often when they have just given birth, new mothers can be overtired and stressed, and this strain on your body can put a strain on your milk supply.
- Lifestyle changes can be difficult for most to handle and breastfeeding causes quite an adjustment when getting your newborn into a good routine.
- Some women have breast complications, such as inverted nipples which make it difficult to breastfeed.
- Some mums choose bottle feeding because they have to return to the work force.
Making the transition from breast to bottle:
- If baby has never been given a bottle before try to get someone else to give the first bottle feed. It often helps if mum is not in the room as they could resist and just wait until the breast is offered!
- You may need to try a few variations of bottle teats if baby is being fussy - babies will normally take to those that are shaped like your nipple. Avent and Evenflo have a good range to start with.
- Make sure the teat is suited to your child's age - slow or fast flowing teats are available.
- There are many different brands of formula out there, so it may pay to talk to your midwife or doctor about which brand may be best for your baby before purchasing one.
- Make sure you have to correct utensils to help you with your feeding choice. A good choice of bottles and sterilisers can assist in making the transition from breast to bottle a lot easier for a busy mum.
- Perseverance is the key. The younger your baby is the quicker they are likely to take to the bottle - older babies may take some to time to get accustomed to the new teats and different taste with formula. Take it slowly and persevere and all should work out the way you want it to.
Whether you bottle feed or breast feed, it's what you as a mother feel is best for your baby that counts. Motherhood is a gift where you learn to make the decisions that are best for yourself and your baby. A happy mum makes a happy baby.
While OHbaby! actively supports breastfeeding and World Breastfeeding Week, we are also here to help mums who bottle feed too!