I was fed formula when I was a baby, and I turned out just fine, if I do say so myself. My brothers and sisters were all formula fed, too, and nothing went wrong with them either.
I planned to carry on the tradition of formula feeding when I was pregnant with my first child. I figured nine months of carrying around my baby was enough of a sacrifice – I wanted my body back, and I was intimidated by the rules and horror stories I heard about breastfeeding.
My friends would tell me they couldn’t eat certain things before they breastfed their babies, and they complained about their cracked, painful nipples. I was sure breastfeeding wasn’t for me. I didn’t want to be stared at by people when I attempted to breastfeed my baby in public.
My mind was made up, until one day when I was surfing the internet, and I found the website www.notmilk.com. That’s when it hit me – my feelings didn’t matter. The only thing that mattered was giving my baby the best, healthiest start I could. If you’re on the fence about breastfeeding or you’ve decided not to do it, let me share with you some of the things I learned that changed my mind.
Part 2: Avoid Illnesses and Other Setbacks
- Breast milk can boost the iron levels in your baby’s blood. Iron deficiency can leave a child tired and susceptible to repeated infections. I want my baby to be happy and full of energy.
- Autoimmune thyroid problems may be avoided with breast milk. Soy-based formulas may lead to autoimmune thyroid diseases down the road, according to this study.
- Babies should be pooping machines, not constipated. Giving your baby regular doses of breast milk may keep them from struggling with painful pooping sessions. And, believe me, when your baby isn’t pooping regularly, you both will notice.
- Snoring isn’t cute in children; it’s a medical problem. Breastfeeding for at least one month meant a decrease in the risk of snoring for children at 8 years old. Breastfeeding isn’t just a temporary fix—it helps long term.
- I want to protect my son’s family jewels. Breastfeeding can offer some protection against undescended testicles. Someday your son will thank you for breastfeeding him.
- Bleeding lesions don’t belong inside a precious newborn baby. Lack of breastfeeding was a risk factor for severe bleeding lesions in the esophagus or stomach. I know I couldn’t handle thinking my choice to formula feed my baby caused this to happen.
- Acid reflux really sucks and I don’t want my baby to suffer from it. That feeling like you have molten lava coming up your throat is painful. I’ll do whatever it takes to protect my baby from it, and breastfed babies seem to have less of it.
- Living with a hernia isn’t fun whether you’re a baby or an adult. There’s a hormone in breast milk that reduces the incidence of inguinal hernias in babies.
- Lactose problems are less common in breastfed babies. Your child is going to have bouts of diarrhea at some point; there’s no avoiding it. But you don’t want to add to it either. Babies fed with breast milk had fewer instances of lactose malabsorption than other babies in this study.
- At the risk of sounding alarmist, breastfeeding could save your baby’s life. It’s hard to believe that’s true, but multiple studies have backed up that claim, especially when it comes to babies in developing countries. Between diseases, infections and more, your baby stands a greater chance of surviving if you breastfeed.
- You don’t want to see your baby with a flat spot on his head. Plagiocephaly is a fancy way of saying a baby has flat spots on his head. While some of this has to do with his position throughout the day and night, being cradled while being bottle fed can contribute to plagiocephaly.
- Forceful vomiting isn’t a good thing for babies. Babies who drink out of bottles have more incidences of pyloric stenosis—a condition that causes forceful vomiting, dehydration and salt imbalances. It usually happens to babies in their first few weeks of life.
- No baby should be blind, and a mother’s milk protects eyes. Retinopathy of prematurity can lead to blindness because blood vessels can grow in the retina causing it to detach. I would do anything to protect my baby’s vision.
- SIDS is my worst nightmare, and breastfed babies have a reduced risk. SIDS is an awful, heartbreaking syndrome. Your precious baby is fine one moment, and deceased the next. I can’t think of anything worse. The good news is breastfeeding does offer some protection against SIDS.