Deciding to Breastfeed

Before I begin to write anything in this hub, I want to point out that I absolutely love nursing. Choosing to nurse my daughter was one of the best decisions that I have ever made and I would make it again and again.

I am not, however, what you would consider a "proponent" of breastfeeding. I am not a "lactivist." I'm not the type to stand on a street corner and scream at a woman about how she has to breast feed.

I feel that this is a very individual choice. There are a vast many reasons why a woman would choose to breast feed and many reasons why she would choose to formula feed. Formula fed babies are no less intelligent, healthy and loved than breastfed babies.

This hub is, however, essentially about breastfeeding. My purpose is to help to support you in making the decision to breastfeed and to encourage you to stick to your guns even when you are feeling discouraged.

Breastfeeding has many, many benefits, but there are drawbacks, too!
Breastfeeding has many, many benefits, but there are drawbacks, too!

Are there any Drawbacks to Breastfeeding?

If you take a wander around the web, you will probably find it pretty easy to find information on the incredible benefits of breastfeeding. Like those sites, I will list some of the wonderful benefits here, but as I hope to take a balanced approach to the issue, I want to point out that there are a few drawbacks to breastfeeding, and you don't often hear about them.

  • Nusing is natural, but it isn't easy. Many women need help to do it properly and in a way that doesn't cause them pain and cracked nipples.
  • If you plan to go back to work after the baby is a bit older, you will need to express breast milk. This can be time consuming.
  • If you spend time out of the house at all, and don't plan on giving your baby a bottle, you will need to be able to nurse in public (NIP). Many women are uncomfortable with this.
  • Friends and family may be uncomfortable with you nursing. My mother sometimes wanted me to go into a private room in my own home.

I was very blessed with my daughter: She was a good nurser and we didn't need any help. I am a stay at home mom and therefore didn't need to worry about the pump (until later, anyway) and I don't have a problem with nursing in public. The big issue was my family, who were offended by my breasts.

What are the Benefits?

Chances are that you know the primary benefits of breastfeeding, as these are easy to find anywhere on the internet or even in your doctor's office. There are, however, some additional benefits that you might not realize.

  • Breastfeeding will help you to bond with your baby. There is nothing like skin to skin contact!
  • When you nurse, your body releases a hormone called oxytocin. This hormone is a "feel good" hormone and may help to prevent post partum depression.
  • Breastfeeding burns calories and causes the uterus to contract. It can, therefore, help you to lose weight faster after giving birth.
  • Because of the higher calorie requirement while breastfeeding, some women can use this as an excuse to indulge a little bit! 
  • Breastfeeding is convenient. You will never have to fumble around in the dark for bottles, warm anything up, etc. You simple latch the baby on and go!


Do I Need to Buy Anything to Breastfeed?

You will need nursing bras. If you are planning on exclusively nursing, you probably won't need anything but appropriate clothing in which to nurse, which includes nursing bras and tops that give easy access. Button-down dresses work, too, because you can unbutton them down far enough to nurse. There are also dresses and blouses that have a panel for modest nursing.

If you are going to be returning to work, you may also want to obtain a breast pump and several bottles so that someone other than you can feed the baby when necessary. There are a variety of pumps on the market, but I strongly recommend purchasing a good electric pump such as the Medela Pump in Style or renting a Symphony or Lactina (also by Medela) from the hospital where you deliver.

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Comments 21 comments

Nolimits Nana profile image

Nolimits Nana 7 years ago from British Columbia

I remember being on a local bus in Ecuador, and the mother beside me nursing her baby. I can't believe how some feel this is offensive - I think it's wonderful that nursing has become more popular with mothers.

When my daughter had her first child (she's nursed 3), she had some problems that were easily sorted out at the lactation clinic, so help is always there.


Jesus_saves_us_7 profile image

Jesus_saves_us_7 7 years ago from Seeking Salvation

Excellent hub!

Out of my 5 children I nursed my youngest 3. I am actually still nursing my youngest who is 16 months now.

I would recommend to any willing woman to breastfeed if possible!


LondonGirl profile image

LondonGirl 7 years ago from London

It's fantastic - always sterile, at the right temperature, no need to wander about the house in the dark fiddling with kettles and bottles, and if you forget your breasts when you go out of the house, there's more to worry about than the baby (-:


Christian HomeBiz profile image

Christian HomeBiz 7 years ago

While breastfeeding isn't easy, I nursed my first for 26 months, nursing baby # 2, so far 14 months. So what does that make, 40 months total so far?! That part of it sucks, having a baby attached (about 5+ hours a day) to your breasts for 40 months LMAO. But, I wouldn't have it any other way.

I also don't scold people for not doing it, it's a personal choice. For me the pluses totally out number the minuses, and like LondonGirl said, breastfeeding allows for you to worry about so much less in terms of feeding convenience. I'm lazy in that sense and breastfeeding is just SO much more convenient (well, most times). I'm personally not comfortable with nursing in public, I go into a restroom or some places have family rooms.

And my mother-in-law drives me insane because she is constantly telling me to stop nursing, the baby is too old, but mom & baby are the only one's who truly gets the feel or know when it's time to stop nursing (although I can say, in my opinion, some moms do go overboard nursing at 7 yrs old, etc).


NarayanKrishna profile image

NarayanKrishna 7 years ago from The country of Mount Everest

In Nepal, mostly in villages, women freely breastfeed their children in public.


Everyday Miracles profile image

Everyday Miracles 7 years ago from Indiana, USA Author

I can't believe I forgot to mention the convenience of it! I'm going to take the time to throw that in there RIGHT NOW since it's a quick add. Thanks for the reminder, everybody!

I want to share a personal story, but I think I might do that in a separate hub about NIP. I'm on a breastfeeding kick the last couple of days, which is good because it's something I *know* and am able to write about easily.

I wish I'd been able to nurse longer but my daughter wasn't getting enough and wound up in hospital. They introduced a bottle and it was all over after that :(


LoveLiveLearn profile image

LoveLiveLearn 7 years ago from NYC

Great hub! I still nurse my 8-month-old and it's and always evolving experience, to say the least. LOL. KUDOS! "Do I Need to Buy Anything to Breastfeed?" And if you're interested in a more in depth article on what's needed for the breastfeeding journey I have a hub on breastfeeding essentials. I'd love to know what you think.


LondonGirl profile image

LondonGirl 7 years ago from London

26 months? That makes you a paid-up member of the Toddler-Feeding Weirdo Club. I'm one, too!

My family never said anything about, "too long", but they'd have struggled to do so, and my mother was a TFW with all four of us.


kerryg profile image

kerryg 7 years ago from USA

The convenience part is what ultimately convinced me, even though I had pretty painful and difficult start (SHE did fine, the little stinker). I remember once before I got pregnant watching my sister-in-law come tearing out of the bedroom frantically trying to mix and heat a bottle of formula when her daughter woke up yelling from a nap and quickly worked herself into near-apoplepsy. I'd always been inclined towards breastfeeding (my mom breastfed all three of us and often talked about how much she enjoyed it) but I decided then and there that I was going to breastfeed if it killed me!

I didn't like pumping for the same reason - too annoying compared to just whipping out a boob. The trouble with that was, she was pretty clearly convinced that bottles and pacifiers were murder weapons by the time she was 6 weeks old (speaking of apoplectic screaming...) It worked out fine for me because I work at home, but I'm not sure I could have gone back to work at an outside job even if I'd *wanted* to, until she was nearly weaned. So that's a potential disadvantage for some women that I don't see talked about a whole lot.


LondonGirl profile image

LondonGirl 7 years ago from London

Isaac would never take a dummy, but would happily guzzle expressed milk any way it came, fortunately.


MotherHubber profile image

MotherHubber 7 years ago from Southern California

Hi EM~

I am (as you know) a bottle-feeder-by-choice, but I enjoyed your article. I found it to be fair, and balanced. I am all about choice, and I think that if more articles showed both the pros and cons of breastfeeding, it would help more moms to make informed decisions. Good job, and well done, mama!!


Everyday Miracles profile image

Everyday Miracles 7 years ago from Indiana, USA Author

MH, you know I bottlefed two of mine, too! No problem with your choice, and I can understand it! "Convenience" looks different for different people, too!


LondonGirl profile image

LondonGirl 7 years ago from London

How many children do you have, EM?


Everyday Miracles profile image

Everyday Miracles 7 years ago from Indiana, USA Author

I have three daughters. Due to some major circumstances we gave two of them up for adoption when they were very young, but I still had the chance to make the choice re: breastfeeding before the world fell on our head.


Sara 7 years ago

Great information here. I liked that you mentioned the oxytocin released when breastfeeding helping to reduce postpardum depression. My mother had four children and I was the only one she didn't breastfeed (I am extremely lactose intolerant so went directly to formula by necessity). I was the only pregnancy after which she suffered a bit of depression.

A lot of people are educated about the health benefits of breastfeeding for the baby, but not about the benefits for the mother. The bonding experience and anti-depression effects are huge bonuses that aren't often mentioned.

Great hub!

Sara


usmanali81 profile image

usmanali81 7 years ago

Breast feeding is the most important nutrition for newborns. It's a right of every child, boys and girls alike up to the age of 2 years to have this special diet from mothers. Breast milk for a child upto the age of 2 years does not equals any other type of milk or nutrition drink.

And it's not the matter of choice, healthy mothers should compromise the available choices for the ultimate benefit of their innocent newborns.


usmanali81 profile image

usmanali81 7 years ago

Something more to say, breastfeeding must not be done in public as women are the most beautiful, attractive, innocent and respectable beings on earth. Women, physically are made to be easily attracted specially by men. So, in order to safe guard a mother's modesty,dignity and respect, she must not do the job in public as they can easily be caught by others' evil thoughts.


Tracker Frost profile image

Tracker Frost 7 years ago from Wyoming

@usmanali81  I completely disagree with you.  Its not your job to do anything about what anybody else thinks, NOR CAN YOU.  You can not control what anyone is or is not attracted to.  You could wrap yourself from head to toe (like say, a burka), and there are still going to be people that think that is a attractive! A lot of guys find sweaters attractive, check out some of those old Marilyn Monroe shots!

As a man, my only problem with breastfeeding in public is when I have to interact with strangers doing it.  It doesn't bother me in anyway, but I'm always afraid if I look, someone like usmanali is going to think I'm a perv, or trying to "sneak a peek".  And if I don't look, am I "anti-nip", or am I offended.  This actually came up pretty often when I was waiting tables.  Hopefully I never offended anyone either way.  :)

I think people are far to uptight about breasts and breastfeeding.  People need to learn to just chill out.


usmanali81 profile image

usmanali81 7 years ago

Tracker!

It's your right, you can disagree. And i can not do any thing for others' thinking but when i come to know that somebody is thinking wrong then it's my moral duty to advise him/her, beyond that, it is his / her choice to accept it or not.


momo6kids1968 profile image

momo6kids1968 7 years ago

also,while i was nursing,i did'nt get my period for 8 mos!i do not reccomend as birth control,because we are all different,but it did work for me,i need to get out ,that my question is in reponse to the ones who find us nursing moms offensive.breastfeeding is rewarding in so many ways,many of nites my son fell asleep nursing,the best sleep i ever got was while i nursed


howcurecancer profile image

howcurecancer 5 years ago

An awesome hub!

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