Breast or Bottle

Breast or Bottle
Can you Breastfeed?

Almost every woman can breastfeed. If your baby is born early you will still produce breastmilk. Even if you go back to work, you can continue to breastfeed. For more information, talk to your lactation consultant, NMAA breastfeeding counselor, supportive midwife or doctor. Include your partner in discussions about infant feeding so you both have the facts. Women whose partners support breastfeeding are much more likely to successfully breastfeed.

Breastfeeding Benefits

For Baby
Breastmilk provides all the nutrients a baby needs for about the first six months of life. This amazing complex fluid can never be duplicated as you breasts adjust the blend of ingredients that is required for that day. For eg. If you are in a hot climate, you baby will want more feeds, rather than overfeeding your baby, you breasts adjust for this and add more water content to the supply to match your baby's needs.

Breastmilk includes factors that aid absortion of nutrients, helping your baby to grow and develop to full potential.

Breastmilk provides resistance to disease by:
  • Providing antibodies to fight bacterial and viral infections
  • Lessening the risk of allergy and asthma
  • Protecting your baby from common illnesses such as diarrhoea and ear infections
  • Helping to reduce the risk of SIDS, urinary tract infections and bacterial meningitis

    Breastfeed babies:
  • Have a lower risk of developing juvenile diabetes, childhood cancers and possibly heart disease later in life
  • Have enhanced eyesight, intelligence, speech and jaw development

    For Mother
  • Breastfeeding helps the uterus return to its pre-pregnant state and aids weight loss by using up fat your body stored during pregnancy.
  • Helps you adjust to motherhood.
  • Breastfeeding usually delays the return of menstration
  • Exclusive breastfeeding can act as a contraceptive
  • Breastfeeding protects the mother's health, especially in the long term with reduced rates of breast and ovarian cancer and osteoporosis
  • Family medical costs will be lower. Mother and baby have a lower rate of being sick.

    Breastfeeding Disadvantages

    In the beginning you may experience some discomfort while you and your baby learn.
    In the first weeks your baby may need feeding more frequently than a bottle-fed baby, because breastmilk is digested so easily and completely.

    You may feel tied down, but you can express and store breastmilk successfully.

    At first you may feel uncomfortable breastfeeding in public. Once you get the hang of it, you will learn to be discrete or be comfortable with public breastfeeding. Legally you can breastfeed anywhere.

    Artificially fed babies are more likely to suffer serious illness. Including diarrhoea, chest infection, middle-ear infections, inflections in their bladder or kidneys, eczema, allergies, children diabetes and orthodontic problems.
  • Other people sometimes take over the care of your baby, leaving you to feel left out.
  • Artificial feeding does not allow you as much time to rest while still interacting with your baby.
  • It is difficult to make infant formula exactly to the consistency and temperature your baby requires each feed, breastmilk produces automatically to suit your child.
  • Your baby is more likely to cry as a result of serious gastric reflux and allergies needing medical care.
  • Your baby is more likely to become constipated and overweight in childhood.
  • Water in your neighbourhood or house may not be suitable for making up formula safely.
  • It costs $1400 to feed a baby infant formula for a year, and more because of increased sickness.
  • Artificial feeding is more work because of mixing the formula and sterilizing bottles.
  • Breastfeeding protects you by decreasing your risk of ovarian cancer, breast cancer and hip fractures later in life.

    Your Choice
    Whatever you decide, health professionals are there to help you. If you decide to breastfeed, start as soon as you can after your baby is born. Newborn babies don't need food or drink other than breastmilk for the first 6 months. If you decide to feed formula from birth, be sure to start learning by practice under supervision while you are in the hospital. Midwives will help you while you and your baby are learning in hospital, and then link you into other local community resources such as maternal or child health nurses and lactation consultants. Remember make an informed choice.

    To find out more contact:
    Australian College of Midwives Inc - 1300 360 480
    Australian Lactation Consultants' Association - 02 6290 1920
    Nursing Mothers Association of Australia - 03 9885 0855

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