In your third trimester, you will be thinking a lot about your life after the baby arrives. Breastfeeding or bottle feeding is a decision you have to make. The decision to breastfeed is personal. Keep in mind that doctors strongly recommend breastfeeding. However, the subject often invites a lot of opinions from friends and family. In the end, you and your baby are unique. The decision should be yours and yours alone.
Before you read about why it is a good idea to breastfeed your baby, let us look at the reasons why some women do not consider it:
- They need the flexibility of knowing a father or a caregiver can bottle feed the baby at any time.
- Babies digest the bottle milk slower than breast milk, so the number of feedings can be lesser.
- The commitment required to be ‘on-call’ for feeding any time might not be possible for all women, especially if you are working or are unwell.
- Some women fear that breastfeeding might ruin the shape of their breasts. (However, genetics, smoking and lifestyle factors can change the shape of your breasts more than breastfeeding can.)
- Some women do not like to breastfeed in public.
However, before you make a decision, understand the benefits of breastfeeding to both mother and child.
Benefits for the baby:
- The first few days after birth, your breasts make the ideal ‘first milk’,called the colostrum.
- Colostrum helps a newborn’s digestive tract develop and prepare itself to digest breast milk. It has very high nutritional content to help develop immunity for your child.
- Breast milk provides the ideal nutrition for infants. It has a nearly perfect mix of vitamins, protein and fat. It helps your baby grow.
- It is more digestible than ready-made formula or packet milk.
- It has antibodies that help your baby fight bacteria and virus.
- It lowers their baby’s risk of asthma or allergies.
- Babies who have been exclusively breastfed for the first six months are less prone to infections of the ear , respiratory problems and diarrhea.
- Breast milk decreases the chances of heart attack, diabetes, obesity in adulthood.
- A baby who is breastfed displays a better IQ in the later years.
- Breastfed babies are more likely to gain the right amount of weight, rather than be overweight.
- While the baby breastfeeds they make eye contact with you and the skin to skin touch gives them comfort. All this helps you bond with your baby better.
Benefits for the mother:
- Breastfeeding helps you burn calories and you lose your pregnancy weight faster.
- It releases oxytocin that helps your uterus return to its pre-pregnancy size. It reduces uterine bleeding after birth.
- It reduces your risk of breast and ovarian cancer.
- It reduces the risk of osteoporosis.
- It saves money. There are no bottles, nipples and formula to be bought.
- It gives you some quiet alone with the baby to bond.
Even if you breastfeed four months, it is still better than not to breastfeed at all. Choose wisely.