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7 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Feel Guilty About Bottle Feeding Your Baby

No one can argue that a mother's milk is specifically designed for her newborn’s digestive system. In an ideal world, breast milk is the perfect nutrition for your baby. Despite the fact that medical experts trust breast milk over formula, breastfeeding does not work for all women.

Deciding to bottle feed your baby with infant formula is a major decision. When you begin to share your view with others, you soon realize that the breast vs. bottle debate is a polarizing issue. It seems everyone has an opinion on breastfeeding.

There are many reasons why women today are choosing bottles over breasts, but not without backlash. If you are facing opposition about your decision to feed your baby with formula instead of breast milk, here are 7 reasons why you should be able to choose the bottle without the guilt trip.

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7 Bottle Feeding Is Right For Your Family

Breastfeeding is highly recommended by pediatric groups, but there are a number of situations where breastfeeding is not convenient, nor possible.

Milk Insufficiency

Most mothers have an ample milk supply, but some women experience a milk insufficiency. This is when a woman cannot produce enough milk to sustain her baby. Milk insufficiency syndrome happens to 5% of mothers.

Multiple Children

Lactating women need to feed their newborns 8-12 times per day. The milk demand can outweigh the supply if you have twins or higher multiples of children.

Breast Surgery

Women who have had breast surgery or mammary augmentation may experience issues with lactation and breastfeeding.

Equal Bonding For the Whole Family

Feeding time is an excellent opportunity to bond with a baby. By bottle feeding, everyone can share in the experience, including your partner, the baby’s siblings, parents, and in-laws.

For these and other reasons, powder or liquid formula may be necessary as an alternative or supplement to breast milk.

6 It’s Your Decision

Nurses and midwives will encourage you to start nursing usually within the first hour after delivery. If this is not your choice, don’t be afraid to let the birthing team know. Some hospitals may have formula available for your newborn, but others may not. Be prepared with your own bottle if they don’t.

If you face opposition, you may feel intimidated, especially if you’re a first-time mother. Yes, other women have done it before, and they have their own insight. Still, their insight is based on a personal perspective. An over-zealous maternity team or other mothers shouldn’t make you feel inadequate over your decision to bottle feed. Midwives, nurses, and doctors should encourage you no matter how you decide to feed your baby.

Being a good mother is not dependent on your decision to breast or bottle feed your child.If you’ve decided against nursing, be prepared with your argument. Ignore the judgment and the guilt, and stand firm with your decision.

Ultimately, there is a right way to feed your child; it’s when you provide enough sustenance that allows your baby to thrive. However you choose to provide that food is up to you.

Breast is best if you and your infant are well. Ultimately, your baby will be happier when you are happier. 

5 When Breastfeeding Causes Depression

Many mothers who have chosen to nurse have taken on a physically challenging task, and they are doing it successfully. Their efforts should be applauded. But there’s a tendency to undermine women who have chosen to bottle feed. These women do not deserve any less credit.

There is so much pressure to be the perfect mother. And with the added pressures of people telling you what to do, even when it’s not working for you, all of this can be very troubling. Some women fall into emotional depressions, having feelings of failure and agonizing guilt.

The “Baby Blues” affect roughly 80% of new mothers. This sadness can develop out of various factors, such as hormonal imbalances, postpartum recovery, and even troubles with breastfeeding.

First, you should never choose to breastfeed at the expense of your mental health. Second, if you’re conflicted about your decision, that shows how much you care about your child. Don’t become overly stressed about your decision. You may be set in your ways before delivery, and then change your mind after birth. That’s fine, too. Just go with your gut instinct.

You need to do what is best for you and your family. Like labor, delivery, and parenthood in general, you have to go with the flow. Do what feels best for the health of you and your baby, and you’ll weather the storm.

4 Combination Feedings

When a baby starts to nurse directly from the breast, this is the beginning of a habit. The longer you continue, the more the baby will become attached to you and your breast milk. This may not be a problem if you can nurse until your baby is ready for solid foods. But if you need to return to work, this can cause a major disruption in your newborn’s feeding schedules.

Your baby will probably struggle if you immediately stop breastfeeding and start using bottles with formula. Everything about this change is drastic, and your baby will be reluctant to switch. This is why many mothers start with a combination of breastfeeding and bottle feedings from birth.

For many women, the bottle vs. breast decision is really a matter of convenience. Combination feedings work well if mom needs to be away from home. You may find the separation anxiety easier if other people can feed your baby.

Plus, babies who supplement with formula tend to feel more satisfied than with breast milk alone. Because of its composition, mother’s milk is digested quickly in a baby’s small stomach. The formula tends to keep the baby feeling fuller. As a consequence, your little one will sleep for longer periods.

The bottom line is to do your own research and come to your own conclusions. You can breastfeed, you can bottle feed with formula, or you can use a combination of both options. When you weigh the pros and cons, it really comes down to one thing: which option is best for you and your family?

3 The Process Can Be Uncomfortable

The breast-is-best advocates will encourage you to stick with breastfeeding no matter how tough it gets. But, it’s your body that has to go through the process. These are just a few reasons why many women today find it too hard to breastfeed:

Engorged Breasts

Some women begin to breastfeed and then realize that they are producing too much milk. A full breast that is engorged with milk can make feedings difficult and uncomfortable.

Teething

Teething usually occurs between 4 and 7 months. You don’t have to stop breastfeeding when your baby’s teeth start to come in, but baby bites on a tender nipple can be a painful stage.

Breastfeeding in Public

Many women prefer not to breastfeed in public. A public space doesn’t have to mean a mall or park. Some women don’t feel comfortable breastfeeding in front of their parents. Some don’t even feel comfortable in front of their partners. This is why some women forgo nursing altogether.

Breast Pumps

This pump is a device that draws the mother’s milk out of the breast. Some women prefer pumping their milk over breastfeeding because they claim pumping is less painful. If you choose to feed your baby from a bottle using your breast milk, a breast pump could be a good investment.

Whatever your case for deciding to bottle feed, there’s no need to feel embarrassed. It’s important that you feel comfortable with your feeding method. You have already done so much to get your baby to this point. There’s no reason to feel guilty if you are unwilling or unable to breastfeed. 

2 Positive Research For Formula-Fed Babies

Studies show that breastfed babies build immune systems to fight infections because the antibodies in mother’s milk help ward off viruses and bacteria. The chance of food allergies, asthma, and infections are lowered if children are breastfed exclusively during the first six months of life. There is also a link between nursing and higher intelligence in children, stronger bonds between mother and babies, and lower risks of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome).

With so many advantages of breastfeeding, you may feel guilty for choosing formula. While there are several endorsements for nursing, and for good reason, bottle fed babies do not necessarily experience negative effects.

2014 study by the Social Science & Medicine reported that breastfed babies and bottle-fed babies showed little difference in their developments. Further research shows that formula provides newborns and infants with the nutrients they need to develop and flourish.

And if you lose sleep worrying that bottle feeding will prevent bonding with your baby, you can rest your weary head. The truth is, loving moms will make a loving connection whether they feed from a breast or from a bottle. No matter how you provide food, you can hold your baby close, look into his or her eyes, and spend one-on-one time strengthening your bond.

1 The Dreaded Question

As soon as a pregnant woman starts to show, she becomes a target for all sorts of attention. You will likely be asked if you are planning to nurse over and over again. If you choose to formula feed from birth, you will, no doubt, face criticism and opposition.

Even if you are determined, the benefits of breastfeeding will be reinforced. Your doctor, family members, and close friends probably won’t hold back. If they don’t agree with your decision, they will want to know your reasons for wanting to bottle feed. This may leave you searching for answers.

If you’re adamant about bottle feeding, be prepared to face criticisms with intelligent responses. Feeling confident in your decision will require not only courage but knowledge.

When casual acquaintances, neighbors, or random strangers ask the breastfeeding question, it can imply that the judgment brigade is on its way. If the person doesn’t know you very well, it makes you wonder why they want to know the answer to this somewhat personal question.

Perhaps you haven’t decided if you’re going to breastfeed your baby. If you have decided, maybe you don’t want to hear other people’s opinions. Either way, it’s your choice. You really don’t owe anyone an explanation, especially people you barely know.

If you’ve decided to use formula for your baby, and you don’t feel the need to offer detailed information, you can offer the following short responses:

1. “We haven’t decided.”

2. “No. I have my reasons.”

3. “My child will be fed.”

Obviously, there are several advantages to breastfeeding, but what your baby truly needs is a happy mom. Whether you choose to bottle feed or breastfeed, your baby will adapt.

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