Mothers who give up breastfeeding, state that it is because of the discomfort or embarrassment they feel. Both of these reasons are understandable, but they can both be overcome. All it takes is patience.
A mother can avoid the pain of sore nipples by making sure that her baby is ‘latched on’ properly. This means that the baby sucks on the breast in the correct position. The nipple should be placed well in to the baby’s mouth. It is the areola (the dark area surrounding the nipple) that the baby actually sucks on; not the nipple. Getting the baby to latch on reduces the baby’s chances of becoming “gassy”, and also allows the baby to control the flow of milk – something that is easier for the baby to do when breastfeeding rather than bottle feeding.
Also, the mother can take some general steps to avoid painful nipples. Nipples should be exposed to air as much as possible. If this isn’t possible, then plastic dome-shaped breast shells (not nipple shields) can be worn to protect your nipples from rubbing by your clothing. Don’t over wash the nipples; bathing once a day is more than enough.
Engorgement of the breasts usually occurs 3 to 4 days after birth but can be avoided by getting the baby to latch on correctly. However, if your breasts become engorged to the point of severe discomfort or if the baby is not able to suckle, cabbage leaves seem to help decrease the engorgement more rapidly than ice packs or other treatments. If you are unable to get the baby latched on, start cabbage leaves, start expressing your milk and give the expressed milk to the baby by spoon, cup, finger feeding or eyedropper. If it persists consult your midwife or health visitor.
Embarrassment of breastfeeding is something that Western society seems to condone. It was not always so. If you feel this way you should discuss this with your partner and family. If the support is not forthcoming, then try to educate them! Finally, use your doctor or midwife as a support. Attitudes in the medical profession have changed drastically in recent years and you should find a lot of support at your local clinic. If you don’t then change clinic, midwife or doctor.
Breastfeeding really is a lot easier than bottle feeding and it is certainly a lot better for your baby. Companies making milk formula tell us how their formula is ‘the most like breast milk it has ever been’. Maybe this is true, but it never will be as good as breast milk. If you read the ingredients on the side of the tin you will find many of the following: vegetable oils; disodium guanosine-5, monophosphate, taurine, magnesium, sodium citrate, pantothenic acid, potassium chloride, beta-carotene and biotin. What exactly is disodium guanosine-5? Companies have been making formula for only the past century; women have been making breast milk a lot longer than that. Also, formula is made for everyone’s baby, whereas a mother’s breast milk is unique; it’s made only for her child.
Getting up in the middle of the night to feed a baby is incredibly tiring. Why make it even more tiring than it already is by bottle feeding? When you bottle feed, you have to get out of bed and boil water, make the formula and then wait for it to cool before you can feed baby. When you breastfeed you don’t have to even get out of bed, if you child is in a crib beside you. You can feed your child and go back to sleep far sooner than if you bottle feed.
Some other things that make breastfeeding easier than bottle feeding;
1. It’s cheaper.
2. It’s a lot easier to clean your breasts than a whole stack of bottles.
3. Breast milk doesn’t leave permanent stains on clothes, unlike formula.
4. You can go anywhere, at anytime on the spur of the moment. You don’t have to worry about having enough formula.
5. You also travel light; no need to bring a bag full of bottles and formula
Breastfeeding may be harder to get started than bottle-feeding for a lot of mothers, but the benefits outweigh these early problems. So, if you were thinking of bottle-feeding rather than breastfeeding, think again. Breast milk is pure goodness for your child and breastfeeding makes life a lot simpler for mothers.