There are many reasons a mother may choose to breastfeed. While the option is financially free compared to formula, it can take its toll on a mother mentally, emotionally, and physically. Deciding whether to breastfeed is something you will be faced with during your pregnancy and immediate postpartum, so there are some things to consider when determining if it’s right for you.
It’s essential to remember there are multiple options, and whichever one you decide to go with is always what is best for you and your baby.
Understand the Psychological Benefits
Not many are aware of all the psychological benefits associated with breastfeeding. While yes, it is tough work and requires a strong commitment, it is also beneficial for a mother’s mental health when entering the first weeks and months postpartum.
The amount of comfort, connection, and closeness the mother and baby will feel are immeasurable. These things in tandem can help support the bond between the mother and baby as they get to know one another on an intimate level. Additionally, the skin-to-skin contact of those early days and mornings can help the baby coregulate and soothe in their brand-new environment.
There Are Invaluable Health Benefits for the Baby
One of the most unique aspects of breastmilk is how customized it is when fed to your baby. Through your baby’s salivary glands, the baby can communicate their individual needs to your supply.
What this means is sometimes your baby needs a drink of water, so your breastmilk will supply them with an increase of foremilk, where most of the water content sits. But if your baby is looking for a complete meal, they can make their way to the hindmilk, which contains the highest amount of fat and protein. This type of distribution will ensure your baby’s needs are met every time they breastfeed.
Consider Your Lifestyle Demands and Wishes
A significant factor that plays into a mother’s decision to breastfeed or not will typically stem from lifestyle demands and wishes. Most often, a working mother will struggle to make this decision because of the time it takes to nurse and how often she will be away from the baby. A common solution is to pump the breastmilk to offer a bottle, but again, this can be challenging for mothers to manage.
Another factor is the mother’s lifestyle wishes. Even though they may wish to nurse for 12 months and beyond, sometimes external factors prevent them from being able to do so, and this is something to consider. Things like stress and poor nutrition can decrease a milk supply, making breastfeeding difficult or unfeasible. In these cases, remember that it is perfectly okay to switch to formula.
Factor In Your Support Village
A mother’s support village can make or break her decision to breastfeed. It may not be the right fit for you if you lack support from people around you or you don’t have access to a lactation consultant. In contrast, if you have adequate resources, and your friends and family can help you in other ways, you may feel that breastfeeding is worth a shot.
It’s vital to remember that every decision in parenting and motherhood is personal and always up to the mother to determine what is best. Regardless of how you feed your baby, give yourself credit for bringing new life into this world. Good luck on the journey ahead!