If you are considering breastfeeding, there are certain facts that you should know that may affect your decision about whether or not to breastfeed.
The first and most important fact to know is that breastfeeding will provide all that your baby needs to have to thrive and to develop during the first six months of his life. While after six months your baby will be able to and want to have other foods and drinks, you can and should continue to nurse. How long you continue to nurse is up to you. Some experts suggest that you breastfeed until your baby doesn’t show any interest in breastmilk any longer. Others suggest that you can stop any time after six months. Of course, if you are breastfeeding and wish to stop, you should consult with your health care provider.
Breastfeeding gives babies the skin-to-skin contact that they need to have. It is a bonding experience that only a mother and her child can share. Even if you are not able to be with your baby at all times, you can use equipment to help you express breast milk that can be used when you are at work, or when you are not going to be with your baby.
There is some evidence to suggest that babies who are breastfed have a higher boost to their immune systems because of the mother’s milk. Some studies suggest that babies who breastfeed are less likely to experience gastrointestinal problems, as well. How much breastfeeding makes a difference in these areas is somewhat contested, but it is generally accepted that breastfed babies tend to have some health advantages over babies who are not breastfed.
Finally, it is important that you not feel guilty if you cannot breast feed. Breastfeeding is a personal choice that every woman must make on her own. While certain advocates of breastfeeding can tend to try to make a woman feel bad, as if she is putting her child’s life and future at risk by not breastfeeding, the fact of the matter is that most babies who are not breastfed grow up to be as healthy as breastfed babies.