I nursed my baby for almost 18 months. I wouldn't do it differently if I had to do it again (except I could forgo the three months of troubles that I had.)
Reasons for Baby
- It is healthier. Just check out all the formula cans. Formula is breastmilk's top competitor and they admit that breastmilk is better.
- Formula smells gross and the diapers of formula fed babies smell worse! I could barely smell my baby's diapers when he had a bowel movement.
- No baby constipation. The reduced smell thing was awesome considering that my baby pooped in every diaper almost as long as I nursed him.
- You don't have to keep calculations on bottles the baby doesn't finish. There is no wasted or spoiled milk if you nurse. Even if you express the milk, it keeps for 6 hours unrefrigerated, 48 hours refrigerated, and three months frozen.
- Fewer sick visits at the pediatrician. Breastfed babies have fewer ear infections, less diarrhea, and less respiratory issues than formula fed babies.
- Less likelihood of chronic illness. Nursed babies tend to have less instances of allergies, asthma, eczema, obesity, diabetes, and respiratory issues.
Reasons for Mommy
- It helps the baby fat come off and your belly return to normal. After two weeks, I was back in my normal clothes. In fact, I wore regular clothes home from the hospital.
- It's free. I priced formula for my baby. It would have cost me upward of $150 per month to buy formula when he was about three months. That is a utility bill! After a few months, that may be a weekend trip for two!
- No period! Woohoo! (As long as the baby is nursing exclusively and regularly. If for any reason the baby's nursing slows, instant menstrual cycle--I mean like by the end of the week.)
- Reduce the risk for ovarian and breast cancer!
- No bottles to wash if you are nursing. Even if you express and bottle feed, you could afford the ones with the bags!
- Freedom! When you want to go someplace, pack a blanket, bibs, change of clothes, pacifiers, diapers, wipes, and go! (The blanket is to cover when you nurse. We used to go out to the car which was always parked in the shade and I would run the air condoning.). And notice all that can stay in the bag in the car! You don't have to worry about packing enough formula or cleaning nasty bottle when you get home! You can stay gone to visit family all day which we did, go on trips which we did, or not move to far from the bed which we did. And when you get home or the baby falls asleep, no mess to clean up!
The AAP recommends nursing exclusively for the first six months. I had a hard time and couldn't afford formula, but don't sacrifice your bond with your baby for breast feeding. If it is too hard or too painful, just know that there are a great many perfectly healthy babies that were formula fed. Do NOT feel guilty. As long as you provide plenty of love for your baby, your baby will be fine. I know a lot of mothers feel a certain way about quitting on the nursing, but it is ok! Your baby will still love you and you him/her.
But if you are having trouble, I will post my story and some tips soon!