The 111 Benefits of Breastfeeding – For Babies, Moms & Everyone Else
I was fed formula when I was a baby, and I turned out just fine, if I do say so myself. My brothers and sisters were all formula fed, too, and nothing went wrong with them either.
I planned to carry on the tradition of formula feeding when I was pregnant with my first child. I figured nine months of carrying around my baby was enough of a sacrifice – I wanted my body back, and I was intimidated by the rules and horror stories I heard about breastfeeding.
My friends would tell me they couldn’t eat certain things before they breastfed their babies, and they complained about their cracked, painful nipples. I was sure breastfeeding wasn’t for me. I didn’t want to be stared at by people when I attempted to breastfeed my baby in public.
My mind was made up, until one day when I was surfing the internet, and I found the website www.notmilk.com. That’s when it hit me – my feelings didn’t matter. The only thing that mattered was giving my baby the best, healthiest start I could. If you’re on the fence about breastfeeding or you’ve decided not to do it, let me share with you some of the things I learned that changed my mind.
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I’m in no rush to give my baby thrush, and studies have shown breastfeeding is less likely to
I’ve seen babies with thrush – that white, thick coating in their mouth doesn’t harm them, but it does require medicine to get rid of it.
So I pay attention when a study tells me that 18.5 percent of children who received both breast milk and milk in bottles carried thrush, while none of the children who only received breast milk did. (source)
Breast milk helps protect against the trots in tots
Multiple studies have shown babies who are fed breast milk suffer from less acute gastroenteritis than those who are formula-fed.
In one study, formula fed babies were almost four times more likely to have a diarrhea disease than those who were fed only breast milk. (source)
Breast milk lowers enterovirus risk which makes me a happy mom
Enterovirus infections are no fun for babies or mothers. They cause respiratory illnesses, and involve coughing, sneezing and fever.
This study shows that the risk of getting enterovirus went down as the number of times a baby was breastfed went up. The protection was greatest at 3 months, and slowly declined until the protection went away fully at 11 months.
Say what? Breastfeeding protects your baby’s ears
Breastfeeding results in a lower incidence of ear infections for your baby. I’ve seen babies with ear infections – they’re uncomfortable, always tugging on their ears and super cranky. I don’t blame them. I would be too. (source)
Hib is nothing to mess with, and breastfeeding gives antibodies against it
Hib is a bacterial infection spread through the air via coughing or sneezing. Hib primarily affects babies and young children. (source)
Breastfeeding protects the most against a host of infections
Studies have shown that many infections are less common among babies who are being breastfed. These infections are located throughout the body – ears, lungs, stomach, eyes and mouth. (source)
Meningitis scares me so I’ll do anything to ward it off
Meningitis is something you don’t want to mess around with, and it often strikes with no warning. If breastfeeding can help lessen the risk of it, I will try it. (source)
Breastfeeding is built-in infection protection
Breastfeeding offers protection against an infection of the small intestine that is caused by a parasite called Giardia lamblia. Giardiasis causes diarrhea, gas and stomach cramps. The last thing babies need is an infection that dehydrates them and causes them discomfort. (source)
Necrotizing enterocolitis is not only hard to pronounce – it’s life threatening
This condition, in which intestinal tissue is destroyed, most often occurs in preemies. It is much more likely in babies who are formula fed. (source)
The idea of pneumonia panics me
Don’t let your baby’s vaccines lull you into a false sense of security. Pneumococcal disease can happen to children even if they’ve been vaccinated, and it can result in a serious illness that requires trips to the emergency room and stays in hospitals. However, breastfeeding was associated with a decreased likelihood of an invasive pneumococcal disease. (source)
Week-long abdominal cramps are no fun at any age
Salmonellosis risk can be decreased by breastfeeding your baby. Powdered formula can contain the pathogens that cause salmonella infection. (source)
Wheezing is not one of the adorable sounds you want to hear your baby make
Respiratory infections are scary for parents and children. Any time there’s airway obstruction involved, it causes panic all the way around. Breastfeeding can cut down on the risk of respiratory illnesses, and that makes me breathe a lot easier. (source)
Your mommy milk isn’t so easily contaminated
The Centre for Disease Control warns consumers that powdered infant formulas can sometimes be contaminated with Chronobacter. Chronobacter is a germ that can survive dry environments and can be deadly in infants. (source)
Respiratory Syncytial Virus is common, but breastfeeding reduces hospitalization for it
This virus leads to infections of the respiratory tract and the lungs. Almost all kids are infected with this virus by their second birthday. Breastfeeding cuts down on the severity of the illness and the chances it will lead to a hospital stay. (source)
Sepsis can affect many body parts, and can even be fatal
Some of the complications that can occur with sepsis can impact kidneys, brain, lungs and the heart. Breast milk can help cut down on the risk of sepsis. (source)
No one should smoke around a baby, but if they do, breast milk can protect babies from tobacco effects
Seeing someone smoking around a baby makes my blood boil because they aren’t young enough to protect themselves from other people’s bad habits. At least with breast milk, they’re afforded some protection from severe childhood asthma. (source)
UTIs will make babies cry, and breast milk keeps those painful infections at bay
Breastfeeding your baby will reduce their chances of getting a urinary tract infection. I know I would feel terrible if my choice to formula feed caused my baby to get UTIs. (source)
Breast milk can boost the iron levels in your baby’s blood
Iron deficiency can leave a child tired and susceptible to repeated infections. I want my baby to be happy and full of energy. (source)
Autoimmune thyroid problems may be avoided with breast milk
Soy-based formulas may lead to autoimmune thyroid diseases down the road, according to this study. (source)
Babies should be pooping machines, not constipated
Giving your baby regular doses of breast milk may keep them from struggling with painful pooping sessions. And, believe me, when your baby isn’t pooping regularly, you both will notice. (source)
Snoring isn’t cute in children – it’s a medical problem
Breastfeeding for at least one month meant a decrease in the risk of snoring for children at 8 years old. Breastfeeding isn’t just a temporary fix – it helps long term. (source)
I want to protect my son’s family jewels
Breastfeeding can offer some protection against undescended testicles. Someday your son will thank you for breastfeeding him. (source)
Bleeding lesions don’t belong inside a precious newborn baby
Lack of breastfeeding was a risk factor for severe bleeding lesions in the esophagus or stomach. I know I couldn’t handle thinking my choice to formula feed my baby caused this to happen. (source)
Acid reflux really sucks and I don’t want my baby to suffer from it
That feeling like you have molten lava coming up your throat is painful. I’ll do whatever it takes to protect my baby from it, and breastfed babies seem to have less of it. (source)
Living with a hernia isn’t fun whether you’re a baby or an adult
There’s a hormone in breast milk that reduces the incidence of inguinal hernias in babies. (source)
Lactose problems are less common in breastfed babies
Your child is going to have bouts of diarrhea at some point -- there’s no avoiding it. But you don’t want to add to it either. Babies fed with breast milk had fewer instances of lactose malabsorption than other babies in this study. (source)
At the risk of sounding alarmist, breastfeeding could save your baby’s life
It’s hard to believe that’s true, but multiple studies have backed up that claim, especially when it comes to babies in developing countries. Between diseases, infections and more, your baby stands a greater chance of surviving if you breastfeed. (source)
You don’t want to see your baby with a flat spot on his head
Plagiocephaly is a fancy way of saying a baby has flat spots on his head. While some of this has to do with his position throughout the day and night, being cradled with being bottle fed can contribute to plagiocephaly. (source)
Forceful vomiting isn’t a good thing for babies
Babies who drink out of bottles have more incidences of pyloric stenosis -- a condition that causes forceful vomiting, dehydration and salt imbalances. It usually happens to babies in their first few weeks of life. (source)
No baby should be blind, and a mother’s milk protects eyes
Retinopathy of prematurity can lead to blindness because blood vessels can grow in the retina causing it to detach. I would do anything to protect my baby’s vision. (source)
SIDS is my worst nightmare, and breastfed babies have a reduced risk
SIDS is an awful, heartbreaking syndrome. Your precious baby is fine one moment, and deceased the next. I can’t think of anything worse. The good news is breastfeeding does offer some protection against SIDS. (source)
Breastfeeding may cut down on overall allergies in babies
Childhood should be a fun, magical time -- not a time spent suffering from multiple allergies. Give your baby a fighting chance by breastfeeding her. (source)
Imagine having itchy areas and not having the motor skills to scratch them
Allergic rhinitis is an allergic condition that can cause a number of problems, like an itchy nose or mouth, stuffiness, coughing and sore throat. That’s only a few symptoms of the many a person can experience with this condition. Breastfeeding can reduce your baby’s chances of developing it, according to this study. (source)
Seeing asthma flares gives quite a scare
Asthma attacks are scary for both the person witnessing them and the person experiencing them. I never want to see my child struggle to breath, and breastfeeding may help me with that goal. (source)
Baby’s soft skin should never be inflamed and red
Eczema is unpleasant to look at and even worse to suffer from. With eczema, skin can be itchy and cracked, and a baby deserves better than that. (source)
I’d feel like a real ass, for giving my baby unnecessary gas
Cow’s milk allergies are recognized as one of the most common among infants, with up to 15% being affected. These milk protein allergies are often responsible delayed gastric emptying, colitis (gassy babies) and constipation. (source)
Breastfeeding can help flush bedwetting down the toilet
I can’t imagine how embarrassing it must be for children who have problems with wetting their beds, especially in their early teenage years. Although I know I can’t wrap my baby in a bubble and stop every bad thing that can happen, I’d really like to prevent any unnecessary embarrassment that I can. (source)
Better baby temperament for mothers who breastfeed, even those suffering from depression
I can’t imagine how embarrassing it must be for children who have problems with wetting their beds, especially in their early teenage years. Although I know I can’t wrap my baby in a bubble and stop every bad thing that can happen, I’d really like to prevent any unnecessary embarrassment that I can. (source)
I don’t want my baby’s motor skills to run out of gas
Breast milk seems to help the motor skills of premature infants. In my mind, if breast milk is good for a preemie, it’s good for a full-term baby too. (source)
This momma would feel like a dummy if she lowered her baby’s IQ
Every child has talent, and if my child’s talent is that he’s going to be the next Albert Einstein, I’d hate to get in the way of that by choosing formula instead of breast milk. (source)
I don’t have the guts to alter the bacteria in their intestines
Gut bacteria is a vital part of health. Bacteria can be both good and bad, and according to this study, breastfed babies have less bad bacteria. (source)
Breastfeeding sends a message -- a biochemical one
My hormones can do my baby a world of good, helping with her biochemical and immunological growth. (source)
Breastfeeding will help my baby reach gross motor skill milestones faster
Formula babies can be delayed on how quickly they reach their milestones. (source)
Breastfeeding can help my baby express himself
Breastfeeding might help your child’s language development. Learning how to communicate and express yourself effectively is one of the most important skills you learn in childhood. (source)
A thymus is there for a reason, and breastfeeding appears to help it with its mission
Breastfeeding might help your child’s language development. Learning how to effectively communicate and express yourself is one of most important skills you learn in childhood. (source)
See, breastfeeding is good for babies. It helps their eyes
Despite all its problems, this world is an awesome and beautiful place to live. I want to help my baby see it clearly. (source)
If breastfeeding during immunizations can spare my baby one ounce of pain, I’ll take a stab at it
Babies who are breastfed during immunizations cried for a shorter amount of time than non-breastfed babies in this study. (source)
Autism is a challenge I’d rather not deal with, or feel responsible for
I’m sure breastfeeding isn’t the only factor in whether a child develops autism. But if breastfeeding can prevent or lower the risk, even a little, it’s worth it to me. (source)
I’d feel like my parenting skills were the worst if I caused her appendicitis to burst
Appendicitis is so frightening. One day your baby is fine and the next, he’s being wheeled in for surgery. If breastfeeding could possibly prevent that from happening, it would be silly not to do it. (source)
I have a bone to pick with not taking proven ways to increase my baby’s bone mass
Breastfeeding led to increased bone mass in certain areas of the body in this study. (source)
I want my baby to be able to eat what she wants someday, not be ruled by her food choices
Celiac disease can be debilitating. People have to spend an insane amount of time reading ingredients just to make sure they don’t negatively affect their own health. (source)
Oh, behave! Breastfed babies appear to have fewer conduct problems
A child’s conduct sets the tone for how he will behave his whole life. It’s hard to come back from being pigeonholed as having “bad” behavior by teachers, classmates, and other parents. (source)
I’d welcome sore nipples if it meant my child wouldn’t have to
prick herself several times a day
Diabetes is a burden, both emotionally and financially. Breastfed babies have a decreased risk of ending up with Type 2 diabetes when they’re older. (source)
I’d rather my child give me an ulcer from making me worry than me give one to her by skipping breastfeeding
Helicobacter pylori infection can eventually lead to peptic ulcer disease down the road. Breastfeeding appears to lessen that risk. (source)
I couldn’t bear her groans if she suffered from Crohn’s
Crohn’s disease is chronic, and it causes diarrhea, constipation, and abdominal pain. I don’t want my baby to go through that at some point in her life simply because I didn’t think breastfeeding was important enough. (source)
I get the point; breastfeeding protects joints
Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis is no walk in the park for people who suffer from it. If breastfeeding my baby means there’s even a small chance my baby will be spared; I’ll take it. (source)
Can breastfeeding prevent mental health problems in adolescence?
Across the country, headlines shine a spotlight on how severe mental health problems can be. Breastfeeding might protect against some mental health concerns. (source)
Breastfeeding can alter how soon your daughter hits menopause
Menopause doesn’t happen on a timeline. It’s anyone’s guess when it will begin, but this study links breastfeeding with later menopause. (source)
Two simple letters make me want to breastfeed: MS
Multiple sclerosis is an awful disease, and I pray my baby never gets it. All I can do to help make that a reality, is breastfeed. Breastfed babies have a lesser chance of getting it. (source)
Obesity is a growing problem, but I don’t want it to be my baby’s health burden
With obesity, you carry more than extra weight. You increase your health risks and chances of public ridicule. People can be mean, and I want to protect my baby from that harsh reality. Breastfeeding might help me do that. (source)
I’ll risk a few bites now to help my daughter’s bite down the road
Breastfeeding can help your child’s dental health -- especially with overbites. (source)
If we’re attached at the breast now, we’ll be attached at the hip later
Years down the road, I want to be as close to my child as I am right now. Breastfeeding might help me realize that dream because, in this study, children who were breastfed were more attached to their parents. (source)
Heavy metal is bad for kids, but it has nothing to do with music
The heavy metal I’m talking about is the kind a baby ingests. It appears to hurt their concentration and memory. Breastfed kids didn’t have as many issues with heavy metal side effects. (source)
The only voices I want my baby to hear are real ones
Not breastfeeding appears to elevate the risk of schizophrenia. (source)
My fun bags act like built-in stress balls for my child
Life is filled with stress, and there’s no way to escape it. But if breastfeeding takes the edge off, I will gladly do it. (source)
Breastfeeding helps your child avoid having her tonsils removed
I know a lot of children end up having their tonsils removed, but I’d rather skip the expense and the worry by breastfeeding instead. (source)
If my baby ever needs a piece of me, breastfeeding will help her body accept it
Hopefully, my baby will never need a transplant, but if she does, I’ll gladly step up to the plate. And her body will be more likely to accept it if I have breastfed her. (source)
What’s the point of getting a vaccination if there’s no response? Breastfeeding will help that jab do its job
Vaccinations are always necessary, but aren’t always effective. Breastfeeding appears to help certain vaccines offer more protection than they do for formula fed babies. (source)
Protect your daughter’s baby feeders and potentially her life
Women who were breastfed as babies have a lower risk of getting breast cancer as adults. So many women will already get breast cancer -- we need to help reduce that number any way we can. (source)
I don’t want my daughter to become a cancer statistic, she’s so much more than that
Your baby’s overall cancer risk is decreased by breastfeeding for at least six months, according to this study. (source)
My baby should get to decide what lifestyle choices will damage her DNA. I shouldn’t do that for her
My baby may make decisions when she’s older that will have negative consequences for her health, and that’s her right to do that. In the meantime, I want to give her a healthy start by lessening any DNA damage that occurs, which breastfeeding may do. (source)
Hodgkin’s Disease is a horrible thing for a child to go through
No child should have to suffer from cancer, and in a perfect world they wouldn’t. Until science can find ways to save everyone from this awful disease, I will stick to breastfeeding, which has been shown to lower the risk. (source)
My baby’s best line of defense against leukemia and lymphoma comes from my breasts
Breastfeeding appears to reduce the risk of both leukemia and lymphoma, and that’s well worth any embarrassment I might feel breastfeeding in public. (source)
A neuroblastoma diagnosis is something I never want my baby to face
Babies should be learning to crawl and walk, not fighting cancer. Breastfed babies have a smaller risk of getting neuroblastoma. (source)
You’d be nuts not to breastfeed knowing it can protect your son’s testicles
If protecting your son’s family jewels matter to you, you’ll want to breastfeed. It may reduce the risk of testicular cancer. (source)
Breast milk puts the skids on tumor growth
Stopping malignant tumor growth is just what the doctor ordered. This study showed glycoprotein in breast milk may reduce tumor growth. (source)
Hypertension runs in my family, and it makes my blood pressure rise just thinking my child will be affected
The fact that small children can suffer from pre-hypertension is mind boggling. I think of that as something that strikes people in middle age. If breastfeeding can keep my baby’s blood pressure down, it’s worth the effort. (source)
My new favorite magic trick is warding off cardiovascular disease using only my nipples
Cardiovascular disease is scary stuff. One minute, you’re fine; the next, you could be toes up in the morgue. The damage occurs over the course of decades, so I’ll take all the steps I can along the way to protect my baby. (source)
I worry about my cholesterol all the time. I shouldn’t have to worry about my baby’s
Cholesterol appears to be lower among breastfed babies when they become adults, which is another reason for me to breastfeed. (source)
Using our breasts helps protect them from cancer
Breastfeeding offers a benefit to moms -- it protects our chest from breast cancer. (source)
Nursing a baby might kick endometrial cancer to the curb
Lactation may ward off endometrial cancer. Knowledge is power, and it just might save your life. (source)
It’s hard to swallow, but breastfeeding can even protect the esophagus
It seems strange that breastfeeding can protect you from getting cancer of the esophagus, but that’s what this study found. (source)
I’d feel like a real boob if I got Hodgkin’s Disease unnecessarily
Cancer is way scarier than a baby occasionally biting my nipple. I’ll do whatever I can to ward it off. (source)
Ovarian cancer is to be avoided at all costs
Ovarian cancer can sneak up on you without showing many symptoms. I don’t want that to happen to me. (source)
Using the lumps on your chest might help you avoid lumps in your neck
Breastfeeding lessens thyroid cancer risk. (source)
I want to be there for my child’s milestones, and uterine cancer could cut that short
Uterine cancer is another cancer risk that can be decreased by breastfeeding. (source)
I don’t want a ticker that keeps getting sicker because I didn’t breastfeed
I only have one heart, so I need it to be in tip top condition. Breastfeeding makes me less likely to have cardiovascular disease, according to this study. (source)
Breastfeeding may keep systemic lupus at bay, and that makes me a happy camper
Lupus isn’t on my bucket list, and I’d like to keep it that way. (source)
UTIs are a nasty surprise, but breastfeeding may stop them from happening
Urinary tract infections are painful. Breastfeeding might prevent them in mothers. (source)
I don’t want postpartum depression -- I want to enjoy my baby
The only emotion I want to feel when I look at my baby is intense love. Sadness isn’t on the menu. If I breastfeed, I might get my wish for a blissful post-birth experience. (source)
Breastfeeding could be a force field against diabetes
I’m a carboholic -- I love bread, popcorn, and potatoes. I don’t want to count carbs and give myself injections. Breastfeeding might help me dodge that. (source)
I can fit into my skinny jeans sooner than I thought if I breastfeed
This isn’t an earth-shattering reason to breastfeed, but it’s okay to be selfish once in a while. The sooner I can shed my pregnancy weight, the happier I’ll be. (source)
Arthritis would cramp my style, so I’ll breastfeed now to help my older self later
I’m not a wimp when it comes to pain, but I don’t want to test my limits with arthritis. (source)
Make no bones about it -- breastfeeding is good for your skeleton
I don’t want my bones to give out before my body does. I want to stay active as long as I can, and breastfeeding may help me do that. (source)
I don’t want to live my life like I’m one of the characters on “A Nightmare on Elm Street”
I need my sleep -- always have, always will. I don’t want to spend all my time being awake. I won’t be able to function. This study says that “breastfed babies have better sleep patterns.” (source)
If it’s too soon for another baby, lactation provides contraception protection
Turns out, your body wants you to concentrate on taking care of your baby before you get pregnant with another one. Breastfeeding can reduce your fertility in the first six months after you have a baby. (source)
Breastfeeding may put the pause in menopause for mothers
Hot flashes don’t appeal to me, so I’m good with putting the brakes on menopause. (source)
Moms who quit smoking might keep cigarettes from butting back into their lives
Moms who quit smoking during pregnancy may have a decreased risk of picking up that bad habit again if they breastfeed. (source)
The Benefits of Breastfeeding for Everyone Else
Breastfeeding may protect babies from mistreatment by their own mothers
It’s hard to believe anyone would ever want to hurt a helpless, innocent baby, but, sadly, it happens. It might happen less frequently if more mothers breastfed. (source)
I want my baby to be an astronaut – but that doesn’t mean they should be eating rocket fuel
In the past, baby formula has been notorious for being contaminated with all kinds of dangerous chemicals. Perchlorate, a rocket fuel component was reported as being found in 87 percent of the U.S. powdered formula market. (source)
Not having your babies too close together in age may help them all survive and thrive
Breastfeeding helps with the spacing factor, according to this study. (source)
Breasts don’t pollute landfills
With breastfeeding, all you need are your boobs and a baby. There are no formula containers to throw away. I don’t always do everything I can to help the environment, but breastfeeding is one thing I can handle.
Breathe easier knowing that the future generation will too
This might sound crazy, but animal agriculture (such as the dairy cows needed to create baby formula) are one of the largest contributors to global warming, air pollution, ocean dead zones, rain forest destruction and much, much more. (source)
Experts recommend it, and they’re the ones with a medical degree
They are experts for a reason – they’ve studied hard and earned their degrees. They know the ins and outs of why things work and why they don’t. If they tell me breast milk is best for my baby, I believe them.
Challenge a social taboo by using your boobs
The fact that some people think women shouldn’t breastfeed in public is enough reason to make me want to do it. I want to help out all my sisters who are facing that struggle now and those who will benefit from our efforts in the future.
It will give him a head start on his college fund
Breastfeeding cuts down on medical expenses for everyone
Because breastfeeding can prevent illnesses and diseases, there are less medical expenses involved for families who breastfeed. That translates into the greater good with reduced health care costs (up to $17.4 Billion) as a result of optimal breastfeeding for the first year. (source)
Nobody likes scalding their mouth, especially your baby
Moms who are in a rush to feed a crying baby are often tempted to pop their bottle in the microwave, which if done incorrectly can cause severe burns to babies mouths. Breast milk, on the other hand, is always the perfect temperature.
Who says there’s no such thing as a free lunch
Your baby will get all sorts of free meals if you choose to breastfeed. You’ll be giving him a healthy start and the best part is that it will cost you nothing.
Because I love my country
Breastfeeding is associated with higher productivity and lower work place absenteeism for mothers and their children which can only lead to a stronger economy and a better country. (source)
1,300,000 lives could be saved each year
UNICEF has stated that breastfeeding is the perfect way to provide nutrition to your baby, and if every baby were breastfed for at least the first six months, an estimated 1.3 Million lives could be saved each year. (source)
Why Don’t Some Women Want to Breastfeed?
Whether you’re worried you’ll eat something you’re not supposed to, and you’ll hurt your baby, or you aren’t confident you’ll do it right, there are many reasons some women don’t want to breastfeed.
Here are some of the most common:
- Ashamed to breastfeed in public.
- Your husband wants to participate in the feedings.
- Sore nipples and breasts.
- Stress is a big factor. Women are worried their baby isn’t getting enough to eat, or that they are doing it wrong.
- Going back to work.
As we’ve already covered, there are many more reasons to breastfeed than there are reasons to skip it. Let’s look at some solutions to the obstacles for breastfeeding.
- As far as being ashamed, would you rather harm your baby’s long-term health and your own by not breastfeeding, just so you can avoid some uncomfortable stares from strangers? Channel your inner mama bear and protect your baby, and don’t apologize to anyone for it.
- You can pump breast milk, and your husband can participate by feeding your baby bottles of that.
- Sore nipples only last a month or so, and the protection your breast milk offers lasts forever. Plus, there are nipple creams that can help with soreness.
- Stress can be helped by doing your research or talking to another mother or a lactation consultant. There’s help all around you.
- Pumping ahead and storing milk in the freezer will help when you are headed back to work.
What if I Can’t Breastfeed?
Even if they want to, not everyone can breastfeed their babies. Here are conditions and circumstances that may prevent a woman from breastfeeding.
A mom shouldn’t breastfeed if:
- She has HIV.
- She is on certain medications, like antiretroviral medications.
- She has active tuberculosis.
- She has been infected with human T-cell lymphotropic virus, either Type I or Type II.
- She is using illegal drugs.
- She is on certain medication for cancer.
- She is doing radiation therapy.
Moms who have had breast reduction surgery can try to breastfeed and see what their milk flow is like.
If you can’t breastfeed for medical reasons, maybe it is only temporary. You can ask your doctor when you may be able to begin breastfeeding. Getting some breast milk is better than not getting any.
If you can’t breastfeed, don’t feel bad. There are solutions to help your baby get the benefits of breastfeeding, even if you can’t do it. If you have any friends who are currently breastfeeding, ask them if they would mind pumping a little extra for you. You’d be surprised at how many women would be happy to do this to help a baby and a friend.
If you don’t know anyone who is breastfeeding, you could find a milk bank, where women share their breast milk to help those in need.
Just Do Your Best
Motherhood is hard work, and breastfeeding certainly isn’t easy. If you are physically capable of doing it, I think you owe it to yourself and your baby to at least give it a try. And if you can’t do it, please don’t beat yourself up about it. There are other alternatives you can explore.
I’d love to hear from moms who have any questions, comments, or would just like to share their breastfeeding experiences!