Q: I'm 30 weeks pregnant and I feel like everyone keeps going on about breastfeeding. I just find the idea really off putting. My older sister is the worst, she says I'll be letting my baby down straight away if I don't even try. She fed her two for six months each. Do you think I should try or just go straight to formula? Surely it's my body and my choice?
A: Your sister may feel strongly about breastfeeding after her experiences with her own children.
You'll have to tell her that whether you breastfeed your own baby or not is your choice - you shouldn't let anyone pressure you into doing something that you're not comfortable with...
On the other hand, there are lots of proven benefits to breastfeeding that you might want to read up about.
For a start, breastfed babies are less likely to come down with respiratory and gastro-intestinal infections because the mother passes on her own antibodies to the baby.
Breastfeeding also seems to reduce the risk of cot death. There is evidence that it can provide advantages in later life, by helping to lessen the risk of asthma and eczema for example.
There are also benefits to the mother. It may be easier for you to lose weight after the birth and you would have a reduced chance of developing certain kinds of cancer in the long term.
Plus, breastfeeding is free, you wouldn't have to worry about washing and sterilising bottles, or carry around all the paraphernalia required for formula fed babies.
Some mums worry that it will be too much of a tie to the baby, or feel concerned that their partner won't be able to help. You could introduce a bottle after a few weeks, and perhaps even try expressing milk with a breast pump.
No matter how you feel now, you might change your mind when your baby arrives, and breastfeeding even for a short time is good for your baby, so why not give it a try? If you're having problems, here are some great tips for finding help and advice for free within your community. You can get help!
If you really can't face it don't let your sister convince you that formula feeding would automatically make you into a bad mum. Many babies are bottle fed and grow up to be healthy and happy individuals.
Whatever you do, don't spend time feeling guilty, focus on enjoying your new baby!
Were you in two minds about breast feeding? What did you decide to do? Leave a comment below...
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