Should You Breast or Bottle Feed Your Baby?
According to a government report conducted by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention in the United States, around 3 out of every 4 women breastfeed their children. This is an all time high according to researchers who track this sort of thing. Some reasons for the increase include public awareness, changing perceptions about breastfeeding, and educational campaigns geared toward encouraging people to breastfeed.
I always have mixed feelings about studies like this, simply because I know of women who have tried to nurse their children, and have for a variety of reasons, not been successful. So, that ?one? woman may have wanted to nurse, but may not have been able to nurse, for a variety of reasons. I remember very vividly how saddened my one friend became when she realized that her child would have to be bottle fed. Adding to the sadness was the opposition she faced from family and friends when she had to bottle feed.
I had just the opposite with my family when I decided to nurse my oldest child 15 years ago. They were very opposed to nursing and they were very vocal about those feelings. I remember spending many family gatherings in the back bedroom nursing my children just to get some peace and quiet. However, my persistence paid off and many of my younger cousins decided to breast feed their children. It was with pride that I noticed they were able to nurse without being confined to the back bedroom during family gatherings.
I?ve also noticed a positive change since my breastfeeding days 15 years ago. At that time, if your child needed to nurse, you pretty much had to go to the restroom and find a stall where you could feed your infant if you were out in public. Now, it?s common to find rooms in public places for nursing mothers. When my husband and I took our children to a local amusement park, I noticed that there were rooms at the first aid stations where mothers could nurse. There were bathrooms that had a stall specially designed for nursing mothers! Yes, I was back to nursing in a bathroom stall, but at least I wasn?t forced to sit on a toilet seat to do so.
I still think we have a long way to go at least in the United States as far as this issue goes. There are still mothers who are asked to leave malls for nursing, even discreetly, in public. There are still women who face opposition from their families for making the decision to nurse their children. There are also women who face opposition if they are unable to nurse, but must bottle feed their children.
Whatever you decide, I encourage you to do what is best for you and your baby. That may mean breast feeding your child. It may mean using formula in a bottle. It may be a combination of breast and bottle feeding. It?s important to ignore the negative comments and do what you need to do!
What have your experiences been with feeding issues? Have you faced opposition when you decided to breast or bottle feed your infant?