Pros and cons of breastfeeding

Many mothers choose to breastfeed their babies and while there are many amazing benefits, breastfeeding also has its challenges.

Any mother who has breastfed will tell you it is not an easy journey and there are many highs and lows when it comes to breastfeeding. However, there are some amazing health benefits to breastfeeding your baby and it is often more convenient than bottle feeding.

In this article, we will explore the pros and cons of breastfeeding and give you some helpful information about breastfeeding:

The pros of breastfeeding

There are many amazing benefits to breastfeeding your baby, for both yourself and your baby. 

Health benefits

There are many wonderful health benefits when it comes to breastfeeding for both you and your baby. The World Health Organisation supports breastfeeding and states that it ‘contains antibodies which help protect against many common childhood illnesses.’ Breastfeeding is also beneficial to the mother. The NHS lists breastfeeding as lowering a mother's risk of breast cancer and cardiovascular disease later in life.

Breastfeeding and bonding

Create a strong bond

Breastfeeding can be tricky, however, once you have got into a settled routine you will relish spending special one on one time with your baby. Breastfeeding can help to establish a strong bond between you and your baby, as you hold your baby close and take time out of your day to spend time with just your baby.

It's free and convenient

Another benefit of breastfeeding is the fact that it is free and convenient. There are some small costs such as breastfeeding bras, and pads, however, these are usually single purchases (if you use reusable breast pads). Breastfeeding can be done anywhere, anytime. You don't have to clean and prepare a bottle and your breastmilk will always be at the right temperature.

Cons to breastfeeding

Although there are some amazing benefits, breastfeeding is not always an easy journey. Below are some of the reasons why breastfeeding could be difficult for you.

Getting started difficulties

Getting started with breastfeeding isn't always easy, and some mothers struggle to establish breastfeeding. When babies are born they can be very sleepy and are sometimes not interested in breastfeeding at all.

Breastfeeding can also feel uncomfortable and it can take a while for your milk to establish fully. Breastfeeding mothers can also develop mastitis if a milk duct becomes blocked. However, with the help of a breastfeeding specialist, you can often overcome these difficulties and have a happy breastfeeding journey.

Returning to work

Returning to work after having your baby can make breastfeeding difficult. All workplaces are required to support breastfeeding mothers by providing a safe place to pump and store breast milk. However, breast pumping is not always easy, and buying a breast pump can be expensive.

If you plan to breastfeed after returning to work, make a plan and talk to your employer. It may be tricky to start but will be worth it for you and your baby in the long run.

Breastfeeding at work

Medication and diet

When you are breastfeeding you need to be conscious of the food and medication you are consuming. Small traces of the food and drink you consume can make their way to your breastmilk, such as caffeine, dairy, and alcohol.

Also if you are taking certain medications you may be advised not to breastfeed at all, as certain medicines can pass through your milk to your baby.

Talk to your midwife or doctor about your diet and medication if you plan to breastfeed. They will be best placed to offer you the most appropriate advice on diet and medication.

Final thoughts

Breastfeeding is a wonderful experience for many mothers and is the ideal way to feed your baby if you can. Breastfeeding can help protect your child from future illnesses and is a convenient way to feed your baby.

However, breastfeeding can also be very difficult, painful, or impossible for mothers who are taking medication. If you plan to breastfeed your baby, and you have worries, you should speak to your midwife or doctor about your concerns.

Regardless of how you choose to feed your baby, it is your choice and you should choose the best method for feeding your baby to meet their nutritional needs. 

1 of 8