This post is part of the Breast-Kept Secrets: Breastfeeding Advice from One Mom to Another series. Go back and read all posts here.
Breastfeeding is a beautiful, amazing bonding experience that women have the opportunity to share with their little ones. I’m a huge advocate of breastfeeding, but occasionally I do hear some women bemoan some of breastfeeding’s disadvantages.
While breastfeeding is advantageous to mom and baby on many levels, it does have a few drawbacks that some may see as roadblocks. Below are some disadvantages of breastfeeding and how you can overcome these problems.
Disadvantages of Breastfeeding
1. Breastfed babies need to be fed more often.
A breastfed baby needs to be fed every 1 ½ – 3 hours. This can definitely be inconvenient during the daytime. However, a hidden advantage is that this forces a new mom to take frequent “breaks” with her little one.
See this not as a disadvantage but as nature’s built-in way of giving you time to bond with your bundle of joy. Plus, at night, there is no need to get out of bed, trek across the house, turn on the lights, make a bottle, warm the bottle, and then feed the baby. You can simply nurse the baby quietly and then you can both go back to sleep peacefully with little distraction.
2. Some medications are passed through breast milk.
If you’re on certain kinds of antidepressants for postpartum depression, you may not be able to breastfeed. If you and your doctor feel that you need to manage your depression through medication, you may have to formula feed or look into alternate breastfeeding options.
However, many nursing moms with baby blues find that the oxytocin released during breastfeeding is enough to cure the post baby blues. It depends on the individual situation, and only you and your doctor can decide what would be the most beneficial route for you and your little one. Clinical pharmacologist Dr. Thomas Hale’s book, Medications and Mother’s Milk, is an excellent resource for finding out whether drugs are compatible with breastfeeding.
3. You need to eat a balanced diet.
Nursing mothers sometimes need to avoid foods and beverages that are too spicy, cause gas, or cause their baby discomfort. These things pass through breast milk to babies. Some mothers feel that they have already given up 9 months of having their own bodies, and can’t bear the thought of eating like they’re pregnant for any longer.
The good news is that eating healthy will lengthen your lifespan and get you back to your pre-pregnancy size sooner. So while it may temporarily make you unhappy to say no to that double taco, you’ll be happy you did in the long run.
4. You don’t know how much milk they’re getting.
With a bottle, you can easily see the amount of milk or formula your baby gets. Many breastfeeding moms find it difficult to gauge whether or not their baby is getting enough nutrition at each feeding and often worry that the baby will not thrive.
You can certainly pump breast milk and give it to your baby in a bottle if you’re concerned, but remember, your pediatrician is trained to know when babies are growing at a healthy rate, and can tell whether or not they are getting enough nutrients. If the pediatrician is concerned, there are still more options, like natural supplements and different physical techniques to increase your milk supply that may be able to help. You can also educate yourself on the indicators of low milk supply, so you know if this should be a concern.
The decision to breastfeed or not is one of the very first and most important decisions you’ll have to make over the course of your baby’s lifetime. It’s normal to be worried, frustrated, and even a little scared.
Remember that the advantages outweigh the disadvantages by far. If you are looking for support and encouragement on your breastfeeding journey be sure to join us at Breastfeeding Place. Do you have questions or concerns? Submit your breastfeeding questions. Our authors love helping and will answer readers’ questions!
Do you think there are any disadvantages of breastfeeding? Do the benefits make up for the drawbacks?
Trisha Gilkerson is wife to 4 sweet rambunctious boys and wife to one caring and loving husband. She and her husband blog at Intoxicated on Life about homeschooling, faith, and health. Trisha launched Breastfeeding Place in July 2013 and is accompanied by 20 amazing authors who make the site the most helpful, caring place on the web for breastfeeding mama’s. You can find Trisha at Intoxicated on Life, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest and be sure to come check out Breastfeeding Place on Facebook and Twitter!