Are you thinking about breastfeeding your baby but aren’t sure if you really want to? Having trouble finding a truly non-judgmental source of information that won’t try to sway you towards breastfeeding OR not breastfeeding?
I hope this list of the pros and cons of breastfeeding can be that source for you.
I’m in the process of nursing my third child AND I’ve supplemented with formula, too. I don’t love breastfeeding, but I don’t hate it either.
Here’s a complete picture of what it’s like to nurse a baby…all the pros and cons of breastfeeding from a mom who’s been there.
The Pros and Cons of Breastfeeding
- It’s convenient. Baby is hungry? No need to go prepare a bottle, just whip out your boob.
- It’s free. (On the flipside, formula is expensive.)
- Breastmilk has been shown to boost baby’s immune system.
- Baby’s poop is less stinky than one who has formula. That’s not to say that it doesn’t smell bad, it just doesn’t smell like a typical poop…although I guess this is just a personal preference. Neither one smells like roses, that’s for sure!
- It helps you lose weight quicker, because breastfeeding burns tons of calories.
- You get to consume more calories– hooray!
- You usually won’t get your period if you are exclusively nursing your baby. Between being pregnant and breastfeeding the past few years, I haven’t had my period probably more than a couple times. And it’s been lovely.
- Having to breastfeed forces you to sit down and relax while the baby is eating…several times a day.
- You have bigger boobs (a pro only if you’re typically small-boobed and want bigger boobs, like myself).
- It’s all YOU! Your husband can’t do it. Your mom can’t help out. No one else can do the feedings in the middle of the night but you.
- It might be difficult in the beginning. Latching, positioning the baby, feeling comfortable…these will take a little time. But it does get easier!
- It can feel isolating if you are always disappearing into a private room to nurse the baby (if you aren’t comfortable doing it in front of others).
- Sometimes it’s just not a pleasant experience. It hurts in the beginning and you can even get bloody, cracked nipples. Also, you may have other issues with breastfeeding– check out my post on experiencing a wave of depression every time my milk lets down.
- You can’t go far unless you pump (and pumping sucks!). Be prepared to always have your baby close by until you pump milk for a bottle.
- You have bigger boobs (a con if you already have big boobs, I guess).
- Your boobs will leak. Breast pads will be your new best friend.
- You have to watch what you eat and drink…sort of. I definitely notice a difference in the baby when I have lots of coffee. From my understanding, wine is okay, as long as you aren’t drunk.
- You will eventually get bitten when your baby gets teeth…ouch! For me, that was the cue that it was time to stop breastfeeding and I went the rest of the way with pumped milk and formula.
- It may bother you to breastfeed in public. Or it may not! These will help.
- You might not produce enough milk for your child, which can be tough to accept if you were planning on exclusively breastfeeding. Just remember, supplementing with formula is OKAY! Don’t get yourself upset over it.
In the end, it just comes down to what you are comfortable with. A baby needs to be fed, whether that’s by breastmilk or formula.
Read 10 Tips for Breastfeeding here.