For years, there has been contradiction between which way to feed your child is best. Some argue that bottle feeding, whether it be breast milk or formula, is better because it’s easier and more convienient. Others believe that breast is best because of the connection and health benefits. I believe you should feed your baby the best way you can, but I am more fond of breastfeeding only, and I will explain why.
I have bottle fed my babies, breast milk only of course, and I hated it. I cried watching my husband give my second child a bottle. I wanted him to be able to participate in the feeding process, but since my first daughter wouldn’t take a bottle, I was so used to being the only one who could do that job. So by the time my second came along, I already had that feeling of wanting to be the only source of nourishment. I honestly couldn’t watch him feed her. I didn’t think it would be a big deal, but obviously it was.
There’s a mental and physical connection that happens during breast feeding, and it’s only one that a breast feeding mother can understand. You spend hours everyday starring down at your beautiful baby while they nurse. You imagine what they’ll be like grown up, you see their features changing day by day, and most importantly, you have a primal protective feeling towards that baby that strengthens all the time. But, not only are you gaining strong emotions for your baby,your baby is doing the same with you. They are studying your face and learning that you are the one that they get their nourishment from, that you are going to protect them and be there when they cry, and they’re realizing that you are their safe place. There’s also a special bonding that happens during nursing. Studies are showing that your immunities can be transmitted via skin contact. So, everytime I nurse my baby, not only is she getting tons of nutrients through my milk, but her immune system is getting stronger! This is why breast feeding is so important.
When you bottle feed, it’s not as personal. Any one can feed the baby, so that unique relationship and feeling of security is not developed as strongly. Also, you don’t get that skin to skin contact that helps build the immune system and also can help calm your baby and lower its heart rate if it’s stressed. Now, if you can’t breastfeed, there are ways to still get the skin to skin contact, but if you can breastfeed, do it.
My favorite part of breastfeeding is the emotional aspect. There’s no better feeling than when your baby grabs your finger with her tiny hands and squeezes softly. Then, when she’s full but just wants to snuggle, she pretends to drink while looking up and melting you with that beautiful gummy smile 🙂 When she’s done, she backs off and her mouth is blushed from the heat off of my skin, and she has milk in the corners of her mouth. If you’ve never smelled a babies mouth after nursing, you’re missing out. I know it sounds gross, but don’t judge until you have a baby because it’s a delicious smell that is sweet and unique only to a baby.
Nurse your baby when you can, and savor every moment of it because it doesn’t last near long enough. Enjoy your babies 🙂