Advantages and Disadvantages of Breastfeeding

By | 25/11/2015

Advantages of breast feeding for baby

During your pregnancy you would have been told about the benefits of breast feeding.   Breast milk is a what nature intended your baby to have and is definitely the best for your baby.

In those very first few days after baby is born your breast milk will contain colostrum.  It  Is breastfeeding bestis a yellowish liquid that is packed with valuable proteins that your baby needs for the development of his immune system.

This protein is easy for baby to digest.  It is easily absorbed especially by baby’s developing brain.    The fact is breast milk in those early few days is superman food for your baby.  Designed by nature, delivered  by mother.

Breast milk increases baby’s resistance to infection, it is sterile, decreases the risk of allergies, reduces tummy upsets and constipation.   Baby is also less likely to develop lactose intolerance.

Advantages of breast feeding for mum

For the first couple of weeks you will be feeding baby every four hours and sleep deprivation is a big problem.  At this time it is so much easier for the exhausted mum to breast feed.

When baby wakes in the middle of the night all you have to do is put him on the breast.  The last thing you will want to be doing is to get up and heat a bottl of formula for him.  Breast feeding really is the no fuss, no mess convenient way of feeding baby.

Mum also has the peace of mind that what her baby is getting is the best there is.  No preservatives, no additives and all natural as nature intended.  Apart from all the necessary nutrients that breast milk contains such as easily digested vitamins and minerals, it is readily available, without fuss or mess, when needed and always at the right temperature.  As an added bonus it costs much less than formula.

So what are the disadvantages

First and foremost for many mums is the fact that there is no way to measure how much milk baby is getting.

bonding with dadNo one else can feed your baby.  This is one of  of the arguments put forward for choosing formula over breast feeding.  If this is your only reason for deciding not to breast feed then you can express your milk and get dad to give you a break from feeding at night.  This will promote father and baby bonding and give you a well earned rest.

Breast feeding can cause mums nipples to crack and this is quite painful for mum when she feeds baby.  Care of your nipples at this time is very important.

When your breasts are engorged with mild it can be painful.  Mastitis can be a problem for some women.  There can be some breast leakage that can be embarrassing when it is visible on your clothes.

Mum may have diet restriction when she is breast feeding.  For instance it is advisable to give up alcohol if you are breast feeding.  It is recommended that you only have one or two glasses of wine  a week.

Although breast feeding a baby is as natural as breathing a lot of narrow minded people may find it offensive.  You  may not be comfortable feeding baby in public.

Breastfed babies tend to wake up more often at night and this can be a real problem for an exhausted new mum.

Last but not least, when you decide to stop breast feeding it may take up to 2 weeks for your milk to dry up.  The only way is to stop breast feeding altogether and wear a firm bra until your milk is gone.

Summing up

As you an see there are a number of pros and cons associated with breast feeding.  The benefits for the baby are definitely a good reason to breast feed.  It will give your child the best possible start in life and also make feeding baby a lot easier for you.

On the downside it can cause a lot of discomfort for mum.

Both of babies parents should decide what is the best way for them.  You may feel pressured by friends and family to breast feed but remember, this is your baby and it is your choice.

What ever you and your partner choose I am sure the decision will always be in the best interests of the entire family.  Mum, Dad and baby.

I hope this has helped you in some small way and I would love to hear your comments on the subject so why not drop me note below and let me know how you are getting on.

Is breast feeding best


4 thoughts on “Advantages and Disadvantages of Breastfeeding

  1. Sarah

    Hi Margaret! I’m nursing my third little boy right now and love that I’m able to give him breastmilk. Both my previous boys nursed until about eight months old. Then they just got bored of me, honestly, and preferred a bottle. I kept pumping still as long as I could, but just kind of dried up a month later. I did almost every trick in the book to keep a milk supply even while exclusively pumping, but it didn’t last. What would you recommend I try this time? I would have oatmeal every day, take fenugreek herbs, pump every two hours and first thing in the morning, and even hand express after pumping to get the rest. Thanks!

    1. Margaret Post author

      Hi Sara,

      It sounds like you have done everything you should to continue nursing your babies so I hunted around and found a site with an excellent video that just might help you. It is about maximizing milk production and although it is more advice for mothers of premature babies I thought it might have something that will help you to continue nursing for awhile longer than 8 months. Here is the link for the video

      I hope this helps and would like to hear how you go if you have time to drop in again and leave a message.

      My very best wishes to you and your beautiful family.


  2. Derek Marshall

    HI there,

    An excellent article and you have weighed up the pros and cons of breast feeding rather well. I would have not thought there would be any disadvantages against breast feeding as is 100% natural.

    Has to be said, disadvantages of bottle feeding, well, that i snot milk that you are giving the baby, which is why it is called formulae. Full of chemicals.

    1. Margaret Kennedy Post author

      Hi Derek,

      Thanks for your comment. You are right it would seem that because breast feeding is natural there would not be any disadvantages. Really the only disadvantages are to the mum not the baby unless the baby develops lactose intolerance and then it can be a problem. The Australian Breastfeeding Association website has a good article on this. .

      I do worry about mums who are unable to breast feed as this can carry a lot of guilt for them. If is natural so they start to wonder what is wrong with them and fell they have failed and that is really sad.

      Baby formulas are not ideal but they are made with cows milk which has been modified to suit human babies and they do carry the nutrients a baby needs. I would suggest every mother who is considering not breast feeding read this article on Choosing Baby Formula and that they get into a good habit of reading the content labels one very baby product they buy.

      Many thanks



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