One of the first decisions you have to make when you have a baby is whether or not you’re going to nurse or bottle feed. Everyone has an opinion, some a strong one. If you are on the fence about the subject and not sure what you’re going to do, this article may help you. It will give you some reasons why breastfeeding may be a good option for you, especially if you’re a single mom with not much money and a lot on your plate. All advocates of nursing will tell you that breast milk is the best milk, so I won’t focus on that. These are practical reasons why nursing will make everyday life easier for both you and your baby.
Let me start off by saying that I’m the last person to judge anyone who finds they have to use formula. My first two were exclusively formula fed, and my third, although he nursed for the first 13 months, was supplemented in the beginning. So, take these tips from someone who’s done it both ways.
The first purely practical reason to consider breastfeeding is that nursing is cheaper than bottle feeding. The cost of formula for the first year of baby’s life is high, especially if you’re using the expensive brands. Baby formula for one year costs an average of $1400. Then, there are bottles, nipples, and bottle brushes. Other than an initial outlay for a few nursing bras, perhaps some nursing pads and some cream for sensitive nipples, nursing is free. In the US, WIC will provide free formula. But they will also give a breastfeeding mom extra food and resources.
Another advantage of nursing is the convenience. Not having to make formula and clean bottles is nice. And not having to figure out how much formula to take with you when you go out is also nice. Nursing in general takes less time and is less effort.
Let’s go through a typical night to show an example of this. Your baby wakes up. You get up, and while trying to keep your hungry baby from crying too much, you make the bottle, and then wait the seemingly endless time until it’s heated enough for the baby. Then you feed the baby, and wait for him to hopefully get back to sleep. Then, if you’re with it, unlike I was, you clean the bottle. If you’re like me, you wait until morning when it’s all skuzzy. Then you go back to sleep for the hour or three before you’ve gotta get up and do it all over again.
The baby wakes up hungry. You wake up, pick up the baby, latch him on, feed him while you both doze and then go back to sleep, possibly without ever having to leave the bed. I found that I got loads more sleep with my breastfed child than I did with my formula fed ones, even though he woke more often at night.
So, nursing, when it’s going well, can be cheaper and easier than formula feeding. But it’s not always easy. Getting nursing going well isn’t always straightforward. But it really is worth giving it your best shot. Even if you don’t manage to nurse exclusively, you can still get some of the practical benefits of nursing. If you nurse at night but need to formula feed during the day, for example, you don’t have to make bottles at night and still save on formula costs. And, as a friend said, it’s easier to try nursing and find you have to use formula than it is to start nursing once you’ve been using formula exclusively.
Each mother has to make the choice that is right for her and her baby. But if you’re still trying to decide how you’re going to feed your baby, do take the ease and affordability of nursing into account. Breastfeeding does have definite practical advantages that can make your transition to motherhood much smoother and less expensive.