November 26, 2012 9.34 am This story is over 138 months old

Lincoln mum: Breast vs Bottle

Is breast best?: This week’s Lincoln Mums looks at a controversial debate amongst mothers — should you always opt to breastfeed your newborn?

Breastfeeding is supposed to be the most natural thing in the world. Yet for some mums, it doesn’t come as naturally as it should, and for others they make the decision that it just isn’t for them!

Personally I breastfed both of my children – my first born until 18 weeks and my second until 20 weeks. I gave up due to thinking I couldn’t produce enough for what they wanted. I think in reality I could have and should have breastfed for longer, but the accessibility of formula and bottles, as well as bottle feeding seen as being the ‘norm’ made my decision to give up easy. If I was to have another baby I would definitely try and breast feed for as long as possible.

So is breast really best? You can find a long list of the benefits of breast milk. Here are some of them:

  • Bonding with your baby
  • Breast milk is the only natural food designed specifically for your baby
  • Breastfeeding protects your baby from infections and disease
  • It’s free
  • Convenient
  • No sterilising, warming or preparing
  • Help to lose that baby weight

Even though there are all these benefits plus more, there are still some mums that make the decision that breast feeding isn’t for them.

Some new mums try breastfeeding and can find it painful — no very, very, very painful! Chapped nipples and even some bleeding as well as engorgement that can even lead to infection (mastitis). Most pain can be caused by baby not latching on properly and proper positioning, however some people just find this too much and so give up.

For those mums that have problems there is more help than ever. Here in Lincoln, we have breast start groups. One is at Birchwood Sure Start Centre: this is a drop-in clinic that runs on a Thursday between 11.30am through to 2.30pm. You can also find breast feeding councillors through the Lincoln branch of NCT. There is also a Lincoln based breast start Facebook page. The group is very interactive and there are more than enough mums with experience and professionals there to answer any questions you may have.

If you are having troubles breastfeeding don’t suffer in silence, get in contact and get some help and advice. If you make the decision to give up breast feeding as things have got too much and you can’t cope, don’t beat yourself up about it, you have made the decision that is best for you and your baby.

I personally think formula milk is a great substitute to breast milk and I completely understand that some mums make the choice not to breastfeed, I believe it is a personal choice and one that no-one should influence.

Janie Pengilly is a Lincoln mum of two, both under the age of 4, that keep her busy. As well as being a stay-at-home mum, she is also the editor of the new online magazine, Lincoln Mums.