When I had my daughter last summer I was amazed at the reactions I received when I told people my decision to exclusively breastfeed. Although some were very supportive, others told me I was crazy, or even that it was gross. Immediately after I gave birth, I had a very difficult time teaching my daughter to latch properly. I was truly a slave to my breast pump for her first few months of life. I would try to get her to nurse and then if she wouldn't, I would pump and give her the bottle. Finally when she was 3 months old, I did away with the bottles and forced her to latch. She finally got it down, and ever since then, nursing has been a joy for both of us. Nursing is the most intimate bond a mother can share with her baby. Anyone can play with the baby, give the baby a bath or a bottle, but only a mother can share in that special bond that comes with nursing. I don't judge mothers who give their babies formula, I just feel very strongly that if a mother is in good health, she should do everything in her power to nurse and avoid formula.
There is so much research out there about the benefits of breastfeeding. These are just a few from the American Academy of Pediatrics
Benefits of Breastfeeding:
Perfect combination of protein, Carbohydrate and fat for a baby
Reduced risk of SIDS
Reduced risk of obesity later in life
Reduced risk of breast cancer for mother and baby
Antibodies in breastmilk act as a shield against viral infections for baby
Reduced risk of postpartum depression for mom
Faster postpartum weight loss for mom
Natural form of child spacing, (typically a woman who exclusively breastfeeds is not fertile for the first 6 months after delivery)
Formula cannot offer any of these guarantees, no matter what the package may say.
My daughter just turned a year old and I plan on continuing to nurse her. Society frowns upon nursing in so many ways, especially nursing an older baby. Giving a baby formula would certainly be easier and less time consuming than nursing, but being a mother is about doing whats best for the baby and I believe that providing your baby with such great nutrition is most certainly nothing to frown about.