Despite all the benefits mothers and children can derive from breastfeeding, it isn’t all sunshine and roses. Breastfeeding isn’t always right for every pair, and for some moms, it just doesn’t happen. If you’re still trying to decide if breastfeeding is the best choice for you and your baby, it is just as important to know the drawbacks of breastfeeding as the benefits.
One of the biggest problems for breastfeeding moms is the change in schedule. Breastfeeding babies need to eat anywhere from every one to four hours, and more in the beginning or during growth spurts and illness. A post-birth weekend getaway becomes nearly impossible, and working women are especially at a disadvantage in this respect. It can also be embarrassing for moms out in public who aren’t quite brave enough to whip their breasts out in the grocery store. Lactation can also leaks, causing wet spots on your shirt that can be a bit discomfiting.
Sharing More Than Just the Milk
Although breast milk can provide babies with protection against some pathogens, that’s not all that gets shared. It’s rare for an illness to be passed on to an infant from breast milk, but mothers with HIV/AIDS and HTLV-1 (a disease of the nervous system) are advised to strictly avoid breastfeeding. Certain medications may also be passed through breast milk, such as some antidepressants.
Eating well while breastfeeding is just as important as eating well during pregnancy. Some moms find this limitation in dieting a severe downfall; it doesn’t just mean eating well, it means avoiding bad things. Alcohol is a prime example of this. While having a beer after the baby goes to sleep won’t be a catastrophe, it’s best to avoid drinking. Likewise, caffeine should be kept to a minimum. Cigarette smoking isn’t great either.
Conversely, it can be more difficult to tell how much milk a baby is actually getting; some women fret that the infant isn’t receiving enough milk or that they may not be producing enough. However, this is an easily remedied problem in most cases.
Bottle feeding may become a necessity at some point because of another drawback of nursing: beat up bosoms. The nipples can become sore and cracked, and more serious issues can arise, such as engorgement (the breasts become too full of milk and get large and painful), mastitis (an infection of the breasts), and other problems and infections.