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Breastfeeding vs. Bottle-feeding
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This is a choice that comes easy to many women, because everyone’s heard the adage: “Breast is best.” And that is actually the truth, for most women. Breastfeeding your infant can help to improve your relationship and bring you closer through sharing the intimate moments during feeding time. It helps with your own body to soothe engorgement and to ease the swelling of your breasts with milk. Breastfeeding encourages your uterus to return to its original, pre-pregnancy size, faster than if you do not breastfeed. Breastfeeding also has many positive effects on your infant’s health, including a reduced risk of obesity, and provides increased immunity against many viruses and infections.

Breast milk is custom made by your body to feed your baby—so it has all of the right nutrients, changing from day to day throughout growth and development to satisfy your baby’s needs. It’s pretty amazing to think that your body produces this magical substance that caters to the demands of your child. Breast milk is also thought to slightly increase your infant’s IQ because it contains certain brain-building fatty acids. You should have a real desire to breastfeed your baby if you want it to be natural and easy. Many women have a difficult time getting into the breastfeeding routine, but after time it becomes easier. Breastfeeding may also postpone the return of menstruation for some time, but you shouldn’t count on it for birth control.

While you’re breastfeeding, remember that you will probably need to increase your calories by 500 per day (over prepregnancy standard), because your fat is burned to produce the milk and your metabolism is greatly increased. That 500 number is a rough guideline—less for women who have more fat stored from pregnancy and more for women who are underweight. It’s recommended that you keep taking your pregnancy vitamin to get the right amount of nutrients to make the best milk for your baby. While you’re breastfeeding, you should pay some attention to what foods you put into your body because your baby can be affected. This means staying nutritious, and avoiding smoking, medications, caffeine and alcohol. Stay away from fish that might be contaminated, you might want to hold off on the sushi until the little tyke is eating on its own. Talk to your doctor about the best diet for a breastfeeding mother.

Women choose to bottle-feed for many reasons. Some physically can’t breastfeed, or they have an illness that prevents them from breastfeeding. Formula will never exactly match the mother’s breast milk in vital antibodies and nutrients that it naturally provides. If you formula feed, you’ll need to mix the formula carefully as directed and make sure the formula is warm, but not too hot. Talk with your provider to see if there are reasons that you should not breastfeed your baby.

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Breastfeeding vs. Bottle-feeding