The decision over whether or not to breastfeed your baby is something that is very personal and also very difficult for a lot of women. While most professionals agree that breast milk is the absolute best thing for babies to eat, not all women are capable of breastfeeding, and some of them just don't want to for their own reasons. And that's ok, because every mom needs to do what is best for her family without being judged by others for her choice. Period.
And even though the pressure put on women to breastfeed probably isn't ever going to completely go away, bottle-feeding moms may soon be less subjected to the guilt and stress that comes with their choice, because new research shows that when probiotics are added to infant formulas, they boost your baby's immunity, giving the formula many of the same beneifts as breast milk.
The theory behind the concept is that breastfed babies typically get sick less than formula fed babies, because they get natural bacteria passed on by their mother. By adding probiotic bacteria into formula, the baby's gut gets coated with the good stuff, making their immune systems more closely mirror those of breastfed babies.
Geez. I sure wish this news had come out about six years ago. I tried my hardest to be a breastfeeding mom. I really did. And I succeeded for all of about two weeks before I found myself emotionally and physically exhausted and needing some help from my husband to feed our little guy. My initial plan was to pump and then just bottle feed him breast milk, but after about two days of doing that, my ridiculously expensive breast pump quit working entirely -- so I took a deep breath and switched over to formula for good. And I never looked back. But I've gotten more than my fair share of shocked and dirty looks from people anytime I've mentioned that story ever since.
At least if this probiotic stuff had been around when I had my son, I would have felt a little bit more confident and headstrong in my decision and wouldn't have felt the need to defend myself like I had committed some sort of crime against my child. (Lighten up already, people!) Hopefully as more of this new formula starts hitting the market, there will be less new moms who have to endure the same scrutiny and judgement as I did. It's certainly about time for formula feeding moms to get the support they deserve.
Have you felt guilty over choosing to formula feed your baby?
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