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Breastfeeding Versus Formula Feeding: Why Not Try A Third Option?

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There has been a lot of debating over the years about breastfeeding versus formula feeding. Each side lists their reasons for choosing the option they did. Talking to several first-time mothers about their experience with breastfeeding, it was rarely what they thought it was going to be and several young mothers gave up because it was too hard in the beginning especially being sleep deprived. I was about to give up as well until I discovered a third option, exclusively pumping and then bottle feeding

my children.

First of all, why not just give up completely and turn solely to formula? I am not one to judge someone else's decision, but for me it was hard to argue the benefits of breastfeeding. According to Webmd, breast milk is the ideal nutrition for infants. It offers a nearly perfect mix of vitamins, protein, and fat. Plus, the pre-milk referred to as colostrum, is chalked full of antibodies helping your baby against infections. There are also benefits to the nursing mother: burning calories, bringing the uterus back to pre- pregnancy size and lowering the risk of breast and ovarian cancers.

If you feel strongly that you want you and your baby to benefit from breastfeeding, but can't nurse due to medical issues or maybe it just isn't for you, try pumping.

Pumping is double the work so it's not for the faint of heart. First, you have to pump and then you have to make bottles. You and your breast pump will become good friends. But it can work, be very rewarding and you will get the best features of breast milk and bottles.

Here are the benefits of exclusively pumping:

Scheduling: If you are a type A personality or like order in your life, you can surprisingly still have this while the mother of an infant with pumping. The goal is to match the amount of feedings your baby will need based on their age. Talk to your doctor, but in the beginning babies

eat every two to three hours so you will need to plan to pump this amount every 20 minutes including overnight.

Multi-Tasking: I suggest getting a hand-free pumping bra. While you pump for your 20 minutes, you can use this time to snuggle with your baby, read that book you've been wanting to tackle or close your eyes for a few minutes. If you already have another child at home, I used this time to read books to my toddler and made her feel special with someone on one attention.

No Frustration: Although it sounds like a lot more work at first, if you were fed up with trying to nurse, it is actually less work. No need to call the lactation consultant, spend several minutes trying to get your baby to latch on or constantly wanting to give up.

Others Can Feed Your Baby: Since you are using bottles, you can get help with the feedings. Everyone always wants to meet your new babies and sometimes that's hard when they are constantly nursing. With pumping, you can let your guests help feed your baby. At night, if you have a partner, he/she can help with the feedings and also have some bonding time with your child.

Great Resources: I found a great book called, Exclusively Pumping Breast Milk: A Guide to Providing Expressed Breast Milk for Your Baby, by Stephanie Casemore.This book really helped me feel like I wasn't

alone in my decision and that there was a plan to follow to make this process work. Another online site is KellyMom. There is a section on this site that talks about the process and is not judgmental in the decision to exclusively pump.

Have you considered exclusively pumping or are you currently choosing this method to feed your baby?