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Breastfeeding Versus Bottle-Feeding

Buff Up with Breastfeeding

Baby Doctor

The suppression of ovulation while breastfeeding is both temporary and unpredictable. You should never count on breastfeeding as a means of birth control.

Nursing your baby helps your body recover more quickly from pregnancy and childbirth. Breastfeeding helps burn off the fat that your body stored during pregnancy for milk production. It also activates a hormone that shrinks your uterus more quickly. Because you need to be relaxed to nurse your child properly, breastfeeding also forces you to sit down and rest. This rest promotes recuperation from pregnancy and childbirth, too.

Nursing may also, according to some studies, lower your risk of developing breast cancer later in life. Finally, breastfeeding can-but (alas!) does not always-delay the resumption of ovulation and menstruation for several months. Hooray, hooray!

Breastfeeding Creates Intimacy

Breastfeeding undeniably creates a powerful bond between mother and child, not just physically but emotionally as well. Feeling your baby's skin against your skin can be a source of tremendous pleasure and satisfaction for both of you. Knowing that you are nourishing your child with your own body can also be emotionally gratifying.

Of course if you bottle-feed, you can (and should) also share love and intimacy with your baby during feeding times. But bottle-feeding doesn't offer quite as much warmth as breastfeeding. That's why most mothers who breastfeed insist that nursing is the ideal way to initiate bonding between a mother and her child.

You Never Have to Hunt for a Clean Breast

As long as you continue breastfeeding, you always have breast milk available. You'll never have to run out to the grocery store at three in the morning to pick up some breast milk. You won't have to go to all the trouble of sterilizing bottles and preparing formula.

Not only is breast milk a snap to prepare, it's always at the right temperature. So you won't ever have to worry whether breast milk is too hot or too cold.

Best of all, your breasts are extremely portable and you'll never forget to bring them with you when you take your baby on a walk to the park or anywhere else.

Save Money by Breastfeeding

Breast milk is much, much cheaper than baby formula. In fact, it's nearly free of charge (other than the cost of breast pads and nursing bras). You'll save on bottles, nipples, and-here's the biggie-formula. You'll never need to check expiration dates or throw away expensive formula because your baby wasn't very hungry at a particular feeding. Efficient and economical, breastfeeding generates absolutely no waste-except, of course, in your baby's diaper.

Now that we've looked at the arguments for breastfeeding, let's look at the other side of the question: the advantages of bottle-feeding.

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Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Bringing Up Baby © 1997 by Kevin Osborn. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

To order this book visit the Idiot's Guide web site or call 1-800-253-6476.

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