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Breastfeeding Versus Bottle-Feeding

My Health Won't Allow Breastfeeding


You can protect your modesty and still breastfeed. Try draping a baby's blanket over your shoulder and your baby's head while nursing. Or rather than unbuttoning your shirt from the top to nurse, unbutton it from the bottom or wear a shirt with no buttons. A lifted shirt can conceal most of your breast, your baby's head will cover the rest, and his body will cover any other revealed skin.

If neither of these strategies make you feel more comfortable, you can still breastfeed in private and bring along a bottle of formula or expressed milk whenever you go out in public.

You may have no choice but to bottle-feed. Although less than five percent of all mothers produce either no milk or not enough milk to feed a baby, you may be among that group.

Or you may have a chronic illness or medical condition (cardiac disease, kidney failure, or anemia, for example) that makes breastfeeding dangerous to your health. Though some mothers with these conditions can and do nurse, consult your doctor before you try to nurse if you have these or any other chronic diseases.

Highly infectious diseases such as AIDS, tuberculosis, or hepatitis can be transmitted through breast milk. So if you have an infectious disease, you should avoid breastfeeding.

I Can't Bare My Breasts in Public!

If you feel inhibited about your body, you may find it uncomfortable or even impossible to breastfeed, especially in public places. When your baby gets hungry, she's not likely to want to wait until you find a secluded place to feed her. She wants to eat right away. So if your inhibitions prohibit you from nursing your child in public, or if the idea of your baby feeding off of you seems creepy or makes you very uncomfortable, you may decide to forego breastfeeding.

Modesty and discomfort are perfectly legitimate reasons to choose bottle-feeding. If you can't relax while nursing, your body will not respond well. Your baby will sense your discomfort and become frustrated with feeding, so don't try to force yourself to do something you can't.

Women who bottle-feed are no less loving and caring than those who breastfeed. What other people think shouldn't matter. You know best how to feed your baby. If you still can't make up your mind after considering the various arguments for breastfeeding and for bottle-feeding, try nursing first to see whether you like it. You can always switch to bottle-feeding if you change your mind. But you probably won't be able to switch in the opposite direction. Your body stops producing milk if it's not being consumed.

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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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