Many mothers long and look forward to breastfeeding their babies, but there are women who for various reasons are simply unable to breastfeed, while others voluntarily choose not to do so.
There are plenty of reasons why some cannot or do not want to breastfeed and include everything from a feeling of discomfort and breast milk production that is not enough, to an inability for the baby to get a grip on the nipple.
The thought of not being able to breastfeed can be worrying for moms, but you can rest assured knowing that your baby will grow up happy, healthy, and satisfied nonetheless. It’s important to remember that an inability to breastfeed doesn’t make you a bad mother. A woman’s maternal value lies in how much love and care they give, and not how they choose to feed their little one.
In this article, we will list some of the alternatives to breastfeeding, as each comes with its benefits.
The classic baby bottle is an excellent alternative to breastfeeding. The baby bottle is something that is in the picture during the first years of almost all children’s, and even when starting early, it rarely poses any major problems.
Baby formula and bottles are one of the most popular alternatives to breastfeeding as baby formulas are made to resemble breast milk as much as possible and contain all the vitamins and nutrients the baby needs to stay healthy. If your baby has a problem digesting cow’s milk-based formula, your pediatrician might recommend a hypoallergenic formula which means that large milk proteins are broken down into smaller ones less likely to trigger an allergic reaction.
Baby bottles come in different designs and sizes, so choose one that works well for you. If you’re unsure, you can always consult a midwife. You must choose pacifiers for the baby bottle that are just right. Too big or small a pacifier can result in difficulties for the baby when trying to eat.
Remember that it’s important to keep baby bottles and other accessories clean and fresh. Babies do not have fully developed immune systems and you must therefore be careful with bacteria.
If you cannot or do not want to breastfeed, but have no problems using a breast pump, don’t worry as this is a very good alternative to breastfeeding.
It’s also very convenient when you’re not at home with the baby and find it uncomfortable to breastfeed your baby in public. Just make sure that the milk has the right temperature since milk lasts only a few hours at room temperature.
When it comes to the pump itself, it’s recommended to choose a high-quality one that often mimics the baby’s rhythmic sucking, helping to stimulate the milk supply.
If you choose to only give your baby pumped breast milk, without combining it with baby formula, you’ll probably need to pump every two or three hours during the day. Remember to drink plenty of water and eat right to produce enough milk.
If you have difficulty producing enough, don’t forget that it’s perfectly okay to supplement with bottled baby formula. Many people think that it’s a lot of work to only feed with pumped milk, so combining it is a good idea in many cases.
Breast Milk Donation
As the name suggests, perfectly healthy women who don’t drink alcohol, use drugs, or other bad substances are encouraged to donate the breast milk they don’t need. The women are carefully screened and just like blood donation, this is viewed as a generous act since it helps mothers and babies in need.
Breast milk from donors is mainly used for premature babies with low birth weight, fragile and sick newborns. It’s only given after a doctor’s prescription and the parents’ consent and must be documented in medical records.
Although there are people who are still hesitant about this method, many women have come to see this as a selfless act that can significantly improve the health of a baby and even save a life. WHO has even stated that donated milk is the next best nutrition option if a baby is unable to receive their mother’s milk.
As a prospective or new parent, you have the right to learn everything you can about the alternatives to breastfeeding, so that you can make a choice based on the knowledge that exists today.
Every mother wants the best for their child and fortunately, options like baby formula, breast milk donation, and pumping are available today.
Regardless of whether you choose for the baby to get breast milk or breast milk substitute, your decision is a personal one that should be respected and supported.