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How Can I Overcome Breastfeeding Difficulties?

How Can I Overcome Breastfeeding Difficulties?

I know that doctors recommend breastfeeding over formula, but I’m having a hard time with it. I've worked with a lactation consultant, but it's still not happening. I feel like a failure and am afraid to admit that I've been giving my baby formula! What can I do?
Tracey

It's true that breast milk is pediatricians' first choice for newborns. And in an ideal world, breastfeeding would be easy and the right fit for all moms. But the reality is that breastfeeding doesn't work for every new mom. Ultimately, you've got to make the choice that's right for you and your family.

Many new moms can't breastfeed due to medical conditions; medicines they're taking; or work, travel, and scheduling issues. And while some find breastfeeding easy from the get-go, it's really hard for others. Even with the help of a lactation consultant, it can feel like the baby just isn't taking to it!

The stress of wanting to breastfeed but struggling with it can be too much, especially with the many life changes that come with a baby. Some new moms find it helpful to pump breast milk and deliver it from a bottle. But in some cases, formula may be the right choice.

Rest assured, commercially prepared infant formula is a nutritious alternative for babies. And bottle feeding offers its own benefits — it allows fathers, grandparents, and other caregivers to get involved with feeding the baby and enjoy quality bonding time. Because formula digests more slowly than breast milk, formula-fed babies usually don't need to eat as often as breastfed babies.

Even with all the benefits of breastfeeding, you're not shortchanging your baby if you use formula. You're doing everything you can to help your baby thrive.

If you continue to have questions or concerns, talk with your doctor.

Reviewed by: Elana Pearl Ben-Joseph, MD
Date reviewed: 2017-01-01