Why Breast Milk is The Best Formula


Challenges Facing New Moms


Are you basking in the glow of child­birth? Maybe the illumina­tion has dimmed and you are pulling your remaining hair out from the lack of sleep. If you’re a career woman, you recognize the challenge of breast­feeding and getting back to work. Should you use baby formula, pump your breast milk, or switch back and forth?

The initial few weeks were a blur for me as a new mom. The struggle to manage every­thing was stressful. For a mother still finding my way, the idea of the inevi­table return to work worried me. Perhaps some questions I had are running through your mind:

  • How can I leave this tiny precious person behind?
  • Can I return to work after many sleepless nights?
  • How can I adapt to day-care drop offs?
  • Should I stop breastfeeding and use baby formula?

As a woman, planning your return to work is very emotional. It is the first time you separate from your baby for long stretches.

Continuing to breastfeed was the best decision that I made! It helped me form an intimate bond, giving my baby extra comfort and protec­tion for a long time. Here I talk about all the ways and reasons to provide breast milk even with a busy schedule.

Importance of Breastfeeding

Breastfeed Baby

Breastfeeding is the best way to ensure your baby’s health and survival. Breast­milk includes complete suste­nance for an infant up to a half-year old. There are other advantages for the mother and child.

  • It produces regular anti­bodies that help your infant resist infections.
  • It’s generally easier to digest than formula milk. So breastfed children are less constipated and gassy.
  • It might bring down the danger of Sudden Infant Death Syndromes (SIDS) during the first year of your infant’s life.
  • Studies show breastfed children have more signifi­cant levels of intellectual capacity.
  • Breast milk may improve your youngster’s health in later years by reducing the risk of being overweight.
  • It nurtures an incredible bond between you and your baby.

Breastfeeding For Cancer Prevention

You now recognize that lactating is part of the pregnancy process. Breast­feeding gives your infant definite lifelong advantages. But it goes further. Breast­feeding can reduce your breast cancer risk.

  • Moms who breastfeed have fewer monthly cycles throughout their lives. This results in less estrogen production. Estrogen fuels breast cancer.
  • Breastfeeding makes breast cells more imper­vious to changes that can cause malig­nant growth.
  • During breastfeeding, you shed breast tissue. This shedding helps drop cells with potential DNA damage.
  • Lifestyle changes come into play. Breast­feeding women quit smoking and drinking and eat healthier food. These practices decrease breast cancer risk.
  • The longer you breastfeed your baby, the stronger your resistance against the disease becomes.

AAP Recommendations for Breastfeeding

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) suggests breast milk as the best nutrition for babies.

  • Exclusive breast milk during the initial six months.
  • When you introduce solids, continue breast­feeding until the baby is a year old.
  • Beyond one year, you can breastfeed as long as both you and the baby are willing.
A Busy Mom’s Guide To Breastfeeding

There are many benefits of breast milk. So it’s helpful to feed your newborn with this wonder food. Now I must acknowledge that breast­feeding has its challenges.

As a mom, you need to find balance in your home and other chores while caring for an infant. Breastfeeding can get tiring and seem unmanage­able. But you have a helpful option—and a decent one at that—use breast pumps!

Get Pumped Up to Return to Work

Some breast pumps are manual and others are automatic. How does it feel? You may feel a bit uncomfortable during the first 15 seconds as your nipples begin to stretch. Then as your milk starts to flow, you may feel a tingling “pins and needles” sensation. Some mothers nurse their baby from one breast while pumping the other. For greater volume, two automatic pumps can pump both breasts simultaneously.

You don’t need to begin pumping until about two weeks before returning to work. Start pumping once every day to become acclimated to it. This also assures you of having some handy for your first days at work. Store milk in 2–3 oz servings to limit waste. Write the date and time on each portion you refrigerate.

It is helpful to begin pumping at home. Start early to make the transition less stressful.

Timing is Everything

Putting away a lot of milk too soon can prompt issues:

  • You’re preparing your body to create more milk than your infant needs. Later if the breast isn’t emptied, it could prompt a clogged milk duct or mastitis.
  • If you do exclusive breast­feeding, you’ll still need to pump a few times each day at work. This is true even if you have a good supply of frozen breastmilk at home.

That’s why you need a good pumping schedule and store just enough milk.

How to Store Breast Milk?

Sanitize all equipment before you start. Are you pump­ing at the work­place? Keep expressed milk in a cool sack with ice packs until getting it to your home refrigerator.

You can use milk storage bags marked with the dates and times you pump them. But, remember the 5-5-5 rule:

  • Milk can stay out for five hours (immaculate*).
  • You can refrigerate milk for five days.
  • You can freeze milk for five months.

* Touched milk can only stay out for 1 or 2 hours.

Babies prefer room-temperature milk from natural-nipple bottle. If it just has a long nipple, they will have difficulty latching onto the areola of your breast.

When to Stop

Experts advise breastfeeding from the child is born. Mothers should introduce other foods alongside breastmilk at least until the age of two. There is not official age to stop. As long as a mother breastfeeds, she will continue to lactate.

By age five or six, some onlookers may accuse a mother of pedophilia. The time to wean a child is actually up to the parent. However, social workers or child protection services may question the family if it continues into grade school.

You Can Do It

Having a busy schedule and breast­feeding is difficult. But, trust me, things get easier with time. Keep in mind, the first few days or weeks will be the hardest for you and your baby. Learn about proper latching techniques from your ob-gyn or pediatrician.

Remember why you’re doing this. It’s for that sweet baby who is depending on you to be healthy and strong. Breast­feeding can reduce your cancer risks. And when you feed your little one, you will both cherish a lifelong bond.

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Co-author Faiza Khan Niazi writes engaging articles about pregnancy and parenting.

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Updated: Mar 9, 2023

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