Family First: To breastfeed or not to breastfeed?

Family First: To breastfeed or not to breastfeed?
Meg Willet says breastfeeding her daughter Kate is the best option.
Meg Willet says breastfeeding her daughter Kate is the best option.

(KSLA) - To breastfeed or not to breastfeed? A debate that has separated thousands of mothers. While studies show some nutritional values to breastfeeding, some mothers still opt for formula. A Shreveport mother says after doing her research, she believes breastfeeding will help her to build a close bond with her newborn.

Meg Willet has a new bundle on her hands, her daughter Kate is 7 weeks old. A first time mother, Willet says she knew before little Kate was born she would breastfeed. After doing her research, Meg figured this was the best alternative for her and her baby, but she says the process wasn't easy as she thought.

"I can definitely see why people don't breastfeed or they stop the first week or two because it's really hard." says Willet, "It's painful, I know it can be. I know some people say it's not supposed to be."

But the questions remains, what is the best decision? Breastfeeding your child or using the alternative, Formula. Research seems to point to breastfeeding.

Dr. Diana Bienvenu, Clinical Professor of Pediatrics at LSU Health Shreveport, says infants who are breast fed, particularly ones who are through the first four to six months of life show a 50% reduction in ear infections and a 70% reduction in upper as well as lower respiratory infections.

The American Academy of Pediatrics say there are several benefits to breastfeeding for mother and baby. Such as a 40% reduction in cases of asthma, 65% reduction in diarrhea and vomiting and a 73% reduction in SIDS. Dr. Bienvenu says there are also long term benefits to breastfeeding.

"As children are reaching adulthood we're seeing a decrease in cardiovascular diseases in adults who are breast fed as infants."

Those same adults see a reduction in hypertension and lower cholesterol levels. For mothers, breastfeeding can relieve tension and stress. A mother also has a decreased incident of Anemia when she's breastfeeding due to the blood loss after her delivery.

But, there are factors that could lead a woman not to breastfeed, like their anatomy or the development of their mammary tissue. A woman who test HIV positive should also avoid breastfeeding. A small percentage of women produce littler to no milk at all.

No matter what the decision, Meg Willet says she doesn't pass judgement on those women who choose the latter.

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