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"Are there any health risks involved with breast feeding?"
I am 6 months pregnant and still can't decide if I want to breast feed. Is there any health risk for me or my child if I breast feed? Is it better to bottle feed nowadays?
First of all, congratulations on your pregnancy! In answer to your questions, most mothers should absolutely breast feed! All major medical associations recommend breastfeeding as preferable to bottle feeding whenever possible. There are essentially no health risks associated with breast feeding for otherwise healthy mothers and babies (in rare cases, such as HIV infection, mothers should not breastfeed). On the other hand, the benefits of breastfeeding are numerous. First of all, breast feeding is a great way to promote bonding between you and your child. It is an intimate experience that allows you to get to know your child quickly. Second, breastmilk has many advantages over formula for babies. For example, it has maternal antibodies in it which help to protect your baby from infections in the first year of their life. Also, the nutritional composition of breastmilk is ideally suited for your baby's growth needs, better than formula. If you choose not to breastfeed directly, you can still consider pumping your breast milk and giving it by bottle to your baby, which is still superior to using only formula. Talk to your OB GYN doctor to make sure that breastfeeding is right for you. I suspect it will be!
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