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It's true that there's plenty of research showing the many health benefits of breastfeeding for you and your baby. What's less talked about -- but just as important to recognize -- is how difficult and demanding it can be for many women. Some moms don't produce enough milk to satisfy their babies, or have babies who struggle to latch on or suck properly; while others suffer from sore, cracked nipples or conditions like mastitis (an infection that often develops from a clogged milk duct) that can make breastfeeding painful. Not to mention that nursing is time-consuming, and it can be hard for moms (especially those who go back to work soon after baby arrives) to manage it, even with pumping.
While the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that women exclusively breastfeed their babies for the first 6 months, know that you've already helped your baby immensely by nursing him so far. If you've given breastfeeding your best shot and found that it's just not for you, then you shouldn't feel guilty for wanting to stop. Deciding when to wean your baby is one of the most personal decisions a new mom can make, so we think it's unfair for anyone to criticize or make you feel bad. When you make the switch, know that you can nourish your child with formula (your pediatrician can recommend the best one for your child) and still experience mom-baby bonding during feedings.
Copyright 2009 Meredith Corporation.
The answers from our experts are for educational purposes only. Please always refer to your child's pediatrician and mental health expert for more in-depth advice.