Expert Q&A: Tips for Successful Breastfeeding
An interview with Laurel Schultz, MD.
What do you tell parents who don't want to breastfeed? continued...
If a woman has thought through her decision and has no misconceptions, and
it seems like a mature decision, I don't try to persuade her -- that would be
disrespectful, I think. But I also tell her that it's very hard to bottle-feed
in this society and that she may get some bad reactions.
There is a very strong bias in favor of breastfeeding out there, which is
probably a good thing, but it can be hard if you don't do it. I also tell these
parents that my formula-fed babies turned out just fine -- they're healthy and
smarter than I am!
And for women who have to give their babies a supplemental bottle of
formula, I reassure them that this doesn't negate the benefits of
breastfeeding. It's the same as having complications when you're giving birth;
it doesn't negate the experience.
Breastfeeding is like parenting in general. You can read about parenting and
learn a lot, but it's like reading about swimming: ultimately, you can only
learn by doing. You have to just dive in.