The early weeks of pregnancy are fragile—and confusing. Here, the answers to your questions.
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Whether to breastfeed may be the most important decision you make while you’re pregnant,” says Solomon. Study after study has found that breastfeeding is healthier for both mother and infant from the first latch through the length of their lives.
Your choice to nurse also takes a load off the planet’s shoulders. The manufacturing of infant formula is an industrial process, and its distribution involves trucking nationwide. Canning the prepared formula requires the resource-intensive use of steel, and the cans may be lined with resin that can leach BPA into the formula. Powdered formula is safer, but you need to decide what kind of water to add. Some bottled waters contain phthalates or BPA, and depending on where you live, tap water may contain pesticides, disinfection byproducts or pathogens.
“Thank goodness we have formula because some women can’t breastfeed,” says Solomon, “but it’s definitely a second choice. While it’s important to acknowledge that mother’s milk also contains some contaminants, the benefits of breastfeeding outweigh any potential hazard.”
YOU lose weight more easily, and lower your risk for postpartum depression and, later, breast and ovarian cancer.
YOUR BABY will be leaner and less prone to childhood obesity. Your infant is also likely to have fewer ear infections and some immunity from common bacterial and viral “bugs.” Breastfed babies also have lower rates of diarrhea, digestive problems, sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) and childhood leukemia.
THE PLANET absorbs fewer carbon emissions from the manufacture and transport of formula. Not as many discarded containers end up in landfills.
There's no better time than pregnancy to think about creating a healthier environment for your baby and yourself.