5 great things about bottles
Why you can ditch the guilt and power up the sterilizer.

Breastfeeding is a wonderful bonding experience between mother and child, and if you can manage it for a few months or even weeks, you are giving your baby a great start in life. BUT. There comes a time in every mother and child's life when the breastfeeding needs to give way to other sources of nutrition. So, whether you're weaning at six weeks, six months or um... six years... here are some reasons to celebrate this milestone.

1. Other people can do it.
Welcome to the party, Dad, grannies, aunts and caregivers! Now you can all also enjoy the bonding experience, and maybe Mom can have a decent night's sleep. Mother's forays into the world of work, shopping or the movies no longer need to be timed according to a strict schedule of the baby's hunger pangs. And if you stay on somewhere for an extra half an hour occasionally you are not committing child abuse.

2. You get your body back.
No, it isn't likely to be the exact same shape – some bits inevitably sag, while other bits seem to expand, even if they weren't involved in the baby's nurturing. Many women claim that their feet grow a size through pregnancy, and while we're on the topic of weird pregnancy changes – my hair went from wavy to curly-frizzy and has never recovered. But with giving up breast-feeding you will be able to spend the day at the office without your breasts becoming rock-hard or spouting a damp patch onto your shirt in the middle of a meeting. It's also a lot easier to feel sexual about your breasts when they're not someone's buffet.

3. Vices are once again welcome.
Large cappuccinos, garlic pizza, heavy loads of dark chocolate and chicken masala are back on the menu without the guilty knowledge that your baby might suffer cramps the following day. Oh, and pass the cheese platter, please.

4. You can see what your baby is getting.
With breastfeeding, there are phases when the baby seems hungry all the time, and you may think your milk is drying up because of the chicken masala from Sunday night. With a bottle it is possible to see that your baby has drunk precisely 376ml and therefore cannot be starving to death quite yet. This can be comforting, especially if you are leaving the baby with a caregiver to go back to work for the first time.

5. Your wardrobe can revert to normal.
No longer does every top have to pass the test as to whether you can haul your breast out of it at a moment's notice – unless you want to, of course. Fabrics that are susceptible to being stained by milk droplets are also back on the list – a scarlet silk corset, perhaps?

And when it's time to say goodbye to the bottle, we've got some great tips here: Banish the Bottle

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