Pregnancy ruins your breasts, not nursing..so do not let that sway you.
I have nursed all of my boys exclusively and only on one breast for 14, 15, and 19 months each. Never would I have done it differently. They did not sleep through the night for the first year, not even for more than 4 hours at a time that entire first year, yet I knew I was giving them something that would lay the foundation for the rest of their lives. Nothing could come close to replacing that, no powder comes close to that nutrition and bond I was able to give to my child.
The pros are easy:
-breast is best
-the bond is closer for many moms
-no bottles to wash
-no added expense
-no need to heat or worry about packing bottles
-no BPA or tainted formula worries (it is staggering how often it happens!)
-Honestly, I did not find any cons to nursing. I was so truly enriched by the entire experience. I looks at my boys who are 2.5, 5, and 7.5 and know that I am the one who nurtured and nourished them throughout their first year and then some. I looked deep into those eyes for every single feed, held those little fingers, stroked their soft little cheek, and filled their tummy with the perfect food that grew with them.
Check out this site for a great, concise list: http://www.womenshealth.gov/breastfeeding/benefits/
it also has many links at the bottom
to add to what Andi said-
Pros for mom
~ Losing the baby weight FAST. (while not every woman experiences this, I did!)
~ health benefits to mom- lower chances of breast cancer and ovarian cancer.
~saves a LOT of money
Pros for baby
~breast milk is easier to digest
~tummy troubles less likely with breastmilk
~ constipation is a very common problem with formula-fed babies, that leads moms to introduce juice to early and causes pain and frustration in general. Most breastfed babies have loose stools.
~Baby gets antibodies through breastmilk. In general, breastfed babies are healthier and catch less bugs, as breastmilk helps build their immune systems. Despite being in daycare as an infant, my little one was rarely sick. This also contributes to lower rates of asthma and allergies when older.
~lower risk of SIDS
~and MANY more... (see the link I posted)
I will be honest and say that to some, there are what they would consider "cons." However, this is all personal and a matter of perspective. In addition, there are ways to compromise.
So, the following list of cons is based on what I have read and others have posted in the past.
~Breastfeeding is hard the first few weeks. However, almost all who stuck it out, said it was well worth it. (Did any of us think having a newborn was going to be easy???)
~Much of the feeding responsibility falls on mom. This is also an area where a balance can be found. Some women have the spouses bring the baby to them in the night when it's time for a feed, and have him take care of the changes in the night to share some of the nighttime responsibilities. Some women choose to pump some of their milk so that the daddy can do some feedings.
~Some women worry about not being able to drink, or being "tied down." Again, if this is a concern, a balance can be found. Most (by not all) agree that an occasional drink is OK. On special occasions, you can give your baby a bottle of expressed milk.
on a personal note, I was unable to nurse my baby directly from the breast because she had some feeding problems. This was very upsetting and frustrating, but I was determined to get her breastmilk so I pumped. I found pumping to be exhausting and stressful- so much work without the bonding time without the baby. Despite this, I still feel it was more than worth it simply because my little one got the benefits. She is so healthy and so smart. She thrived despite being born early and tiny, and I know the breastmilk had a lot to do with it.
congrats and i hope your precious one arrives soon and healthy. My best advice would be to give breastfeeding a try. the nurses and lactation consultants at the hospital can be very helpful. even if it doesn't work out for whatever reason, you'll know you gave it a shot. ANY breastmilk the baby gets is gift :)
Andi and Tired did a great job answering your questions. I just wanted to add that if you do try it and it doesn't work out for whatever reason - do not be hard on yourself!
Good luck with your new baby.
Pro...your baby will love it! Besides all the scientific and medical info that supports bf'ing, I do it because my son loves it...he gets relaxed...smiles during feeding! I love watching him!
Breast isnt best. Its just normal. You baby deserves the milk made specifically to tailor his or her needs.
Why would you consider milk for a baby cow when you have human milk right there?
breast milk is the best because it is specifically tailored for your babies needs, your breast milk also changes as the needs of the baby change, where as the only thing that changes about formula is the amount. also one thing i love is not having to wash bottles and have my diaper bag full of bottles and formula just in case i didnt make enough, or trying to find a microwave. or running out of formula lol like one of my girlfriends did cause her hubby didnt tell her he finished it off. its nice to know that what the baby needs and the amount the baby needs is already made and ready to go.