19 October, 2012

31 Days of Breastfeeding: Why?

If you had asked me 5 years ago if I would even consider breastfeeding my future kiddos, the answer would've been no. A very emphatic no. I had absolutely no desire - zero, zilch, nada - to let a baby munch on my nipples. They make bottles and formula for that! 

Even when Joe and I got married and talked about kids, I still had no desire to breastfeed. And then one day...I considered the idea for more than 2 seconds. My SIL breastfed my niece. My bestie breastfed her little girl. I made friends here in Hawaii who breastfed. Hmmm.

The more I talked to my bestie - and even my SIL some - about it, the more I considered it. Everywhere I looked, moms were saying, "It's great for babies!", "Such a unique, sweet bond!"And, of course, I did some research. 

Source: notmilk.com via Sarah on Pinterest

First of all, the AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics) recommends breastfeeding:

The American Academy of Pediatrics reaffirms its recommendation of exclusive breastfeeding for about 6 months, followed by continued breastfeeding as complementary foods are introduced, with continuation of breastfeeding for 1 year or longer as mutually desired by mother and infant. Medical contraindications to breastfeeding are rare.

As you can read in the article linked above, breastfeeding helps to prevent things like: bowel infections/diseases, allergies, asthma, SIDS, juvenile diabetes, respiratory infections, and ear infections. It also states that exposure to cow's milk (which formula is based on) can lead to an increase in all those things I just listed. And a study I read recently said that there is a certain ingredient (can't remember its name) that cannot be manufactured and added to formula!

The benefits for a breastfeeding mom are pretty fantastic too. Breastfeeding shortly after birth makes your baby-sized uterus shrink back down to its normal size. I was pretty surprised at how quickly, too! Every time I fed her for the first few weeks I felt little mini-contractions. 

By breastfeeding you burn a whole bunch of extra calories a day, leading to quick weight loss in some mamas. That's not always the case, but some women do experience rapid weight loss. 

What else? Oh, the holy grail: the delayed appearance of our "enemy," Aunt Flo. Some mamas go a whole year without experiencing it again. For me it only lasted 5 months. But I definitely enjoyed those 5 extra months!

It also decreases your chance of breast cancer and Type 2 diabetes. I call that a huge win!

For me, the best part about breastfeeding is the bond that the little missy and I share. It's so, so sweet and special. Unlike anything I've ever experienced.

From the article above (The Breast Way), I read that a newborn's focal distance is 8-10 inches, which is exactly the distance from your face to your breast! WOW!!! Our bodies are designed so that when we're feeding our teeny, tiny newborn babes whose vision is poor, they can still see their mama's eyes. Isn't that something?! I love it when Charlotte looks up at me mid-feeding and smiles. It's the sweetest little thing ever. 

I also read (probably from one of the two Pinterest links above) that breastfeeding satisfies a baby's need to be held. It makes me think that because I'm breastfeeding Charlotte - and holding her! - she's satisfied and can be put down to play for a while after she's been fed. Not only that, but I'm meeting two of her needs at the same time! Kill two birds with one stone? Yes, please! And, come on. Who doesn't wanna snuggle with their baby 5+ times a day?!

Another awesome thing about breastfeeding? 

{Thanks, Google images!}

No bottles, no nipples, no scooping formula. No heating, no cooling, no "is this too much?" No wrong brand. No recalls.

Breastmilk is always warm, ready to go, and requires no hassle! Lift the shirt, unsnap the bra, and you're done!

And, should I mention, breastmilk is sweet. It doesn't smell funny and it's exactly the right consistency for your baby. Colostrum for newbies. Nutrient and fat rich once the "real" milk comes in. Antibodies. Vitamins. Protein. Yet it's still sweet! How sweet? When I was leaking everywhere in the beginning, it would get on my hands while I was attempting to feed her. My hands were always sticky because of the breastmilk that leaked onto them! 

For me the decision was easy. Ever since I did my research and talked to other moms about it, I planned on breastfeeding. I feel like this is the best decision I've made for her. There is no way I would not breastfeed my baby. Even when my supply was low, I did everything I could to increase it and get it back to normal. (Beware the mini-pill!)

Now that I'm 6 months in and have never given my sweet baby any formula, I'm oh-so glad I did! She is super-de-duper healthy, growing like a weed (at her own rate), and loves to cuddle with me. I won't lie; being her sole source of food for 6 months makes me feel like a supermom! 

What made you decide to breastfeed? 


heather said...

well it was my husband. he forced it. now i know that doesn't sound right that my husband could tell me what to do w my body but they are his kids too. he was breast fed and i wasn't so i didn't understand it. i prayed my milk wouldn't come in, i didn't want to do it at all. turns out i have small flat nipples so i had to use a shield. but i still loved it so much. i nursed him for 14 weeks and was so sad to stop but he was allergic to dairy and i tried to not eat any but man it was hard so i finally had to stop. now that i have had my second baby ive been nursing her for 10 weeks and am so happy. i learned from my first time around that just because your nursing doesn't mean you can eat what you want. it took me 9 months to get all my baby weight off with my first (i used diet pills for a few months) so with my second i started watching what i ate and ive lost 40 lbs in 10 weeks. i have 15 more until i hit pre baby weight. i still had to use a shield second time around and it was and is totally different nursing my little girl then my son, but im still so in love with it.

Chantal said...

Love it! I never questioned it, since everyone else did it, but now I'm passionate about breastfeeding.

The Vaughans said...

Love your BF posts! I have emailed you a link to a website that is giving away free nursing covers right now. It's where I got mine from and I loved it! Just wanted to give you a heads up so you didn't delete an email from a random stranger :)

Sadie said...

I have breastfed 5 kids all for over a year each. I wouldn't trade that time for anything. There are a million benefits for both mom and baby. Great series!