They say that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. That it’s so beneficial to your body and metabolism to start your day off right. And many diets out there talk about a fast start so get you motivated to keep at it. Again….the importance of a good start. When I got pregnant with C (and later with B) I wanted to make sure my boys got the best start to life they could. And for me there was one way that could happen….with breastfeeding. Since it’s World Breastfeeding Week right now, I think it’s the perfect time to discuss all the many benefits of Mommy milk. But first, I don’t want people to think that I’m some breastfeeding freak who feels it’s the only right choice to make for your family. That is so not the case. I have friends who have formula fed, either through choice or through circumstance, and they love their kids every bit as much as I do mine. Plus, both my husband and I were formula fed and I know our parents love us as well. For me, though, this wasn’t as much a choice, as a must.
Best for baby:
- It’s easier for a baby’s immature digestive system to process
- Your milk changes as the baby develops to give him/her the exact right ratio of protein, fat, sugar, and water that is needed for proper development.
- Breast milk contains antibodies to help keep your baby from getting sick.
- It also fights diseases. Babies who are breastfed have lower instances of SIDS, diabetes, childhood leukemia, obesity, ear infections, allergies and asthma (to name a few).
Best for Mommy:
- You get to eat more! It can take 300-500 extra calories a day for your body to produce breast milk.
- You get your figure back quicker. The act of breastfeeding in the first few weeks after delivery causes your uterus to contract and shrink, which brings your midsection back to pre-pregnancy form sooner.
- Breastfeeding Moms have lower instances of postpartum depression, breast & ovarian cancer, and type 2 diabetes.
- If you are a working Mom like me, you’ll have fewer missed work days because your kids won’t get sick as often (thanks to those wonderful antibodies).
- You get all that extra snuggle time with that precious child that you created.
For me the choice was clear. I had frequent ear infections as a child, and my husband suffers from both allergies and asthma so I wanted to know that I had done everything I could to prevent those in my children. I can’t say it’s all roses and lollipops… I mean, I’m the one who has to get up in the middle of the night every time the baby wakes. I’m the one having to deal with sore nipples. And I’m the one who has to remember to bring my pump to work and leave my desk three times a day to pump for my child. But in the end, it is so worth it. C is now 2 1/2 and has only had a handful of colds. He’s never had one ear infection. I can’t tell you how many I had by the time I was his age. B is only 6 weeks old so we’ll see how he does, but so far so good.
If you are interested in breastfeeding, there are a number of resources available to you. I highly recommend taking a breastfeeding class. The one I took was offered by the hospital I delivered in. Also ask to speak to a lactation consultant when you have delivered. Some fabulous online resources are:
I was fortunate enough to nurse C until he was 13 months. My goal for B is to get to a year. Anything beyond that is added bonus.