My LO is now 2 weeks and 1 day old and although he's been in this world a short amount of time-I can't imagine my life without him. Who knew such a huge gift can be delivered in a tiny package. As a first time mom, bonding with him is super important to me-which is why I decided early that I would breastfeed. Although, at first, a bit painful, I have found many benefits to breastfeeding my Teddy Rumpskin. Here are 5 benefits to breastfeeding that definitely outweigh any fears and negative reasons not to.
1. It's The Best Nourishment
"Human milk provides the specific nutrients that babies need to grow both in size and maturity..." (THE WOMANLY ART OF BREASTFEEDING, 7th Revised Edition, page 340). A mother's milk contains tons of essential nutrients for baby's current and future health, including antibodies that help protect your LO against Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), many childhood cancers and even a simple yet painful ear infection. [A study in the Philippines showed that, "Deaths from respiratory infections and diarrhea were eight to ten times higher in babies who were artificially fed than in those who were even partially breastfed for six months "] (THE WOMANLY ART OF BREASTFEEDING, 7th Revised Edition, page 350). Also, keep in mind, that artificial formulas are generally harsher on baby's sensitive digestive system.
2. You Create A Strong Bond With Your LO
I have to say the most rewarding part of breastfeeding Benny is the stare he gives me after he latches. It's a "loaded" stare that speaks volumes! I feel like he's saying "thank you" with every gulp. I love how his little hands sometimes find themselves half way past my breast as if he's trying to give me a hug. Delivering nourishment from my body, the warmth of my skin and hearing him try to balance his gulps with my flow are all beautiful components of the magic of breastfeeding. Not to mention the deep source of comfort and protection he feels. And the pride I feel in knowing that only I have the ability to connect and satisfy him in this way.
3. Helps You Lose Baby Weight Faster
I haven't started exercising yet, as I am still awaiting to regain the strength in my abdominal muscles. And for some reason, my cravings are worse than when I was pregnant (thank you hormones). But my weight loss has been steady. So far, I've lost 12 pounds and have already been able to fit my pre-baby jeans. How? Well, your body burns 500 calories to produce milk--hallelujer! With every gulp Benny takes, I feel my uterine contract and I make it a point to sit in a way that engages my abdominal muscles while feeding. Losing weight is not the only benefit to mommies. Breastfeeding is also linked to lowering the risk of a list of diseases such as: Type 2 Diabetes, breast and ovarian cancer as well as post partum depression. One of the most awesome benefits to breastfeeding, is, it postpones the return of the menstrual cycle.
4. It's Convenient
Carrying a diaper bag loaded with bottles and formula can be such a drag--an uncomfortable for some-small framed mommies. With items such as: diapers, wipes, a change of clothes, a changing pad and an extra receiving blanket--my diaper bag is very light and easy for travel. Late night feedings are such a breeze for me since I don't have to make a bottle. Wherever I go, my milk is always readily available--and fresh! Even if you work, you can pump your milk and store it in the freezer for your baby and it will last a long time, saving you a ton of money on formula.
5. It's What Nature Intended
We are mammals and therefore designed to be able to feed our offspring through our own bodies. Humans are the most unique and awesome in this respect because it's a natural process, yet it's a choice we make. Sometimes it can be easy to give up with the frustrations that lactation brings. There's swelling, possible mastitis, failure to latch properly, milk supply issues and sore nipples. All of these factors however can be taken care of and are mostly all common to the first two weeks post delivery! Once baby has the hang of it, it's so easy and satisfying for both you and your LO.