When my first child was born, I was so stressed and anxious--regardless of how many pregnancy books I had read--that I had a real hard time breastfeeding my baby. I can’t deny the myths that I had heard didn’t help much either. Between my dear aunt’s “baby’s hungry! I don’t think your milk is really enough” and my return to work soon after having him, I chose formula over breastmilk for him.
The first years were rough with ear infections, fevers and other typical things that baby’s fragile systems are vulnerable to and that drive us parents completely nuts. Then there was the guilt of feeling that by not nursing him I had kept him from the benefits of my milk to have a stronger immune system.
So before my second child was born, I knew he would exclusively be getting breastmilk.
According to Unicef:
“Optimal breastfeeding of infants under two years of age has the greatest potential impact on child survival of all preventive interventions, with the potential to prevent 1.4 million deaths in children under five in the developing world”.
Colostrum, the first milk produced by a mother’s breasts after childbirth, protects a baby against all sorts of infections and is a natural laxative for the newborn baby. The benefits of breastfeeding for both you and your baby are too many to count. For instance, it helps reduce your risk of post-partum hemorrhage (and many swear it helps speed the weight loss process. Did anybody say weight loss?!). But it also is ideal to create that special bond with your little bundle of joy.
That said, may I add another great side benefit? Think of the savings that would otherwise be spend in baby formula! It might have been a little painful for me at first--to nurse with chapped breasts as my hungry baby kept sucking--but it turned into something amazingly gratifying that I absolutely loved. It was around the time when he was one-and-a-half years old that I started weaning him--something that proved to be much harder for me to do than for him! Big lesson learned and completely worthwhile!
How about you? Will you be nursing your baby?
Image via Bludgeoner86/Flickr