Don’t confuse this for a “I’m better than you because I breastfeed” post, this is a “Here’s why I love breastfeeding, and why it’s worth at least giving it a try” post. Breastfeeding isn’t for everyone, I’ll admit that. It can be hard (but isn’t always…don’t let people scare you). It can be messy (Ever have a baby unlatch when you’re just starting a letdown?). It can be embarrassing (leaky boobs, nip slips,
and breast pads, oh my!). It can be one of the most rewarding things you can do as a mother.
So why do I love breastfeeding?
- Have you seen the price of formula lately? Even a 12oz can of powder formula can cost you around $10, and that’s the minimum!
- That sleepy, milk-drunk face you see only with breastfed babies (eyes half open, mouth open slightly smirked, milk drool on the chin…too cute!)
- It’s always sterile (when straight from the boob)
- The way your baby looks at you (eyes big, looking up at you like “Thank you, Mommy!”)
- It can lower chances of postpartum depression (and what mother doesn’t at least somewhat worry about that, especially those who are having their first, or who have a history of depression or have had PPD with previous children).
- Colostrum, the first milk that comes when you deliver, is super great for baby, full of anti-bodies, fat, and protein (that means that even if you can only nurse for a few days, you did a great job and gave your baby an extra boost!)
- All the good stuff breast milk has to offer to baby, like water, calories, carbs, (good) fats, DHA/ARA, white blood cells and immunoglobins, just to name a few (to see more, check out http://doublethink.us.com/paala/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/whats-in-breastmilk-poster-canada.jpg)
- It automatically adjusts to the needs of your little munchkin.
- Can lower the risk of SIDS
- Always on tap.
- It’s something only you can provide for your child (unless you have donor milk, in which case, it still comes from a human mommy, not a cow).
- It’s super easy for baby to digest.
- It can lower the chance of breast cancer and some forms of ovarian cancer in women who breastfeed, as well as help shrink your uterus back to normal after delivery.
- That bond is amazing! The oxytocin released during breastfeeding does more than just get your letdown going; oxytocin is the “love hormone”, so it amplifies the feelings of love and the bond between mom and baby.
- Can help reduce and prevent jaundice in newborns
- Can help lower chances of diabetes in mother and baby.
- No matter how messy it can be, it sure is funny when baby unlatches and milk shoots halfway across the room. Even better if it catches your dog by surprise! (Maybe I have a sick sense of humor.)
- Breast milk has everything your baby needs (except vitamin D, which can come through breast milk when moms eat a diet rich in D, but generally speaking, it just doesn’t have quite enough), and will adjust as your baby grows.
I could go on and on about the benefits of breastfeeding. I can also tell you that it can be hard. At first, my little girl latched great on the left side immediately, but my right nipple ended up with a blister by the end of her first 24 hours of life. Yes, a blister. On my nipple. When my milk came in, my breast were super engorged, despite trying everything I could (cabbage leaves, hot shower, hot compress, Advil, tight bra so they were immobilized, hand expressing or pumping, rubbing gently); you name it, I tried it. I was getting pretty damn discouraged–my boobs hurt, they were rock solid even after feeding, and I had a nipple with blisters and even a crack, despite using Lanolin cream and cooling gel nipple pads.
After a week and a half, it got easier. By two weeks, it was wonderful. By four weeks, I’m writing about why I love breastfeeding. I’m so glad I didn’t give up. Sometimes, you just have to try your hardest and hope for the best. Even when you think you can’t do it, there are people there to help you and support you, whether it’s your significant other, your mom, your sister, your best friend, or a lactation counselor. Whether you pump, hand express, nurse, or use donor milk, you are doing the best for your child, even when it seems tough. I had to tell myself that a lot at first, but I got through the tough part, and my 9lb 4oz, 20.5″ baby is now 10lbs 14 oz, 22″ at 1 month old.
Do you have a breastfeeding story to share?