Benefits of Breastfeeding for Baby and Mom
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Whoever came up with the "Don't cry over spilt milk" quote certainly wasn't a breastfeeding mom but let me not even get into that.
Having nursed my son for a little over 9 months despite the fact that I was already 3 months pregnant with Baby Girl, fills me with pride. But when I imagined the chaos to come with having Two under Two, I couldn't help but stress at the idea that maybe breastfeeding Jade would just be too much with a toddler to chase after. Yet here I am, almost 3 months later and still exclusively feeding her Mami's milk.
Was it easy at first? Heck no! It was torturous.
By day 3, I had a sore and bleeding nipple. Yes, you read that right. Bleeding! So instead of letting her latch on and very likely lose a nipple or two, I decided to alternate between feeds. Nurse her for one feeding, then pump and bottle feed until I healed which was a few days later thanks to Lansinoh ointment. As a breastfeeding mom, you'll quickly realize why this ointment will become your boobies best friend.
Even when they healed, up until she learned to latch on properly, it still hurt. And I'm sure if my willpower and pain tolerance weren't so high, I would've thrown in the towel and pulled out the formula with no thought of looking back.
Having already done it once before though, I knew it would get easier. So once again I put on my big girl panties and powered through it. I know you might be thinking "Why would I even put myself through all that?!" but please believe me when I say it does get easier. By the end of month 1, it no longer hurt and now I actually enjoy that special time that only her and I can share.
If you're still debating whether or not to breastfeed, here are a few benefits not just for baby but also for yourself.
1. WEIGHT LOSS: We have to admit that when we think about breastfeeding this is one of the perks that most likely motivates moms to at least give it a try. Each ounce of breastmilk you produce is 20 calories which means 25 ounces a day equals to 500 calories that you can say goodbye to without even having to step on a treadmill.
2. HEALTHIER BABY: Breastfed babies have lower incidences of pneumonia, colds and ear infections. It also lowers your baby's risk of SID's by about half!
3. CUSTOM MADE FOR BABY: Colostrum (the "premilk" that comes right after delivery) is full of antibodies to protect your newborn. Even more astonishing is the fact that unlike formula, your breast milk's nutritional and immunological component's change every day, according to the specific, individual needs of your baby. An example of this is that exclusively breastfed babies don't need to drink water since your milk alters itself to ensure they are hydrated.
4. LOWERS RISK OF CANCER: Breastfeeding can decrease baby's risk of some childhood cancers as well as lowering your risk of premenopausal breast cancer and ovarian cancer (an often terminal disease that's on the rise).
5. MENSTRUATION VACATION: Just like during pregnancy, breastfeeding will block ovulation which means you get an even longer menstrual break lasting anywhere from 6-12 months.
6. NATURAL BIRTH CONTROL: As long as your period hasn't resumed, you are breastfeeding your baby about every 4 hours, and you are 6 months or less postpartum, then you can stash the condoms. Breastfeeding is 99% effective as a post-baby birth control option. NOTE: I got pregnant again right at the 6 month mark, so unless this is what your going for, get on birth control before this time.
7. IT'S CHEAP!: Cost of formula can range anywhere from $1,608 to $5,892 in one year. That's money you can keep in your bank account and instead enjoy a family vacation, just like we did.
8. UNMATCHED FEELING OF POWER: Yes!! The feeling of seeing your baby grow and thrive on your breastmilk alone is empowering and comparable to nothing else.
If you're still on the fence whether or not to nurse your baby, I'd ask you to at least try it but knowing that it's up to you to decide what's best for you and baby. 'Til next time Mami's!