Why to Breastfeed Baby:
I never had to really think about how to feed my baby- the choice of whether I would breastfeed or bottle feed was clear to me. There are so many benefits of breastfeeding for baby and mother, and the arguments against it are insubstantial. Before I ever saw my baby, I planned to breastfeed for many reasons, both emotional and health-related.
After having breastfed my baby for almost five months so far, I can tell you the benefits are overwhelming. I am so glad that I was able to do this for my baby and myself. The propaganda against breastfeeding is so misleading, I want to give a mother’s point-of-view and give some facts I have learned along the way.
Benefits for Baby
It’s not false advertising to say that mother’s milk is nature’s perfect food — and it’s no overstatement either. According to Heidi Murkoff, author of the What to Expect books, human breast milk contains at least 100 ingredients that can’t be found in cow’s milk and that formula manufacturers have yet to duplicate.
Another one of the big pros of breastfeeding is that it’s easy on your baby’s delicate tummy — breastfed babies’ dirty diapers are notoriously less nasty than those of formula-fed babies (and nursed newborns suffer far less frequently from constipation and almost never from diarrhea). Some babies might be allergic to cow’s milk (or soy alternatives), but the odds are slim that your baby’s body will object to anything about your milk.
Also, the milk your body makes will change in composition in response to your baby’s needs (and change in taste based on the foods you’re eating), but the formula will be the same from feeding to feeding. Here is a list of other benefits for baby according to the LA Leche League: promotes good jaw development, lets baby control appetite, promotes brain development, is always clean, and promotes good overall health.
Here are some common sense reasons why it’s better for mom: it’s nearly free, simple, immediate, provides mothering hormones, and best of all it is a relationship– not just a feeding method. On top of all of those great reasons, it helps mothers lose their pregnancy weight more easily, provides a natural birth control for up to six months.
It reduces your risk of breast cancer, uterine cancer, and osteoporosis. Most of what I learned came from knowledge obtained by reading The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding. It is a very informative book that I am very glad to have, but I did not take all of their advice. As with everything about parenting, mother’s instinct comes first but this was a really good guidebook for breastfeeding.
Nursing Baby- My Personal Experience
Now that I explained all of the beneficial reasons I chose to breastfeed, let me tell you all of the benefits I have experienced personally because I breastfeed. I was so exhausted in the first month after delivery that, looking back, I cannot imagine getting up every three hours at night to go to the kitchen and heat up a bottle of formula.
I had my baby in a bassinet right beside my bed and all I had to do was pick her up and lay her down beside me in the bed to nurse. Later on, when I would travel to see family, I did not have to plan and pack formula, bottles, etc. because I was always carrying around my baby’s food supply. It was so convenient and simple.
I think I would have gone insane if I had to deal with formula during those first few months. Later when my baby learned to smile, I got to see her smiling up at me while nursing. It was like she would tell me “thank-you for taking care of me” and it was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen. Now that she is getting older, nursing has become a playtime for her and I get those smiles on a regular basis. Our nursing sessions are the highlight of my days, and the hormones from nursing help me relax and distress. I love nursing my baby girl and I do not plan on quitting anytime soon.