Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The Benefits of Breastfeeding

I think that a woman's ability to nourish her baby by the way of breastfeeding is truly miraculous. Seriously. If you think about it, it is so Amazing that the best food we can give our child is from our own body! However, breastfeeding in American Culture is becoming less and less common despite all of the benefits. Sometimes even a woman who wants to breastfeed her baby may not feel the support she needs to do so from family and friends. This makes it very difficult for her to ask for help when obstacles arise in practicing the womanly art of breastfeeding.
I want to list a few of the benefits Breastfeeding has to offer, and then some resources for help and support if you or someone you love needs it.
I have truly enjoyed my experience with Nursing Morris although it did not come without obstacles. I had taken a breastfeeding class before I gave birth (which I highly recommend doing, plus it was FREE), but when I first started to nurse, I had excruciating pain on one side. It was toe curling. I toughed it out over the weekend but called in a professional first thing Monday morning. In 5 minutes, I was nearly pain free. Later on, my milk production slowed down a bit too much and again I called on my CLC. She gave me several things to do in my diet that helped my milk ducts produce quickly. A Certified Lactation Consultant makes all the difference.
I can't emphasize this enough for someone who is struggling. It was well worth the fee when I think of the bond I've developed with Mo, not to mention how much I've saved in Formula costs. (My CLC here in Mesa is Mary Wisneski, LPN, CLC. or call 480-890-1870).
Besides the fact that it's free, Breast feeding offers so many other benefits--from physical to emotional, I could go on and on with my feelings about it (and maybe I will on tomorrow's post). I'd love to hear your positive breastfeeding experiences in the comments!
The U.S. Department for Health and Human Services has a website HERE dedicated to Womens Health. It includes information about the benefits of Breastfeeding.
-Breast milk is the most complete form of nutrition for infants. A mother's milk has just the right amount of fat, sugar, water, and protein that is needed for a baby's growth and development. There are nutrients in breast milk that are not found anywhere else in nature, nor can they be replicated by science.
-Most babies find it easier to digest breast milk than they do formula.
-As a result, breastfed infants grow exactly the way they should. They tend to gain less unnecessary weight and to be leaner. This may result in being less overweight later in life.
-Breastfed babies score slightly higher on IQ tests, especially babies who were born pre-maturely.
-Nursing uses up extra calories, making it easier to lose the pounds of pregnancy. It also helps the uterus to get back to its original size and lessens any bleeding a woman may have after giving birth.
-Breastfeeding lowers the risk of breast and ovarian cancers, and possibly the risk of hip fractures and osteoporosis after menopause.
-Breastfeeding makes your life easier. It saves time and money. You do not have to purchase, measure, and mix formula. There are no bottles to warm in the middle of the night!
-A mother can give her baby immediate satisfaction by providing her breast milk when her baby is hungry.
-Breastfeeding requires a mother to take some quiet relaxed time for herself and her baby.
-Breastfeeding can help a mother to bond with her baby. Physical contact is important to newborns and can help them feel more secure, warm and comforted.
-Breastfeeding mothers may have increased self-confidence and feelings of closeness and bonding with their infants.
Breastfeeding saves on health care costs. Total medical care costs for the nation are lower for fully breastfed infants than never-breastfed infants since breastfed infants typically need fewer sick care visits, prescriptions, and hospitalizations.
Breastfeeding contributes to a more productive workforce. Breastfeeding mothers miss less work, as their infants are sick less often. Employer medical costs also are lower and employee productivity is higher.
Breastfeeding is better for our environment because there is less trash and plastic waste compared to that produced by formula cans and bottle supplies.


Beth said...

I LOVE breastfeeding. I love it because I get to snuggle with my baby and smell them and be warm and close. I love it because it quickly helps shed my pregnancy pounds. I love it because it is convenient and the best nutrition available for my baby. I was unable to nurse my first baby, and was devastated. (she was born prematurely and didn't have a sucking reflex. . . . got used to the bottles the nurses kept trying to give her and wouldn't go for the breast after that.) But my 2nd child I nursed for 14 months and I am still nursing my 15 month old. I honestly don't care what our society thinks, I know there is only a short period of time that I will be able to do this for my children, and I am going to do it for as long as I feel it is needed.

ash said...

I absolutely agree. Breastfeeding is amazing. I enjoyed snuggling my girls and being the one responsible for sustaining their life. I also secretly enjoyed snatching them up from whomever was holding them when it was time to nurse.