I was recently reminded of how many people are still out there who don’t understand why breastfeeding is important. Don’t take that the wrong way, it’s not your fault if you don’t know. For some crazy reason our society has turned a natural bodily function into something to be feared and ashamed of. Thankfully though every day breastfeeding becomes more and more accepted and “normal.” Well duh… that’s how it’s supposed to be.
It’s not to say that people who formula feed are bad parents or anything like that. I formula fed my son after the first month of his life. It’s a long story as to why I had a hard time with breastfeeding. If I knew then what I know now I would have tried a lot harder and for a lot longer. The times I spent breastfeeding are moments I will treasure forever because let me tell you, formula feeding just isn’t the same. To some it comes naturally and to others it takes some work. Don’t be discouraged… it’s what your body is meant to do.
So for anyone who isn’t sure what they want to do, or if they should even try I put together a little list. Reasons to breastfeed:
1. Lowers the Risk of Illness in Baby: Babies who are breastfed tend to be healthier overall. They are less likely to form allergies, less likely to get ear infections, less likely to develop certain cancers, less likely to develop asthma and less likely to be overweight in the future. This is probably the best reason to breastfeed because it will effect your child’s health for their whole life. Breastfeeding also reduces the risk of S.I.D.S.
2. Lowers Risk of Illness in Mom: Moms who breastfeed are less likely to suffer from postpartum depression and less likely to develop certain cancers.
3. The Shallow Reasons: There are some “shallow” reasons to breastfeed also, your breasts become extra large which is quite enjoyable for some women (and their husbands!). Also baby weight is easier to get rid of. Breastfeeding burns about 600 calories a day. As long as you eat well and keep your milk supply up, you’ll loose any extra baby weight pretty easily.
4. Bonding/ Emotional Needs: Breastfeeding is a way to bond with your baby. There are chemical reactions that take place within your body and your baby’s body when you breastfeed that give you both a feeling of euphoria. Your baby’s emotional needs are being met here also. He or she feels safe and comforted.
5. Breast Milk is Better for Digestion: Formula just isn’t as easy on your baby’s digestion as breast milk is. The first thing that is put into the baby’s body should be soothing breast milk that is designed for your child’s specific needs. Their little bodies are trying to figure out how to process food and you want to make that as gentle as possible.
6. Convenience: You’re baby’s food is always with you. You can’t ever forget to bring it and you can feed your child anytime, anywhere. It’s also a lot faster, no making bottles, boiling water or measuring. The milk is ready and waiting at the perfect temperature.
7. It’s Better for the Environment: There is nothing to throw away! No containers or garbage is produced when you breastfeed. You can feel good about the fact that you are being “green” and self sufficient.
8. You Get More Sleep: Infants usually wake up every couple of hours through the night to eat, be changed, and burped. Add on the time it takes you to make a bottle, warm it up, test it, possibly have to redo it because at 4 in the morning even the simplest of tasks are incredibly difficult… and you are looking at a lot of extra time spent awake. When you breastfeed the milk is right there and waiting. So breastfeeding can save you valuable minutes of sleep. (When you have an infant you will realize just how important those few minutes are.)
9. Peace of Mind: No worrying about which brand of formula is best for your baby. Your body’s brand is all that you need and you can rest assure that it is 100% formulated for your specific child’s needs. It’s completely safe and risk free.
10. Money Honey: Formula is expensive. You could save about $1,500 in your child’s first year of life by not buying formula. (My estimate based on how much I spent when my son was an infant.) It’s as simple as that. Babies are expensive enough so the extra money would go to good use.
Don’t forget, breastfeeding is why you have breasts in the first place. It’s their job to feed babies and that’s what they want to do. It’s not weird, it’s not gross. It’s beautiful and you will be amazed at how great it makes you feel to do what is absolutely best for your baby. I hope this post helped/inspired someone out there. Leave a comment and let me know if you would like to see more posts like this! Also tell me about your breastfeeding experiences!