Friday, July 23, 2010
Breastfeeding: Why I Love It (continued)
While I was expecting, my mother gave me this book. Except it didn't quite look like this. Her copy was older, worn, and the pages were wrinkled and dog-eared; it was easy to see it had been an important reference for her during the years she breastfed her nine children. (Yes, that's right...all nine of us!)
I promised to give more reasons for why I love breastfeeding, so here they are! Some are personal, some are factual. But they're all true! :)
1) Breastmilk is perfect for newborns. Colostrum, or what some people call "liquid gold," is produced for the baby and contains priceless antibodies that protect their young immune systems. These antibodies fight illnesses and keep a newborn as healthy as possible.
2) If your baby is born premature, the breastmilk automatically adjusts to accommodate the baby's nutritional needs. The protein, fat, and calorie count is higher when the baby is younger. What infant formula does that?
3) Breastfeeding is linked with the hormone, prolactin, which is related to ovulation and fertility. Whenever the baby nurses, ovulation is suppressed. This is God's beautiful and natural way to let us enjoy our baby and let the mother's body be fully there for her child. As the nursings become less frequent and prolactin levels return to normal, fertility will return.
4) Breastfeeding is the most natural, effective, and safe way to lose that baby weight! When we're pregnant, areas of our bodies that we're always concerned about looking too big definitely become too big. But...they are too big for a reason! Once a woman begins breastfeeding, all the fat her body has stored for nine months starts being used. Breastmilk has a very high fat content, and guess where that fat comes from? Yep, our derrieres. :P Thanks to our little liposuction machines - I mean, our babies.
5) Since breastmilk is 88% water, there is no need to supplement with water, juice, or milk to prevent dehydration. As a matter of fact, it can be harmful to the baby to give water rather than breastmilk, as it deprives the baby of the nutrients, fat, and antibodies. In the summer months, as long as the baby is breastfeeding frequently enough, the only person needing to drink water is the mother. The body prioritizes for the baby, so us mothers need to take care of ourselves!
6) It protects your baby and reduces the risk of allergies, ear infections, obesity, diabetes, leukemia, and SIDS.
7) It works on a supply-and-demand system. The more you nurse, the more milk will be produced. During those vital growth spurts, as long as the baby nurses whenever she needs it, she will always have the right amount.
8) With breastfeeding, you learn the cues of your baby's hunger. There is no need of measuring or keeping track of ounces or making sure a bottle is finished. If your baby needs just one side of nursing, that's okay (as long as she's properly gaining weight). If she needs more, there's always the other side. It's very laid back. We like that chilled way of life. :)
9) It is easily digestible and therefore, very rarely does a baby become constipated while breastfeeding. (Of course, once table foods are introduced things may change.)
10) It's all right there. No fancy formula, no imitation trying to be as good as the real thing. Just the real thing!