Saturday, July 10, 2010
Breastfeeding: Why I Love It
1) It's inexpensive! I priced Enfamil formula at $23 per container. There are 29 servings in each. Considering that a young baby needs (approximately) 6-8 feedings a day, that container will last (again, approximately) only 3-4 days. That's about $60 per week, and $240 per month. After the first year of a child's life, formula will have cost you over $2,800. Now, of course, feedings become less frequent as the child grows older, and there are generic brands at about half the price. So you spend only $1,400. Phew...I could take a nice vacation with that money. ;)
2) It's always warm, always ready, always right there. No matter where I am or how busy things are, if my baby is hungry, she can eat. Nursings are not only used to fill her tummy, but to calm her down too. The sucking sensation immediately can calm a cranky moment or soothe away the pain of a bump.
3) It makes me relax. Sometimes when the laundry's piled up, the dishes need to be done, and I should be getting dinner ready - I get stressed out. And on top of that, my baby is growing bored with her toys and rubbing her eyes. Taking her in my arms and nursing her gives me no choice but to take a moment and relax. Then the hormones kick in...that amazing bonding hormone, oxytocin. I feel so loving and protective over my baby. I don't mind that other duties are calling my name...my stress goes away and my baby is happy!
4) I have always fed my baby when she needs it. Some people call this "on demand" but that makes it sound like you have no control and your child is this headstrong, little tyrant. Instead, when people asked me, "Is she on a schedule?" I liked saying, "Yes, whenever she needs it." This way, I'm not looking at the clock and counting the ounces and worrying about when she last ate. Some parents feel very strongly about scheduling and keep their babies strictly to it. While I think that's silly and stressful, I understand that they have their reasons for it. I just hope that when they get a little hungry and want a snack, their spouse tells them, "Nope! You just ate - wait two more hours and then you can eat a full meal."
4a) Oh - why I like feeding my baby whenever she needs it: because it makes sense! If she cries, I can calm her by nursing. A simple feeding can make her happy once again, put her to sleep if she is a little tired, but above all, it's gentle, responsive parenting. In the womb, babies never have to worry about being hungry or asking to be fed. They just are. When they're born, it seems so cruel to me to withhold a little (or big) feeding just because we think they shouldn't be hungry again.
5) I think most mothers who breastfeed understand just the absolute love of it. Feeling their babies close to them, playing with their fingers, touching their hair, talking to them, reading them a book, cleaning their ears (hey, I do it sometimes, haha), and just cherishing those moments. My baby girl has started to reach up and touch my face when she nurses. At night when we're in bed, she'll run her fingers up and down my arms. It tickles and it's so adorable.
I'll write more reasons later!