Some Amazing Things About Breastfeeding
Breastfeeding has been proven time and time again to be the best option for nourishing babies for countless reasons. The most obvious being that it’s readily available with a purpose to fulfill, as well as being free.
Our bodies are made so carefully and so wonderfully that the perfect food for babies is right where they snuggle into their mamas. It’s the biological norm; it just makes sense to breastfeed!
Health Benefits for Baby
There are numerous health benefits to breastfeeding as well, the first being the liquid gold colostrum produced for the first couple of days right after birth. This is the yellowy stuff that comes from your breasts before your milk comes in. It's basically a baby’s first immunization as it contains immune factors to protect them from illnesses in the world outside the womb. Studies have shown that breast milk also aids in the development of the brain, and in cultivating a healthy digestive environment.
Breast milk is tailor made to each baby by their mother. If the baby’s diet is low in something, the mother’s body will learn that from the baby’s saliva, and the milk will change to satisfy that need. Formula does not do this.
Health Benefits for Mama
Breastfeeding benefits mothers as well, namely by bonding with your baby. The times where you nurse, gaze at, and smell your baby is when you produce oxytocin, the love hormone, and there’s no better way to bond with them than through nursing.
Breastfeeding also encourages the mother’s uterus to contract and shrink back to it’s normal size quicker than if she does not breastfeed. It was also found that mothers who breastfeed are at a lower risk of certain ovarian and breast cancers, as well as providing a gradual shift hormonally, to help with the transition into motherhood.
Now, some of you may say things like "I couldn't produce enough milk" or "I had too hard of a time trying to breastfeed". Those are valid reasons for you to want to switch to formula. (There's even ways to increase your milk supply if that's your worry!) However, did you know only a tiny percent of the population are actually unable to breastfeed? And that is because they insufficient milk gland tissue, or some type of medical condition. If you worry because you just have small breasts, that has nothing to do with how much milk you'll make.
It's important I believe, for every woman to seek the help of a lactation consultant (most hospitals have ones around who will come check you after baby is born). Even if you are doing a great job, a professional can help ensure everything continues to go well. And if you're having a hard time, she will show you ways to make it easier. Sometimes it's really just a small adjustment that needs to happen!
I think we owe it to our babies, and ourselves, to put in as much effort as possible to breastfeed exclusively until six months (when babies can start trying solid foods). There is way too much evidence to say no to.