Hi there! Good to see you again for this week’s discussion on the cardinal crunchy mom topic: Breastfeeding. Last week we talked about bonding and why it is essential to baby’s health to breastfeed right after birth. Today we will talk a little bit about why babies should continue to breastfeed after those first few hours and days.
Before I go any further, let me make a disclaimer here. I am not here to judge. I have said before, and I will probably say it again: The parenting information I post about is just that… PARENTing information. The ultimate decision what you do for your children and your family is your choice. I believe that parents should educate themselves about the options available and make the best decision for their unique situation. I’m just here to give you information that might be helpful in making that decision. Now, back to your regularly scheduled program… or rather blog post. 🙂
Optimal nutrition. Plain and simple. Even the formula companies will tell you that “breast is best.” Scientists have been studying breastmilk for years, and they are still discovering new “ingredients” that they can’t even identify, much less replicate. (This is a very interesting article about just a few of the ingredients and how they contribute to higher brain function and even warding off bacterial illness and disease. It is written by a secular journalist, so ignore the parts about evolution… we know God is behind this incredible “super food.”) God designed the female body in such a way that it can make an incredibly complex, nutrient dense, life-sustaining substance that He knew would provide every bit of nutrition and hydration that a baby could ever need, regardless of the mother’s own available nutrition.This is why you will see mothers in many third world countries nursing well into childhood (sometimes as long as 7 years) so their children can receive the nutrition they need and cannot get from the food available. From the research I’ve done, it appears that scientists aren’t even really sure HOW the milk is made. They know where it’s made and that hormones are responsible, but not much beyond that. It is truly an everyday miracle of God’s creation. Just check out this infographic about the “ingredients” in breastmilk vs. formula. I don’t remember where I first saw it, but I held on to it because it impressed me so much.
Now, I know what you’re thinking… “I can’t make enough milk for my babies, so I have to supplement.” While I feel for your plight, let me share some information that might encourage you a bit. Only about 1-5% of women are truly incapable of producing enough milk to nourish their babies. Much of the time this misconception about not having enough arises from not allowing your supply to be increased enough to support the baby. I’m not here to teach you how to breastfeed, so I won’t get into the workings of all that. I will say, however, that if you have this thought, contact a lactation consultant! They can make all the difference in your success and teach you how to build a healthy supply to support your baby. Don’t ignore the need or avoid contacting someone for help out of embarrassment or thinking you can do it yourself. If everybody did that, they wouldn’t have jobs. A good IBCLC (International Board Certified Lactation Consultant… see why I abbreviated! lol) can make all the difference in your breastfeeding relationship (I’ll share my experience in a later post). No amount of milk-making cookies, gallons of water, or Pintrest remedies will replace the knowledge and experience of a lactation consultant. According to Le Leche League International, “Research shows that the mother’s diet, her fluid intake, and other factors have little influence on milk production. If the ‘milk removal’ piece of the puzzle us in place, mothers make plenty of good milk regardless of dietary practices. If the ‘milk removal’ part isn’t there, nothing else can make up the difference.” (And, no, breast size doesn’t matter either… even an A cup can feed a baby, so take heart. 😉)
Now, along the same lines, not only is breastmilk more nutritious that formula, it’s cheaper! When I get $8 off formula coupons at the store, my first thought is, “If they can afford to give that big of a discount, they are charging WAY too much!” I can’t imaging spending that kind of money all the time. There is no way we could afford that. Breastfeeding is FREE! 😁 I have never had to pay to feed my baby. So, if for no other reason, you might want to consider breastfeeding for the financial advantage. Babies are expensive enough… why add one more thing that you don’t have to? (In fact, if you are a dairy cow like me, you can even sell your milk to make money!)
One last note on formula vs breastfeeding: convenience! No guessing how many bottles you will need to pack today or measuring out formula. No trying to warm a bottle while a hungry baby is screaming in your ear (or searching for a way to warm it when you aren’t home). Breastmilk is always on tap and warmed to the perfect temperature whenever baby gets hungry. All you need is yourself and your baby. 😊
Next week I will share the last two reasons I have chosen to discuss about the benefits of breastfeeding. Stay tuned!
What about you? Did you breastfeed? If so, what advantages have you found? If not, do you wish you had? Let me know in the comments!