I am a firm believer that if you can breastfeed you should give it a good shot. Yes it’s hard and takes a bit of time to get the hang of it but it’s so worth it. I also believe that unless there are medical reasons why your baby needs to be on formula I think the boob is the way to go in the first instant.
Having said that I am not mum-shaming and believe it or not I’m not writing this as a pressure article. If you haven’t breastfed that is your choice and I’m sure you made that decision with your little ones interests at heart.
But since I’m pro-boob I thought I’d do a post about why breastmilk is awesome!
Sidekick is coming up to eight months (I can’t believe it!) old and she loves her boob.
I always knew I wanted to breastfeed and have written about it here.
But for this post I wanted to share reasons why breastmilk is so blooming awesome so here goes:
Your breast milk is perfectly designed for your baby
It is the perfect nutrition for your baby, it has everything your baby needs to grow and it changes as your baby changes!
In the beginning i.e. just before birth and for a couple of days after (well until your milk comes in) you produce Colostrum. This is wonder milk! It contains super high amounts of antibodies that will help your little one fight off nasties. It is different in colour to milk, more yellow to orange and is thick. It contains carbohydrates, proteins and all those antibodies. It is very easy to digest which is why it is perfect for newborns. Also it has a laxative effect which helps your baby pass their early poo and this can help reduce jaundice. Yeay!
Now whilst colostrum is wonder milk, your normal (mature) milk is pretty awesome. Its made up of two parts Foremilk and Hindmilk.
Foremilk is what baby drinks first upon feeding, think of it as a thirst quencher. This milk is high in water and lactose.
Hindmilk is the cream of the crop, high in fat and calories.
Breast milk has over 200 constituents and what they do and how beneficial they are continues to grow as research continues. Some of the nutrients in breast milk are proteins, vitamins, hormones and things I can’t even pronounce.
This page (Nutrition during Lactation) goes into detail about the changes milk goes through and all the nutrients. It’s actually an interesting read.
Breast milk protects your baby from infections and diseases
If you think about it our boobs are amazing. Not only do they look great (come on, all shapes and sizes!) but by feeding our baby our body is able to assess what’s in our baby’s saliva and more importantly assesses the germs.
By feeding our baby we pass on our immunities to illnesses we’ve already had but if through the process of feeding our body picks up a germ we haven’t had from the baby, our immune system starts going into production to make the antibodies. We then pass these antibodies to the baby and this helps stop them getting ill. Breastfeeding reduces your baby’s risk of:
- diarrhoea and vomiting, with fewer visits to hospital as a result
- sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)
- childhood leukaemia
- type 2 diabetes
- cardiovascular disease (heart disease) in adulthood
How amazing is that?
There is also research that shows breast milk can protect them against extraintestinal infections and respiratory diseases. You can read more about that in this article which is about the immune and long term health benefits of breast feeding.
Breastfeeding provides health benefits for you
It’s not all about baby! Research has shown that breastfeeding mothers lower their risk of having a stroke or heart attack. This La Leche League page tells you a bit more.
It also seems that breastfeeding lowers your risk of breast and ovarian cancer as well. It does this by getting rid of any cells in your breasts that have damaged DNA. You can read a bit more about it on Cancer Research UK.
If that’s not enough breastfeeding burns extra calories so it can help you loose your pregnancy weight or give you an excuse to eat more cookies, either way.
Finally breastfeeding releases the happy hormone oxytocin, this helps your uterus return to its pre-pregnancy size and you feel happy. Bonus!
Breast milk is available for your baby whenever your baby needs it
Where you and baby go so do the boobs! There’s no need to worry about bottles, warming facilities or stuff like that. Just whip them out and boom dinner is served. This allows you more freedom to go off the beaten track.
Breastfeeding can build a strong emotional bond between you and your baby its not just about nutrition
Unlike with formula you don’t have to worry about overfeeding with breastmilk therefore the boob can be used to soothe a bump, calm an over stimulated child or you know sometimes as a device to distract them.
Your boob, like you, is a place of safety, of comfort. It is your baby’s safe zone.
So there you go five reasons why boobies and breastfeeding is brilliant.
What do you think, have I missed anything? I’d love to hear your thoughts, feelings and experiences of breastfeeding.