Many people have questioned my choice of breastfeeding. I have been told that formula is easier and more convenient so why breastfeed? Am I not embarrassed to breastfeed Anaís in public? And if I know that formula is better for her and im wasting my time. Honestly, I wanted to tell all those people to shove it and mind their business. Instead, I politely nod my head and change the conversation. I assume they don’t know the benefits. Do they know that all formula is based off mothers milk? Or that the mother too benefits greatly from breastfeeding?
Before I explain the wonderful benefits of the milk itself, I want to explain the impact breastfeeding has on the mom. Breastfeeding helps heal moms body after birth and gives her long term benefits as well.
Nursing burns up to 500 calories a day so it helps us lose pregnancy weight faster. It also releases the hormone oxytocin, which helps our uterus return to its pre-pregnancy size. It can sometimes take up to ten weeks for your uterus to go back to its normal size but breastfeeding shortens that time.
How does breastfeeding benefit mom long term? Nursing lowers our risk of breast and ovarian cancer and postmenapousal osteoporosis. Breastfeeding releases prolactin, which inhibits estrogen and progesterone so ovulation isn’t triggered, hence no menstruation. Sometimes moms won’t see there periods for six to eight months! That’s a huge plus! And it gets even better. If a mom nurses around the clock, no formula or any other substitutions, it can act as birth control.
Now when people say things like formula is easier, more convenient and beneficial, I automatically assume they know nothing about breastfeeding. What’s easier or more convenient than just pulling up my shirt and letting baby nurse? Do you know how much money hubs and I are saving by not spending it on formula? Best part is, my body makes the right amount for bubs! It’s her own special made cocktail. I never have to worry if she’s getting enough.
Have you heard of colostrum? It’s the first milk that comes in after the baby is born. Colostrum is yellow, thick and sticky. This milk has a low-fat content but is high in carbs, protein, and antibodies. These substances help aid our baby’s growth and keep them healthy. Colostrum also aids in digestion, its like a laxative if you will. If you’re a mom you understand how important it is that our babies poop often within the first few days of life. Pooping helps get rid of excess bilirubin and prevent jaundice. Colostrum is basically a natural vaccine. This milk usually lasts for a few days until mom’s milk supply comes in. The female body knows when to adjust to baby’s next stage of life.
Breastmilk comes in after colostrum, it’s otherwise known as mature milk. Mature milk contains antibodies that store bought formula doesn’t. These antibodies help fight off viruses and bacteria. For example, if I have the flu, my body will create way more white blood cells than I need. Those extra white blood cells will then be passed on to bubs via my breast milk. These extra cells will prevent her from getting sick. Researchers have also discovered that babies who are breastfed have a better antibody response to vaccines than formula fed babies.
Babies who are exclusively breastfed for the first six weeks of life have a lowered risk of asthma, allergies and any other type of respiratory illnesses, fewer infections such as ear infections and fewer chronic conditions such as type I diabetes, celiac disease and Crohn’s disease. Her little tummy will also have an easier time digesting my milk (because it isn’t man made). Therefore, breastfed babies are often less likely to constipated, gassy or have diarrhea. It’s also been shown to reduce SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome) within babies first year of life.
I decided to breastfeed bubs because I feel that it is the best option for her. But, I do not judge another mom on their decision to breastfeed, or not. Every mother knows what is best for their child, we make our own choices on how to raise our little. My choice is to breastfeed bubs until she’s one and maybe even longer. Bubs seems to be happy with it too!
I have given Anaís formula at night to keep her little tummy full. Otherwise, she’s constantly waking up. However, she usually refuses it. She’ll play with it, push it to the side of her mouth or use her tongue to push it away. The majority of nights she won’t fall asleep until I have her beside me and she’s latched on. I’ve asked her pediatrician about it and she told me that a mother’s milk is very different from formula. A mothers milk has a very different taste and digests better. Therefore, it isn’t surprising if a baby prefers it. Don’t judge me on this, but have you ever smelled your baby’s breath? I have, it smells extremely sweet! Especially after I breastfed her. But, it tends to smell sour after she has some formula.
I’m going to be honest, I have a hard time feeding her in public because of the stigma. I’ve been getting better at it. It’s strange how something as natural as providing food for my child is considered offensive and disgusting. It’s 2017, why isn’t breastfeeding normalized? I enjoy the bonding time I have with my little when I breastfeed. I enjoy it even more that my body can provide such amazing nourishment for her. I’m proud to breastfeed.
Before I end this post I do want to acknowledge something. I understand there are many moms out there who are unable to breastfeed, although they would love to. Sometimes there are issues in our pregnancies or prior health concerns that inhibit us. These medical issues keep mothers from being able to nourish their children from their own bodies. It’s okay mamas, you’re still feeding your child and doing what’s best for them. There is no shame in formula feeding your little.
I’m writing this to educate those who have shamed moms who breastfeed, those who have said breastfeeding isn’t worth it, who have told myself and other moms that it’s a waste of our time and it’s wrong. We are all entitled to our choices and I’m proud of mine. We are all also entitled to our own opinions, but please don’t ever tell a mom what they are doing is wrong. Be kind.