I know it is late for a Sunday post but I have run into so many moms on the fence about breastfeeding.
Will I have enough milk?
Can I even do this?
Many have already convinced themselves that they cannot do it because no one in the family breastfed, their friends found it very difficult before they even tried or questions bout their body's capabilities.
What I have learned in my tenure of helping families is they become sold on breastfeeding once they are given the many wonderous benefits of breast milk and the act of breastfeeding .
YOU ARE WONDERFULLY MADE, HONEY!
Many women decide before they become pregnant that they want to breastfeed. The deciding factor for most mothers are the benefits for both mother and baby.
Before we go further...
Pumping is breastfeeding, so although we may use the term "breast"
feeding throughout this post it is written with specific inclusivity of chest feeding parents as well...cause Pumping Ain't Easy.
Breast milk is nature's perfect food. It is delicately designed for your baby's tiny tummy and it's physiological needs. Not only is breast milk easily digestible for babies, it contains all the nutrients and vitamins baby's need for their first years of life. It is perfectly designed, scientists and the formula industry still have not unlocked mother nature's code.
So let's dive into the benefits, first we'll start with the benefits for your baby.
Benefits of Breastfeeding For Your Baby
A baby's brain grows exponentially in infancy than at any other time. It doubles its size approximately in one year. The better food the brain receives the better the brain grows and responds. Research has shown that breastfed children tend to have higher IQs because of the composition of breast milk and how its tailored to brain development such as the brain boosting fat, DHA, a vital nutrient for brain growth, development and maintenance of brain tissue, smart sugars such as glucose and galactose, an invaluable nutrient for brain tissue development. Brain connections are fueled by breast milk because it increases the surface area for circuits in a baby's brain, which makes your baby smarter.
Breast milk is valuable to your baby's eye vision as well. Again, the smart fat DHA, which is the primary building block of the components of the retina of the eye. Again, the better you feed it, the better it will grow.
Breastfed babies grow into leaner adults. Leanness is associated with general health and decreases the chances of heart disease, diabetes and stroke. Children who are breastfed are less likely to be obese in childhood and adulthood. The amount of fat in formula and breast milk is about the same, the difference is that breast milk contains a hormone that equips your baby with a satiety factor to let baby know when they are full, formula does not. Breastfed babies eat smaller meals and feed more slowly than bottle fed babies. Breastfed babies cannot overeat because of a hormone called cholecystokinin. If not properly educated on how much and how to properly bottle feed, babies are susceptible to overfeeding. Obese children tend to grow into obese adults.
Less Ear Infections
Breastfed babies have less ear infections which leads to better hearing. Being that breast milk is a human substance, babies are not allergic to it. Cow formula can cause a build up behind the middle ear which can lead to infections. This fluid can cause a build up of bacteria and decrease hearing.
A Beautiful Smile
Breastfed babies tend to have straighter teeth because of better jaw alignment. When a baby nurses from the breast they use more oral-facial muscles and the tongue. The frequent use of the jaw and tongue aligns the teeth better.
Breastfed babies develop a larger nasal space which can lessen problems with snoring and sleep apnea later in life.
Cholesterol is important for a baby's heart health. Breast milk contains cholesterol in moderate amounts. Babies learn to metabolize cholesterol better than formula which leads to better heart health in adulthood and lower cholesterol levels as well. The resting heart rate of babies is lower as well which is tantamount to the lower heart rate of a fit athlete. A lower heart rate is indicative of overall physical and emotional health.
Less Acid Reflux
What goes in, must come out. Breast milk is easier to digest and eliminate. Breast milk is filled with enzymes that help babies digest their meals and helps babies to keep their meals down. Many baby's report having GER, a form of acid reflux. However, GER tends to occur less in breastfed babies because breast milk is emptied twice as fast and breastfed babies tend to eat smaller meals.
Breast milk is designed to be easily digested. A baby's intestines are designed so that allergens cannot seep into the bloodstream but in the early phase baby's gut is perforated and bacteria and allergens can easily pass into the bloodstream setting the child up for infections and sickness. Breast milk contains a special protein called IgA, which acts as a protective sealant in the digestive tract. Since formula does not provide this protein, it is easier for allergens and bacteria to pass into the bloodstream.
Breastfeeding produces an odorless poop. Because breast milk is composed of 88 percent water it is easily absorbed with little waste. Poop stains are easier to remove than poop stains from formula feeding.
Reduces the Risk of Diabetes
Breastfed babies have a lower insulin release than those that are formula fed. This leads to lower blood sugar levels.
Breast milk is thy medicine and medicine is thy breast milk. One drop of breastmilk contains one million white blood cells. These cells gobble up germs. Breast milk is also packed with a immunoglobulin punch which coats the lining of your baby's immature intestines and prevents germs from leaking into the gut. Colostrum the superfood you will produce in the first days of infancy is packed with high amounts of IgA. Breastfed babies have lower rates of every infectious disease known. A mother continuously updates her milk by transference of bacteria because of close contact with her baby. A mother is always creating antibodies for her milk to enter her baby.
Breastfed babies have smoother and softer skin. Supple skin is associated with higher amounts of fat. With breast milk containing high concentrations of fat it gives babies a healthier skin structure. Breast fed babies enjoy a lower incidence of eczema as well since they are protected from allergies.
Breast fed babies tend to be less picky eaters. Food that the mother ingests is transferred to her milk. A baby is exposed to all types of foods through his or her mother's milk.
It Just Tastes Better
Have you ever tasted breast milk before? No, well let me tell you it is the freshest, sweetest and creamiest treat, no wonder babies pass out over it. Breast milk is composed of simple sugars called lactose and baby's love sweets, in fact it is one of the only tastes that is developed at infancy. The taste receptors on the tongue are highly developed which may be a reason babies prefer breast milk to formula.
Did you know that cows, which are raised mostly to produce formula contribute significantly to global warming. When cow's belch, poop and make flatulence it contributes the harmful greenhouse gas emissions. Also, breastfeeding reduces the amount of packaging and limits the amount of transportation needed to produce and manufacture formula.
By providing milk from your breast to your baby you are ensuring that your baby receives TOP SHELF ORGANIC food. But if also has tremendous benefits for a mother the longer she breastfeeds.
BENEFITS FOR THE MOTHER
ITS FREEEEEEEEEEE 99
Breastfeeding is cost effective. I say that because marketing to pregnant mothers has made them feel they need tons of accessories like, tote bags, nipple creams, pillows, covers etc. to breastfeed when in fact you only need you. But to put in perspective, you can save approximately 1200 or more a year by breastfeeding and not buying formula.
Breastfeeding aids in a mother's postpartum recovery. When a baby sucks at the breast or when the nipples are stimulating, it releases the hormone called oxytocin, which causes the uterus to contract to squeeze out excess blood and return to its pre-pregnancy size.
Breastfeeding takes a lot of energy to do and as a result it burns calories while you do it. Making milk uses up fat stores from pregnancy and you can burn up to 500 calories from breastfeeding.
The stimulation of the nipple releases an onset of hormones to influence the overall balance of many of your other hormones and keep estrogen levels low, which aids in the development of certain cancers. Many mothers say that breastfeeding gives them a joyful and sensual experience and feel happy while nursing. These good feelings come from oxytocin, again, which is also related to milk ejection reflex. It is a bonding hormone that is present during sexual intercourse and childbirth and helps to form a nurturing relationship with your baby.
Again, the nipple stimulation from nursing or pumping releases the hormone prolactin. The same hormone that makes the mothers milk help also helps the mother to feel relaxed. Some mothers report feeling so relaxed that they fall asleep which is why mothers feel sleepy while breastfeeding. Prolactin is a stress fighting hormone and research shows mothers are more tolerant of stress while they breastfeed.
'When I come home from work, breastfeeding helps me to unwind better than a cocktail does..
Reduced Risk of Cancers
Breastfeeding reduces the risk of ovarian and breast cancer especially premenopausal breast cancer by as much as 25 percent depending on how long she has breastfed her entire lifetime. The lower risks are due to lower estrogen levels which is created when a mother breastfeeds. Less estrogen means the growth of uterus lining and breast tissue are shed and less risk of becoming cancerous.
Breastfeeding mothers have a lower risk of developing osteoporosis and hip fractures.
When mothers EXCLUSIVELY breastfeed for at least six months likely will not have a period which means they will be able to ovulate and become pregnant. The same hormones that make milk also suppress ovulation. Go figure?
How can I help you achieve your goals today, honey?
Jada Metcalf | is a mom of two, Certified Breastfeeding Specialist, Postpartum Doula, ROSE Community Transformer, IBCLC candidate, Community Health Worker in training and a lactation and postpartum wellness business owner.
The information provided in this blog is not a replacement for medical advice or treatment. Health information on this site is based on peer-reviewed medical journals and highly respected health organizations and institutions including the CDC (Center for Disease Control), AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics), WHO ( World Health Organization), NIH (National Institute of Health), ABM (Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine) Breastfeeding and Human Lactation, 5th Edition, (Wambach Spencer) The Breastfeeding Book , (Sears and Sears)