Is Breastfeeding Best For You?
You’ve probably heard that breast is best.
But what does that really mean? And more importantly, can you do it?
I’m not afraid to tell you that I’m a big fan of breastfeeding. I loved the bonding experience, and I felt empowered as a super-lactating mama able to provide my young with everything they needed to thrive. I breastfed my daughter for 14 months and my son for 12 months (even after he cut teeth at four months. Ouch!!), and trust me, I have the sagging breasts to prove it.
But I can also respect that not everyone chooses to breastfeed. My only request is that you make the right choice based on the facts, not myths like, “it will hurt!” (Truth: it only hurts if your baby is not latching on properly), or “my baby is not eating enough” (Truth: breastmilk is richer than formula, so babies need less to feel full. Also because it is all natural, it is digested quicker rather than formula sitting in the belly, so breastfed babies eat more often. This is absolutely normal), or “it’s too much work,” (Truth: Who wants to get up in the middle of the night, walk to the kitchen, sterilize and warm up a bottle when you can just roll over, pop it out and pop it in your baby’s mouth. Sounds like less work to me!) I should also remind you that breastfeeding is free of charge, though, admittedly, it does involve more time. But isn’t your baby worth it? And please don’t get me started on my soapbox about how breasts have been oversexualized in the country so much so that we forget what they were actually made for!! There’s a reason why we have breasts ladies, and it’s not just for your hubby’s delight!
But I digress. The point is, to breastfeed or not to breastfeed is a hot question for a lot of expecting and new moms. You have to consider your lifestyle, when you will return to work and if so, are you comfortable pumping? To some, the positives outweigh the cons and it’s more than worth it. Others, not so much. Before you rule it out, note the many benefits of breastfeeding for baby and you, as the mom.
- Breast milk is the best nutritional source for newborn babies up to 1 year because of its unique composition.
- Breastfeeding reduces the number of ear infections your baby may get.
- Breastfeeding often helps mommy lose baby weight faster!
- Breastfeeding also reduces your chances of getting ovarian, uterine, cervical and breast cancers in the future.
And if the man in your life thinks breastfeeding cuts him out of the process. Think again. A recent study by the Bravado Breastfeeding Information Council (full disclosure: I sit on their advisory board) showed that men were a highly influential factor in a woman’s decision to breastfeed and her willingness to continue. So, bring your significant other to the screen to read these tips that I found:
1. The first thing a father can do to promote success is to create a positive family atmosphere toward breastfeeding. As a practical matter, breastfed babies need to accompany their mothers whenever possible. A father who views a baby's continual presence as intrusive will subtly undermine breastfeeding. The father who naturally assumes that his baby will accompany the couple to restaurants, movies, dinner parties, and meetings has given breastfeeding his strong endorsement. There's a big difference between a man who agrees to let his partner breastfeed and one who deliberately creates an atmosphere of success.
2. Fathers can play a key role in bolstering their breastfeeding partner's confidence by showering them with compliments, praising their efforts, and offering words of encouragement. If you are not sure how to respond to your partner, try explaining that you don't know exactly what to say, but you want to support her in any way you can. Just being a sounding board or a listening ear might be all she needs on a specific day.
3. A father can go to the baby when he or she awakens and bring the hungry infant to his wife. While the mother is nursing, he can pour her a nutritious beverage, massage her shoulders, compliment her, and lovingly admire his nursing baby. After the first breast, he can burp the baby and help arouse the infant for the second side. When the feeding is complete, the father can change the infant and put him or her down to sleep.
Whichever route you decide, to breastfeed or not to breastfeed, make sure your support system is secure and you’re confident in your decision. Breastfeeding is a big commitment but it can yield great results—in the end the choice is yours! If you need more information, check out Breastfeeding.com to answer all of your “what if” questions.