Why Breastfeed?

"A baby nursing at it's mothers breast is an undeniable affirmation in our rootedness in nature." - David Suzuki

Image Courtesy Cradled Creations

I want to give a little background about myself and why I am so passionate about breastfeeding before I begin this first breastfeeding blog post off. First off, I am not against formula, or mothers who choose to give their children formula. Secondly, I do believe and support the phrase "Breast is Best." Lastly, I struggled a lot with my first with breastfeeding. He was born prematurely, did not have a suck reflex, didn't have a great latch, I had an oversupply problem and because I was so determined to breastfeed I struggled and persevered and it's made me extremely passionate and understanding towards other mothers who have breastfeeding problems. This is why I decided to take the Breastfeeding course and pursue my Lactation Consultant certification: because I wish I had had the support when I was struggling, and because I want to be able to offer support to other moms in need.

Courtesy of RS Imaging and Design

I've now been breastfeeding for a total of 18 months, I am currently breastfeeding both my toddler and my 1 month old and I am still just as in love with breastfeeding as I was before. Yes, it can be challenging and exhausting, but the love I get from holding my baby and watching her stare up at me while I nurse her is like nothing else. Same with when my toddler comes to me when he's hurt himself or just wants some extra mama time, it's a place for comfort and love and I'm so glad I've been able to continue on with my breastfeeding like I have.

So, I'll be updating my website blog every week, and on Thursday's I'll be adding a breastfeeding related post. I encourage you to message me or contact me if you have suggestions or topics you want me to write about. I want to know what you have questions about and I will do my very best to answer them for you. So, here's the very first post: 

WHY BREASTFEED?

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 It is normal and it is natural. We are innately wired to breastfeed our babies. Babies not only receive amazing health benefits from breastfeeding, but they feel most safe when they are at the breast. By recognizing that breastfeeding is natural and the norm, we encourage optimal health for both mother and child.

It provides optimal health and wellness and protects the child from acute and chronic illnesses. Did you know that breast milk is a live substance? It contains live antibodies, microorganisms and cells that help to adapt, support, protect, and strengthen a child's immunity. Our breasts can detect a temperature change within our babies and adjust our milk accordingly to regulate temperature for our babies. It also detects illness in a child or mother and immediately begins to make antibodies to protect and fight off illness. Our milk changes depending on the sex of the child. For example, if you feed your son on one breast and your daughter on the other, the milk contents will be variable for each child. Breastmilk changes itself to uniquely match the child. That is not only amazing, but incredible. 

It provides long-term health benefits to women. Women who don't breastfeed are at a higher risk of developing ovarian and pre-menopausal breast cancers. Breastfeeding encourages uterine contractions to help bring the uterus back to pre-pregnancy size. Women who don't breastfeed are at a higher risk of postpartum bleeding. Furthermore, women who don't breastfeed are at a higher risk of developing osteoporosis. 

Breast-feeding provides an incredible mother-child relationship and is made exactly for your baby. Breast milk is an amazing substance. Scientists have yet to be able to reproduce anything like breast milk, and that is amazing considering the health advancements we've made in our society. Breastfeeding doesn't just have amazing health benefits. The comfort and security a child receives when they breastfeed is so important to their cognitive health. A lot of people believe that extended breastfeeding will cause dependency. This is actually not true, breastfeeding helps provide independence in children because it provides them with the security they need to grow and feel safe. They are confident in new situations because they've received the security they crave and desire through breastfeeding. It provides pain relief when a child is injured and decreases anxiety.  

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Breast Milk Facts

Breast milk is an amazing substance that cannot be duplicated by any artificial means. Unique in its composition and function, breast milk:

contains an ideal balance of nutrients that the infant can easily digest

changes over time, and even over the course of a day, to meet the changing needs of the growing child

contains substances essential for optimal development of the infant’s brain, with effects on both cognitive and visual function9

supplies growth factors that combine to mature the infant gut

provides the infant with immune factors manufactured to fight allergens and illnesses specific to the mother’s and infant’s environment 

From Breastfeeding Made Simple

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There are plenty more reasons as to why you should breastfeed your child; however, for my readers sake I want to keep this short and sweet and to the point. Breastfeeding cannot be replicated. Breast milk cannot be replicated. Yes, ultimately my firm belief is that what is most important is that a child is fed; however, if you have the ability to breastfeed, I strongly believe that you should. Breast is best for so many reasons. Formula is an incredible discovery and development that I am so thankful we have, especially for those situations where it will save a baby's life, but ultimately breast milk is made for human babies. As mothers, when we are provided with evidenced based information we are able to make informed decisions about our health and how we choose to feed our babies. However you choose to feed your baby is right for you and your family. I will NEVER judge you on that, I am only here to provide support. I want mothers to feel supported and empowered, and that is my ultimate goal here. 

So, ultimately... why breastfeed? Because it's amazing.

XO

Next week's topic: Latch. 

Some great resources that were used for this post:

Breastfeeding Made Simple

Breastfeeding Committee for Canada

World Health Organization

Breastfeeding Inc.

 

Images Used courtesy of Little Bird Birth Services, Cradled Creations and RS Imaging and Design