When I discover that I am pregnant with my second child, I set my mind to embrace the whole process of conception and willingly immerse myself to the tough tasks of motherhood and childcare. Part of the entire plan is to opt for exclusive BREASTFEEDING.
But for me, having my baby breastfed is not a walk in a park. It takes an enormous amount of patience and bravery to combat fear, depression, and anxiety. This is because I gain no confidence and little experience on the whole process of nursing my baby. Added to that, I had tried it only for a month with my first child.
Preparing myself for baby’s arrival, I devote my time and effort in reading online blogs and sourcing out wisdom and positive experiences from other nursing mothers. This is a way to keep me loaded with accurate information, education, support, and encouragement. When I begin breastfeeding I encounter many problems but they go away after I get to hang of things. Example of which are breast engorgement and leaking breasts. Most of all, learning more about breastfeeding help me to pinpoint the cause of some problems and prevent them from recurring.
Eventually, I outstrip every challenges and now I can say I successfully nurse my baby for ten long months. The feeling is rewarding as I ever imagine. This push me to reach out to many expecting mothers as possible to take my advice and perhaps enlighten themselves on the greater benefits of breastfeeding. My choice has influence the growth and development of my baby and myself as well.
Here’s my list of five reasons that makes breastfeeding best for me and my baby:
1. Boost good health and mental development
It always a bandwagon campaign among breastfeeding advocates and lactation consultants on the long-lasting health benefits of exclusive breastfeeding. And yes they are very true. My baby barely has infections, allergies, intestinal problems, and other form of communicable diseases. At three months old, I already travel her in and out of Oman. We even go on long distance trip, camping, swimming, and even hiking.
As they say, there is nothing better for the health of your baby than breastfeeding. Breast milk is “gold standard of infant nutrition”. It has the perfect combination of proteins, fats, vitamins, and carbohydrates, water, and living cells called Leukocytes that help fight infection. Leukocytes are antibodies, living cells, enzymes, and hormones that make breast milk ideal. These cannot be found in formula milk. All these content also boost mental development and IQ level. At 10 months, my baby is energetic, alive, and happy. She can now cruise around the house, imitate our gestures, bubble her own words, and share her heart-melting smiles and grin.
2. Super saving and truly convenient
Breastfeeding is not only natural, but it is 100% FREE! In one of the article I have read, it said that “if you breastfeed your child for a year you will save $1700 in formula. Subtract $300 for a good pump if you work and that is still saving a lot of good money”. For the last six months, I haven’t spent any penny for the formula milk!
Breastfed babies get hungry and eat more often than bottle-fed babies. This is because the fats and proteins in breast milk are more easily broken down so they are absorbed and used more quickly than formula milk. I don’t have to worry feeding my baby every few hours because I can basically use nursing blanket and feed her inside the car or in a convenient corner of a room. This means I don’t have to wash and boil formula bottles or even use bottle steamer. I save a lot on water and electricity. Essentially, my milk is delivered straight to my daughter fresh and warm.
3. Reduce stress level, protect from depression and get back in shape
Breastfeeding does not only reduced my stress level, shelled me from the risk of postpartum depression but an excellent way to shred off those weights I gained during pregnancy.
When breastfeeding my little one, I feel relaxed and comfortable. One study reported that this is how most women experience during nursing because the hormone oxytocin that promotes nurturing and relaxation are triggered and released . The hormone is also responsible for a rapid contraction of uterus after birth, resulting in less postpartum bleeding.
I also noticed that my breasts look fuller and are in great shape. This is proven by a study that structural changes in breast tissue caused by breastfeeding and the fact that lactation suppresses the amount of estrogen our body produces. Researchers think that this estrogen suppression will protect women from the effect any form of cancer such as breast or ovarian.
But above all, I am surprise that I rapidly lose pounds within months of breastfeeding my baby. And I did it without compromising either my health or my baby’s by dieting. This is because it takes all nutrients and things away from my body. In fact, it is natural way of burning calories to make breast milk every time I nurse. Now I am 46.4 kilos so 2 kilos off then I will get back to my ideal weight.
4. Develop intimate bonds
During the first few hours of Anyah’s birth she was held on my arms and laid down at my side while I was at the recovery room. As tiny and fragile as she was, I have the difficulty of properly latching her mouth on my breast. After many attempts and with the help of nursing assistant, she was able to take on milk from me. It was painful yet relieving. And I know at that instant we created invaluable opportunity to bond and develop emotional intimacy.
Our mother-daughter breastfeeding moment prosper into something of our own “quiet and loving time”. We have to be close to one another. Touching. Facing one another. I am looking down at my baby’s face as she feeds, while she gaze back at me and pauses then smile and comes off the breast. A lovely sight I don’t want to end.
Many studies have revealed that the skin-to-skin contact between the mother and her baby immediately after birth reduces crying, improves mother-infant interaction, keeps the baby warm, and helps the mother to breastfeed successfully. Added to that, the first concept of La Leche League on breastfeeding is valuable wordings to remember: “Mothering through breastfeeding is the most natural and effective way of understanding and satisfying the needs of a baby.” Yes, this is perfectly true. I can intuitionally sense my baby’s feelings – happy, overwhelm, sad, hungry, or in pain. And we have that mutual connection. Sometimes I can’t help thinking about my baby when I am at work or away from her even for a while.
5. Strengthen family support
I had made the choice to breastfeed long before I conceived for the second time. Lucky for me, my husband share his full support on my decision. I am thankful to my mom-in-law my husband was a well-breastfed baby when he was an infant. So I didn’t have to struggle with breastfeeding and he was onboard with me. He saw how the baby and I loved it. He assisted me to feel confident and comfortable during the first week when Anyah was at home and while I am recuperating from my Caesarean operation. In another end, my son, who is 7 years older, is also cooperating and will shout out loudly “mommy baby want some milk”, when he hears baby’s cry. Breastfeeding has not only strengthened my bonding with my daughter but with the whole family as well.
The essence of breastfeeding doesn’t only effects mother and child for an intimate relationships or good health. If we do our share well, it can be the finest and far-reaching achievements we get. In the same manner we are helping our newborns to the complex work and be able to survive.
So what about you? How was your breastfeeding experience?