You may be thinking, I do not need to read another blog, article, billboard or brochure telling me “Breast is Best!” I know that. I’m not going to beat that already dead, smelly, horse. Many mothers already know the health benefits of breastfeeding and feel judged, shamed, or embarrassed if they struggled to breastfeed, or simply chose not to. Let me emphasis this here: There is no judgment here! Although there is no shame in formula feeding your baby, there are many breastfeeding moms who feel that they could have continued their breastfeeding journey longer had they been given the right information and support. While many women already know that breastfeeding is the optimal nutritional source for a baby, there were also women whom I have counseled that were surprised when hearing the benefits to both mom and baby that breastfeeding offers and in return became willing to give breastfeeding a shot when their babies were born. That is why I feel it is important to list some benefits here as well as being a reminder for mamas to keep going when it gets tough.
Breast milk truly is liquid gold. It is a perfect food designed by an Almighty Creator that meets the complete nutritional needs of infants. The more I learn about breast milk the more amazed I become about how miraculous the human body is and the more passionate I become about sharing what little bit I know. Breast milk has the perfect amount of carbohydrates, fat, and protein that a new baby needs. Unlike formula, breast milk has the ability to change the composition of each of these nutrients as the baby grows and his/her nutritional needs change. The relationship between a baby and a mothers breast has the phenomenal ability to communicate the needs of a baby and the breast responds accordingly. Is the baby going through a growth spurt? Make more milk! Is the baby getting sick? Pump up those antibodies! Your body knows what to do as does a hungry, growing baby.
Ok, here we go. “The List”:
- Breast milk contains enzymes that make it easily digestible for your little one which generally results in less tummy trouble.
- Breast milk contains antibodies that help protect against disease. These antibodies are packed full in the first milk you produce called colostrum. The antibodies line the babies intestines and guard against outside bacteria helping to prevent illness.
- Breastfeeding lowers the babies risk of: Necrotizing entercolitis, asthma, obesity, diabetes, heart disease, respiratory infections, ear infections, SIDS, and childhood cancer.
- Breastfeeding also lowers the risk of certain health complications for mothers including: Type 2 diabetes, breast cancer, ovarian cancer, and postpartum depression.
Have I mentioned I love breast milk? I love the rewarding feeling of knowing that my body is what is making my little one grow and thrive. I love the bonding snuggles that come with nursing my girl to sleep. I love the sleepy smiles she gives me as milk runs down her face. I love knowing that I am giving her the healthiest start to her little life that I best know how to give. Does that mean breastfeeding is always easy? No, it’s not. There is no denying its challenges and struggles. Stay tuned and lets work through them together.