As a first time mother I had no doubts about breastfeeding being the right choice for me and my baby. After reading a myriad of studies, research, and the essays of other mothers, it was an easy decision. What I wasn't expecting is all the hurdles we had to overcome in the first two months of our infant's life until I could comfortably breastfeed.
I have read that it isn't exactly a walk in the park the first time around. But nobody told me it could hurt so much! The first two weeks were agonizing, but I was very determined and my husband supported me in this. Then we wound up in the hospital when our infant was two weeks old (vomit tinted with blood, no fun). After three days all they could tell us is that she cannot digest cow's milk protein in my breast milk. For five days we had to formula feed with Similac Alimentum and I went on a strict dairy free diet. The baby hated it. Thankfully the Children's Hospital in Boston was very supportive. After those five days we went back to exclusively breastfeeding and I was in heaven! Not to mention our daughter, the way she clung to me after being deprived of the breast will always be in my memory. No dry, cracked, and sore nipples could sway me any longer! It wasn't easy to go completely dairy free, but it was worth it. It actually improved my health and it was the best thing for the baby.
Tomorrow our girl will be 14 months old. She has great eating habits and eats all the healthy food we eat. We are continuing to breastfeed despite the Western societal pressure to wean a baby after one year. I am quite opinionated on the subject. I don't think breastfeeding past one year old or even allowing self -weaning spoils a child. If anything, it makes them more independent than the average child once they actually do wean. I think it does even greater things for the mother-child bond past childhood. I'll tell you how it goes...
Why we love to breastfeed:
It eases the role of becoming a mother, especially the first time around. I cannot fathom how I would be able to find the time to wash bottles and mix formula in between diaper changes, laundry, and cuddle time. ;)
The mother's milk is always the right temperature, consistency, clean, fresh, and comes in reusable, Eco-friendly containers!
Breast feeding is free! Honestly, I don't think we could afford formula (especially that she could not digest milk protein and the only formula she could have is crazy expensive).
You get all kinds of proven health perks both for mom and child (see Wiki).
Breast milk is a lot less likely to contain chemicals such as perchlorate, melamine, and BPA found in formula. I can't cite that and I have no proof. That is my own conclusion :)
My baby rarely gets sick, even in the winter. She had a teething fever once in October. My husband and I were both sick with a stomach bug this winter, she wasn't sick even once!
It is so easy to travel while breastfeeding! No need to pack any formula, clean water, bottles, gadgets. I can feed her anytime, anywhere I want (I just use a cover). If I was formula feeding I think I would be stuck at home for the first 6 months because of dreading packing everything with me. If you are not comfortable breastfeeding in public you can always pump some to take with you.
I lost all my baby weight just a couple of months after giving birth. No diets, just breastfeeding. Now I am trying to gain some!
Breast milk adjusts to the baby's needs as he/she grows. Did you know that the anti-viral agents increase as the baby grows into a toddler? How perfect! Just in time for all the world exploration they do on the floor, in your closet, and outdoors.
What I love most about breastfeeding though is just the amazing feeling of nurturing my baby with everything I have. Those are priceless moments that I treasure amid my sometimes hectic days as a Work-at-Home mom. I love that it forces me to stop, relax, contemplate, and enjoy my baby's company. I would not change it for anything!
I encourage all mothers and moms-to-be to read the facts and choose to breastfeed. Make sure to feed within the first hour of birth, or things might go downhill if you don't. Stick to it the first few painful weeks! I don't think any baby should be deprived of being breastfed unless certain circumstances leave no other choice. Seriously, if you gave birth, breastfeeding the first days isn't even one quarter as painful. There really is nothing more you can do for the optimum health of your child, both now and for years to come.
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About the reviewer
Anastasia B (EcoMama)
I am a woman, a wife, a mother, a daughter, a sister, an aunt, a cousin, a friend, a Christ follower, an Interior Designer, a blog author, a cook, an artist, an eco-conscious consumer, a nature lover, … more
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Breastfeeding is the feeding of an infant or young child with breast milk directly from female human breasts (i.e., via lactation) rather than from a baby bottle or other container. Babies have a sucking reflex that enables them to suck and swallow milk. Most mothers can breastfeed for six months or more, without the addition of infant formula or solid food.
Human breast milk is the healthiest form of milk for human babies. There are few exceptions, such as when the mother is taking certain drugs or is infected with tuberculosis or HIV. Breastfeeding promotes health, helps to prevent disease and reduces health care and feeding costs. Artificial feeding is associated with more deaths from diarrhea in infants in both developing and developed countries. Experts agree that breastfeeding is beneficial, but may disagree about the length of breastfeeding that is most beneficial, and about the risks of using artificial formulas.
Emphasizing the value of breastfeeding for both mothers and children, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) both recommend exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life and then supplemented breastfeeding for at least one year and up to two years or more. While recognizing the superiority of breastfeeding, regulating authorities also work to minimize the risks of artificial feeding.
The acceptability of breastfeeding in public varies by culture and country. In Western culture, though most approve of ...