Breastfeeding is every mother’s decision. This is not a post telling you that you should or need to breastfeed – it’s not for everyone. I have decided that I am going to breastfeed and because of that, I wanted to share some of the information I learned at our class that I was unaware of before. We took a breastfeeding class a few weeks ago (although it feels like it was a year ago). The instructor was very informative and had a good sense of humor – which I think is necessary with topics like these. If you’re contemplating breastfeeding, I would recommend taking a class. For us, it was a one-time class that lasted two hours.
So here we go.
Benefits for Baby:
1. Baby’s first immunization. Breastfeeding strengthens the baby’s immune system and antibodies from the mother are passed to the baby through the milk, which can help prevent illnesses.
2. Reduces likelihood of ear infections.
3. Reduces likelihood of allergies and asthma.
4. Provides the ideal nutrition for infants. It has the perfect mix of vitamins, protein, and fat.
5. Is more easily digested than infant formula.
6. Plays a role in the prevention of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome)
Benefits for Mom:
1. Breastfeeding releases the hormone oxytocin, which helps the uterus return to its pre-pregnancy size and may reduce uterine bleeding after birth.
2. I can’t remember if it’s oxytocin or another hormone, but we learned that there is a release of some hormone that actually relaxes the mother while breastfeeding. So it has a calming effect.
3. Burns extra calories to help lose that pregnancy weight.
4. Bonding experience with your child.
5. Reduces chances of developing breast, uterine, endometrial or ovarian cancer.
1. Less expensive than formula. Our instructor stated that it was about $150/month for formula (and that doesn’t count the higher-end brands).
2. Always ready – don’t have to make the formula.
3. Less dirty diapers. Not right away, but a month or so after birth, bowel movements may be few and far between as the milk is so nutritious, they are absorbing pretty much everything in it, so less comes out – if you get my drift. I’ve been told that breast-fed babies could go 4-5 days without a bowel movement. But of course, read the signs and make sure it’s not constipation or something else either.
4. There are additional social benefits that have been reported, such as higher I.Q. and less psychological issues.
I don’t want to call them “cons”, but there are a few things to consider that come with breastfeeding.
Things To Consider:
1. Because breast milk is more easily digested, they get hungry faster than formula-fed babies. So get ready to feed a little more often. Just think of it as more bonding time with baby.
2. Diet. This is something that I know I will need to be more conscious of – making sure I’m getting the extra calories and the calcium to provide that proper nutrition. But I am happy that I can have sushi again!
3. Let’s face it. We’re all waiting for that moment that we can have a nice glass of wine, a cold beer or a margarita. As our instructor stated, you don’t have to completely abstain from alcohol, but you have to be aware of how much and making sure you’re taking the time to let it get out of your system prior to feeding. Or make sure to pump prior to having that drink and “pump and dump” after.
I’m sure there are a lot more benefits that I cannot remember off the top of my head, and probably a few more things to consider. But overall, we’re going to give this a try and hope for the best!
Here are some websites I found that I thought would be good resources as they are more evidence-based versus opinion-based: