I know it's not August, yet, but, I thought it'd be nice to dedicate a post to it, even if it is still July!!
Breastfeeding is one of the most natural and beneficial acts a mother can do for her child.
I am a HUGE proponent of Breastfeeding. My mom breastfed me and all three of my sisters, for, at least a year, each, if not longer. I breastfed both of my children and plan on breastfeeding #3. There are hundreds of websites that detail all the AMAZING things that breastfeeding does and gives to your child, (and to you!!!), but here are some to get you thinking:
Breastmilk is constantly changing in its composition to meet the changing needs of the baby. It has the EXACT combination of protein, fats, vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and sugars needed for the human infant at various stages of his growth.
Breastfeeding protects your baby from gastrointestinal trouble, respiratory problems and ear infections.
Breastfeeding can protect your baby from developing allergies.
Breastfeeding may boost your child's intelligence.
Children who were breastfed are less likely to need orthodontic work, such as braces, due to the unique sucking action required with breastfeeding. They also seem to have better overall dental health than formula-fed children.
Breastfeeding promotes facial structure development, enhanced speech, and enhances vision.
Breastfeeding may protect against obesity later in life.
Breastfeeding may protect your baby from childhood Leukemia.
Breastfeeding may protect your baby from developing Type 1 Diabetes.
Breastfeeding may lower your baby's risk of SIDS. Statistics show that, for every 87 deaths from SIDS, only 3 are breastfed.
Breastfeeding helps you lose weight.
Breastfeeding can lower your stress levels and reduce postpartum bleeding.
Breastfeeding may reduce your risk of some types of Cancer.
Breastfeeding may protect against Osteoporosis later in life.
It develops a special emotional relationship and bonding with your child.
BUT, don't get me wrong!!! No one said it always comes easy to do!! To some mothers and babies, breastfeeding may very well come easily, and with my second child, Luke, it came veeeerrrrry easily. He LOVED to nurse, (maybe too much?!!!), he latched on right away, never had any issues, and I nursed him until he was almost 2. It was wonderful!! He loved it, and so did I!!
But, my breastfeeding experience with Ava, my first, was pretty rough. She latched on very well, at first, and did quite well the first week or so, but then it really went downhill......it was TORTURE getting her to latch on. We tried every trick in the book, and often it ended up with both she and I in tears! It was a tough time for us, but I stuck it out and things got better......perfect, no, but better. I ended up breastfeeding her until she was about 14 months, which, for how not-so-great of a feeder she was, that was a HUGE feat for me!! There were times we did supplement with a bit of formula, just out of desperation, but that's OK. As a parent, you have to do what you feel is right for you and your child. If you have a little one that is not nursing well, DO get he or she checked right away, or see a lactation consultant ASAP!! Ava's breastfeeding woes could have been "cured" by a quick little snip of the tongue. Along with Ava's Speech Apraxia, she was diagnosed with a bit of a tongue-tie, but not until she was 2 years old. If we would have only had her checked sooner, things might have been a little different.
As wonderful as breastfeeding is for you and your child, I wanted to make sure that I made the point that it can be "roses" with no struggles at all, but there are times that it's not always as easy as people think it's going to be.......BUT, DON'T GIVE UP!! The benefits that it gives FAR out-weigh the hardships. The benefits to you and your child are in the NOW, but are also things that will benefit you and your child in the FUTURE. There are many great websites you can go for support and information, there are groups, such as La Leche League that you can join for support, or ask your doctor for any information that they might have.
To breastfeed or not is a very personal decision, and I respect any mother's decision. But, if you were waivering as to your decision to breastfeed, or not, I hope this might have made your decision a little clearer.