World Breastfeeding Week kicked off yesterday!
Although I am not breastfeeding and I won’t have this blessing again, they are moments in my life that I will never, ever forget.
It is never easy getting started and it’s even harder if you are struggling and having a hard time with it. What most ladies don’t know is the support that is out there for them. I’ve never been the type of person to look down on people who don’t breastfeed, I’ve said it once and a million times, that the choice is yours alone to make.
For whatever reason.
But, breastfeeding was my choice and will always be my choice.
I advocate for it because I believe in the short and long-term benefits that breastfeeding has for my children. Also, the relationship that you build with your little ones is irreplaceable.
- During the first days of breastfeeding, your body produces liquid gold–colostrum. Where your child gets antibodies and rich nutrients that your baby needs in the first few days of life. It may not be much but, it’s exactly enough for your baby.
- Your milk changes as your baby grows. It has just enough sugar, protein, fat and hydration to nourish your growing baby. It’s always a perfect temperature, no washing and sterilizing bottles.
- It’s green.
Even if you’ve only nursed for the first few days, you’ve benefited your child and if you continue it only gets better!
If you’ve only nursed the baby for a few days:
- Baby receives colostrum, which is known as nature’s vaccine for the newborn.
- Through colostrum, baby will receive antibodies directly from Mom and will be able to fight off any illness she has/had.
- Helps mom’s uterus contract and her body heal faster, the body releases hormones that do this.
If you nurse for 3-4 months:
- Baby is less likely to develop ear infections, get any respiratory infections or illnesses making the rounds in the home & lowers risk to die from SIDS.
- Babies that are exclusively nursed for at least 4 months have half the amount of ear infections than those who were formula-fed.
- You’ve helped them build resistance to meningitis and pneumonia and any gastrointestinal sensitivities.
If you nurse for 6 months:
- Baby is less likely to develop any food allergies. You’ve provided the essential components that line baby’s intestinal tract that protects them from foreign proteins, which are known to cause allergies.
- At 6 months baby’s body begins to make this antibody on its own.
- Vaccines are more effective in babies fed for 6 months.
- Nursing for this long also helps aid in the prevention of childhood cancers.
- This is when it is recommended to introduce baby to solid foods, before this your milk is all that baby needs. But, all babies are different and give different signs of readiness.
If you nurse for 9-12+ months:
- You will see your baby’s brain develop tremendously through this period and a lot of it has been due to your milk.
- Studies show that breastfeeding effects baby’s IQ and development.
- Studies have also shown long-term benefits such as prevention of Crohn’s disease, Hodgkin’s disease, ulcerative colitis and many other conditions in adult life.
- They are also less likely to develop insulin-dependant diabetes.
It will always be near and dear to my heart, so Happy World Breastfeeding Week to all!
So, cheers to all the mommies and daddies that choose to make the breastfeeding choice. If you are struggling, don’t give up and keep going. You can reach out to the La Leche League, your local health unit, the local hospital or the one you gave birth in, if that’s applicable.
There are also forums and websites that you can refer to, sometimes there are little kinks in the road but, believe me–you aren’t the only one who has had the same problem! A good one is Breastfeeding.com to connect with other moms!
Don’t ever hesitate to drop me a line too!
Did you ever struggle while breastfeeding, how did you keep going?
Til next time, cheers m’deres!
Nancy Polanco is a freelance journalist, lifestyle content creator, and editor of Whispered Inspirations. She is a proud Mom to Gabby and Michaela, and wife to Darasak. Having worked as part of a health care team for almost a decade, Nancy is happy to be back to her passion. She is a contributor to the Huffington Post, TODAY’s Parents, and an Oprah Magazine Brand Ambassador.