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Monday, April 14, 2008

Why Breastfeeding?

Written by Jeannie

Hmm..breastfeeding? Why should I? Many new mothers may have such thoughts. Given the choice over milk powder, some may even think “ Eww, it’s so inconvenient!” or “I’m just too busy! I have no time for it!” Considering the myth and stories spun around this topic, how many of the new mother actually know the advantages of breastfeeding? Let me tell you here why you should breastfeed.

Firstly, Breastfeeding will give your baby a head start in life because human milk is specially designed to meet all the baby’s nutritional needs. Do you know that breast milk adapts over time to match the infants changing need, the composition of breast milk varies even during a single feed? Milk is the only food the baby needs from birth till about four to six months of age, but also possible up to two years of age! Breast milk has over 100 constituent parts including important anti-infective properties. Not only is breastfeeding good for the baby but it is also good for the mother!

All new mothers want their best for their babies, and by breastfeeding, you could give a headstart in life for your precious! Infants who are breastfed have complete nutrition that has an effect on infants’ cognitive and social development. Children who had consumed mother’s milk in early weeks of life had a significantly higher IQ at 7.5 to 8 years. Breastfeeding also counters risk of infections for the baby. Why so? Colostrum, the early milk produced 2-3 days after birth by the breast is especially high in antibodies to help the baby to fight against common infections such as diarrhea and respiratory infections. Breastfed babies are also less prone to allergies, malnutrition, malocclusion (crooked teeth), asthma, eczema, constipation and sudden infant death. By breastfeeding, it also offers the baby comfort and security.

Breastfeeding = inconvenient? Think again! It is so much convenient for the mother as there are no need for bottles, sterilization or temperature check. The best thing about it - breast milk is also cleaner as free of germs! Breastfeeding is also a cost saving way for the mother as breast milk does not cost money while formula feed do and there is also no wastage of unconsumed milk. Want to be a pretty mom back in no time? Breastfeeding is also your ticket to gaining back your pre-pregnancy size; as not only does it lessen the chance of severe bleeding for the mother but also speeds up her return to pre-pregnancy size as the contraction of the womb occurs when the baby suckles. Mothers are also able to lose the fat stored around their hips and thighs during pregnancy as calories are used up when they breastfeed. Risk of breast cancer is less in women who breastfed. Breastfeeding delays the return of menstruation and can also help the mother plan her family naturally.

The Birth Boutique

By breastfeeding, mothers are also confident that they are fulfilling all their child’s emotional and physical needs and in doing so they find it an enjoyable and rewarding experience.

Some of the new mommies may have second thoughts and doubts about breastfeeding and questions like “What if my breast size are too small, am I still able to breastfeed?” Breast size is actually not a factor in determining how much milk is produced. Small breasted women are able to nurse without any problems while recent study did show that large breasted women had a more difficult time getting the baby to latch on the nipple, but this situation can be easily corrected, particularly with a bit of professional guidance. Breastfed babies also have signs that they are growing and getting enough milk. These include counting diapers to ensure that they are wetting between 6-8 diapers a day and counting stools, which will vary depending on the child’s age and whether or not they are eating solid food. There are also signs for mothers on when to breastfeed the baby as the baby may have fast eye movements under the eyelids as he/she begins to wake up to feed. The baby will also have sucking and licking movements or the baby will put his/her hand into the mouth. Stretching and increased body movements can also be seen when the baby is hungry therefore the time to breastfeed. The World Health Organization recommends giving only breast milk for the first 6 months however they support breastfeeding to continue with the introduction of other foods up to 2 years or more. Many mothers will breastfeed for longer period of time while others do not, however there is no “right time” to stop.

As we can see, breastfeeding does indeed provide many benefits not only to the mothers but also to the babies. So new mommies and mommies-to-be, what are you waiting for? Provide your child the best by breastfeeding! As the saying goes, “Natural way is always the best way.”

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