My daughter is nearing her thirteenth birthday, but I can close my eyes and remember looking down at her sweet face while she nursed. Those are very special memories that stay with me, especially when she seems to be growing and maturing on a daily basis. Those memories made me want to write a post about my favorite things regarding breastfeeding. It’s not all-inclusive and if you have something to add, please leave a comment!
I loved the bonding. It’s true– when my breast milk let down and the hormones were flowing, a sense of peace and calm came over me. The house was dirty? Who cares, I’m feeding my baby. The laundry was piled up? It can wait until I’m done feeding and snuggling my baby.
Food! I was hungrier while nursing than during pregnancy and being able to eat an extra 500 calories a day was fantastic. This also leads into: losing weight! Finally something I could do to make me slim again and it was good for both my baby and myself.
Saving money. No cost for formula, no bottles, less illness, no clipping coupons to make ends meet, and no running to the store late at night or early in the morning because we were low on food for baby. No forgetting to pack enough food when we did go places, including on vacation.
Knowing it was the best food, nutrition, and immunity possible for my child. My body was producing milk in direct relation to her growing needs. How cool is that? Most parents want the best for their children and with breastfeeding, I was able to give the best to my baby. I was not a breastfed baby due to being adopted as a few days old newborn, but I wish somehow it had been possible in my situation.
Being awakened (again) in the middle of the night and only having to roll over to soothe and feed my baby. No getting up, no warming a bottle (even a pre-made one), no mixing of formula.
Knowing that I was reducing my risk of breast cancer simply by feeding my baby with breastfeeding.
It’s best for the environment. Really–breastfeeding is one easy way of being green. No resources are used to produce, ship, sanitize, or heat up bottles, the dairy and soy industries are not involved, and discarded plastic bottles, nipples, and the like will not be clogging landfills for up to 200-450 years.
Nicer bowel movements. I’ve been around a lot of babies in my lifetime and breastfed babies have easier bowel movements, with less smell. There is no switching of milk to soy to whatever-new-formula of formula in order to find the most gentle food for baby’s tummy.
Cuddling and playing. You might think this falls strictly into the bonding area, but when breastfeeding continues beyond the age where babies can crawl and play, having a baby cuddle into your arms to nurse is reaffirming the previous bonds made when your little one was a newborn. Playing “This Little Piggy” while baby nurses. Catching that smirk or smile as baby looks up at you. Discovering what sort of rituals baby does while breastfeeding, such as cooing, touching your face, relaxing versus being constantly on the go.
Bonding with my grandmother and other women. Hearing their stories about breastfeeding when it wasn’t popular, or how hard they worked to make it work, hearing different methods of weaning. It was as if I had a new quilt to cover me, comprised of women who had gone before me into breastfeeding their babies.
My daughter is years past these moments, but I miss them and remember that every moment spent breastfeeding was worth it.
What are your favorite things about breastfeeding?
All Rights Reserved, Knoxville Doula Kimberly Sebeck, 2010