Breastfeeding: The Perks
There is lots of research out there now to support the fact that breastfeeding is better for babies than formula. Of course, if a woman cannot breastfeed or there are circumstances that prohibit her from being able to do so, formula is not going to hurt a baby. But, if at all possible, they say that “breast is best.”
*Disclaimer: I know that not everyone is able to breastfeed (or even wants to) for whatever reason. I do consider myself to be lucky in that both of my babies were great nursers (that’s what happens when you come from a family of good eaters on both sides!). They were also both full-term and had developed the sucking reflex by the time they were born. (Yet another reason why moms should consider waiting, if possible.) This post is not meant to offend anyone in any way but simply highlights the perks of breastfeeding.
Now that I am currently nursing my second child (I nursed Anya until 15 months), I’m reminded of all the other reasons I breastfeed, other than just the simple fact that it is better for him.
1. The cute little faces he makes. Moms who don’t breastfeed at all are totally missing out on this. When you nurse, you get a view of your child that no one else really gets. When Felix is super hungry and finally latches on to eat, his eyes kind of glaze over, almost like he’s drunk. A lot of times he will make faces and raise his eyebrows, and occasionally, he falls asleep. Then, he’ll often smile at me (awake or asleep) and it’s just so sweet.
2. The cute little noises he makes. Moms who don’t breastfeed at all are totally missing out on this, too. Felix often makes sounds like “mmmm” and “ahhhh” while he’s nursing. I guess Mommy’s milk is just that good:)
3. He (or she) will always want you (at least every 2 to 3 hours). Since I’m the only one who can feed my baby, it insures that I will get my baby back in my arms at least every 2 to 3 hours, even if we are out somewhere.
4. I don’t have to pack anything for him to eat when we leave. When we are out places, I kind of feel a little sorry for the moms who have to make sure to pack the right amount of bottles, formula, etc. All I have to remember is my cover, and if a mom chooses not to use one (which is actually perfectly legal in the state of Indiana), she wouldn’t have to remember anything at all.
5. I can eat more than if I weren’t nursing. When I first came home from the hospital, I was famished. The hard work I did during labor and delivery and the fact that my body was making milk must have been kicking in and I could eat and eat and eat. In the first few weeks, I lost another 5 pounds, even through all the eating. Unfortunately, I am not one of those women whose weight melts off just because of breastfeeding, even though both of my little darlings gained weight quickly on nothing but my milk. That being said, when I started Weight Watchers this time around, I was awarded extra points each day for exclusively breastfeeding (as opposed to supplementing with formula) and I even added a couple more points to that number to be sure it didn’t mess with my supply. Lots of nights, I still have tons of points left after dinner so I can still enjoy an ice cream sundae. And oftentimes, my weight is down again in the morning.
6. It’s completely free! While some moms are having to dish out lots of cash for the right formula to feed their babies, I am spending virtually nothing for my baby’s food. Yes, I bought a pump (which is lasting me through both babies so far), some bottles and nipples (for daycare), containers and bags to freeze my milk in, and a nursing cover. But a lot of these things (besides the nipples and freezer bags) are reusable from the first baby to the second, and the cost doesn’t even begin to compare to the cost of formula.
Yes, there are cons to breastfeeding. I do still have to follow the seafood rules just like I did while pregnant, and I have to time my alcoholic beverages so that Felix won’t be affected. I also have to be sure to either feed him or pump every few hours to keep up with my supply and ensure that he will have enough when he is away from me, and this can become pretty grueling and time-consuming when trying to plan things out. That being said, knowing that Felix weighs 14 pounds and 9 ounces (which means he has gained approximately 6 pounds since birth) at 10 weeks and 5 days all due to my milk makes it all worth it!
I will leave you with a couple pictures of my chunky monkeys!
Anya at 12 weeks
Felix – look at those cheeks!
All the breastfeeding moms reading this – feel free to comment with anything I’ve missed!