Breastfeeding is something that is incredibly near and dear to my heart. I have nursed my daughter for almost 15 months and we have no plans on ending the relationship anytime soon. It is incredible, really. I have provided food for Maxine for over a year. ME! I made it! Sometimes I sit up at night and just think “Wow! The female body is amazing!” Breastfeeding Maxine has helped me slow down and take breaks. I was always busy before I had her. I always had to be doing something. That is only one of many reasons why breastfeeding is so beneficial for me, as well as for babies.
There are many health benefits provided for mothers and babies. Breastfeeding helps mothers recover from childbirth more quickly and easily. Oxytocin is released during breastfeeding and that helps to make the uterus return to its original size quicker and reduces postpartum bleeding (American Academy of Pediatrics). My daughter’s pediatrician also told me that breastfeeding reduces the chance of getting breast and ovarian cancer later in life. Breastfeeding also burns calories! There are some who admit to breastfeeding only to lose weight faster. That was a perk for me, but the main reason I chose to breastfeed is because it is free! It does not cost a dime to feed your baby straight from the tap. Breast milk provides ideal nutrition for infants and up through childhood. It contains the perfect balance of fat, vitamins, and protein and that is exactly what baby needs to grow (WebMD). Breast milk is free from chemicals as well (Alison Daly). Breast milk also contains antibodies to help your child battle viruses and bacteria. It is great to continue breastfeeding your child while you are sick. I had a terrible cold a few weeks ago where all I could do was sleep, but Maxine continued to nurse the entire time and only got a sniffle! That is the power of breast milk! According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, breastfeeding also plays a role in the prevention of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Breastfed infants are also less likely to be overweight according to the AAP as well.
The most important benefit of breastfeeding for me has been the bond it created. Knowing that Maxine needs me makes me feel complete. There have been countless smiles and giggles during nursing sessions. I swear that I suffered from less postpartum depression thanks to the relaxation that breastfeeding allows me to have. I know that one day the nursing relationship that I have with Maxine will end, but for now, I will continue to cherish every single moment.
Alison Daly, Christina Mary Pollard, Colin William Binns. “Benefits, Barriers and Enablers of Breastfeeding: Factor Analysis of Population Perceptions in Western Australia.” 07 02 2014. PLOSone. 10 12 2014.
American Academy of Pediatrics. “Benefits of Breastfeeding for Mom.” 10 7 2014. HealthyChildren.org. 10 12 2014.
WebMD. “Breastfeeding Overview.” 2005-2014. WebMD. 10 12 2014.