Assignments, breastfeeding, words

The Benefits of Breastfeeding

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.

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Nursing at ODU

 

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 first six months.
The first six months.

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.

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Works Cited

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.

Maxine, update

Since I Have a Minute

Maxine is doing absolutely great! She is almost six weeks old and she is about 8 lbs now. She is a champion breastfeeder and she just went through another growth spurt. That was a crazy week. She was up every hour to eat throughout the day AND night. I can always tell when a growth spurt is about to happen now because she will sleep almost the entire 24 hours before it starts.

Maxine can spin herself in a circle when she is laying on her stomach. She still hates being on her back and she still hates the bath. I learned that she loves the shower though! She still is wearing newborn clothes, but the sleepers are getting a little snug for her long legs. Luckily her legs are bent most of the time when she is wearing them because she normally is sleeping when she is wearing one. Her hair is growing in really well and I can’t wait until it is long enough for me to put in pretty hair styles.

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I just got my infinity nursing scarf in the mail today! I love it already and when I practiced using it, I realized that this is going to make nursing in public (NIP) incredibly easy for me! It covers everything up and unless someone is staring at me, they won’t even know that I am feeding Max! The one in this picture is the same design as the one I have, but it is not the shop I purchased it from.

2fdc9e6a9b9c8aed8a283e6a89e9bcffAfter this month of breastfeeding and pumping for Maxine, I have decided to upgrade my breast pump. This pump is great, but it is not effective for my needs. This was the perfect pump to start out with. It is called the Medela Swing.
Swing-02-005

The pump that I am upgrading to is called the Medela Pump in Style Advanced. This will produce more milk in less time and I can pump both breasts at one time rather than one breast at a time. This will cut my pumping time more than in half and the best part is that I will be able to start a freezer stash for when Max.MPNSA001-02

I also am in the process of starting a new job! It is with West Corporation and I am an at-home agent. This job will be great to have for me to bring in income and the best part I get to choose my own hours and still stay home with Maxine! That was my ultimate goal.

I’m really happy with my life right now. Things are always great when you put faith in yourself!!

Parenting

The Breastfeeding Black Woman

So far in my breastfeeding journey, I have noticed one huge thing: There are few black women who breastfeed! In my entire life, I have never seen a black woman breastfeed and I wonder if it is because they don’t normally, or if it is because they are just very private about it. When I am out in public, I never see black women breastfeed, only others.

People are actually shocked to hear that I am breastfeeding and also, people have been visibly angry with me for not choosing to formula feed my child. They think it is barbaric that I am allowing my child to breastfeed. The make comments about how they never breastfed their children and that they don’t see why I would do that. And my favorite, “Who told you do do that? That’s a white girl thing.” Actually, no. It is a worldwide thing. It has just been stupidly frowned upon by many  in the United States.

I don’t understand why people think that breastfeeding is bad for ME. Why wouldn’t I breastfeed? Breast milk is by far the most natural and healthy thing I could feed my baby. She is very healthy by the way. She is gaining weight like she should. Every once in a while, I will  give her a couple ounces of formula. This is normally when she decides she is hungry and I can’t feed her (like when we have to be somewhere in a short amount of time and I don’t have breast milk pumped.) It’s clear that she notices the taste difference, but she will take it anyway because she is hungry! I hate having to give her formula though because it makes her tummy hurt and she gets super gassy.

Another common question I get is, “What about when you go back to work? You can’t breastfeed at work.” That is one of the most ignorant questions to me. How do you feed your child when you are at work. Obviously a bottle. The magical thing about breast milk is that it can be expressed from the breast and stored in bags and bottles in the fridge and freezer. It is sorcery, I tell you!! Seriously, it’s not that hard to pump breast milk and store it for your child. I don’t plan on being at work 24/7 so, I can still breastfeed her when I am at home.

Breastfeeding in the black community should be more prominent. I’m sure that it is convenient having formula, but it is so rewarding to have that bonding time with your child giving them the best possible nutrition. We need to educate black women on the topic of breastfeeding. The first question I get from other black moms should not be “what type of formula do you use?” and I should not get a look of disgust when I say that I am breastfeeding. SO WHAT. Seriously, as long as my child is eating, what is the problem?

Becoming educated on the topic of breastfeeding is key. The Office of Women’s Health has great information on breastfeeding on their website as does La Leche League. La Leche League will also help you on your breastfeeding journey. They are absolutely wonderful! We need to get more babies breastfed! We need this natural thing to be normalized!

 All my children will be breastfed. All of my children will be taught that breastfeeding is a normal thing.

I am a black woman who breastfeeds and I am proud!!

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