I am very vocal about my breastfeeding journey. It wasn’t until our fourth son that I learned about the beauty of breastfeeding.
From the moment I gave birth to him, my OB Gynecologist and Midwife readily helped my son crawl towards my breasts. I later discovered it is called breast crawl. The newborn uses his instinct and reflexes to find his mom’s nipples. A few seconds after, he began to latch and nurse. Such a breakthrough solution to early breastfeeding problem.
I am just happy that the hospitals today encourage breastfeeding. Very unlike ten years ago when no health workers were even available to teach about colostrum, breast pumps, and even breastfeeding. Or so in my case.
When I gave birth to our fourth son two years ago, he joined in my room during my three-day hospital confinement. Also, there was a midwife who visited us and helped me about proper latching and even the best position to breastfeed my infant. Before with my three boys, they stayed in the nursery and I could only visit them when I need to feed them. The only time they were brought to my room was when I was about to be discharged.
Allow me to share with you how breastfeeding can be good not only for the baby but for the health of the mommies, too.
Breastfeeding protects the child from illnesses
The benefits of breastfeeding extend well beyond basic nutrition. Breast milk contains all the vitamins and minerals the baby needs in the first six months of life. Also, breast milk is full of disease-fighting substances that protect the baby from disease.
I have read that the mother’s body responds to pathogens that are in the body already. And then the body makes secretory immunoglobulin that is specific to those pathogens creating protection for the baby based on whatever the mother was exposed to. The secretory immunoglobulin is a substance that guards invading germs from forming thus preventing the baby to catch that same virus and bacteria.
The protection against illness though last beyond the baby’s breastfeeding stage. Breast milk also reduces a child’s risk of developing chronic conditions like type I diabetes, celiac disease, and Crohn’s disease.
Breastfeeding protects the child from obesity
Breastfeeding reduces a child’s risk of becoming overweight as a teen or adult. This is most likely to happen in children who were exclusively breastfed and nursed longer. The reason behind this is that breast milk contains less insulin than formula milk. Insulin stimulates the creation of fat. Likewise, it is said that breastfed babies have healthier eating patterns as they are able to regulate their food intake. They know how much to eat and when to eat. Add to that is the fact that breast milk provides the baby with nutritious food that is easy to digest.
Breastfeeding reduces stress level and risk of postpartum depression
Based from experience, breastfeeding relaxes a mom. Other moms testify to this as well. Nursing triggers the release of the hormone oxytocin which is a powerful antidepressant. This is the same oxytocin that helps the uterus to contract after birth, resulting in less postpartum bleeding.
Breastfeeding heals post delivery wound
My midwife told me that breastfeeding my son would help fasten the healing of my post delivery wound. It is because the oxytocin secreted when I nurse my son helps my uterus to contract. This then reduces post-delivery blood loss. Regular nursing will help my uterus to return to its normal size rather quickly – at about six weeks postpartum compared with 10 weeks if I am not breastfeeding.
Breastfeeding delays menstruation
Breastfeeding delays menstruation. I have read from one literature that prolactin is the primary hormone responsible for breast milk production. It is produced by the pituitary gland located in the brain. It is prolactin that also prevents menstruation. Because breastfeeding keeps prolactin level high especially if the mother breastfeeds often and exclusively, the more likely her menstruation will be delayed. The soon the mother weans her baby, her period will likely return relatively quickly.
Breastfeeding helps lose post pregnancy weight
Breastfeeding burns extra calories which helps fuel weight loss. A nursing mom tends to lose around 850 calories a day or about 1.3 to 1.6 pounds a month for the first four to six months of the baby’s life. Weight loss, though slows down when the baby gets older and extended breastfeeding begins. Extended breastfeeding is still nursing the baby beyond his one year of age.
Breastfeeding promotes mother-child bonding
Breastfeeding promotes a growing attachment between the mother and child that will continue in the baby’s development for years to come. By simply holding the child safe in the arms while giving him nourishment, the mother offers her child comfort. Those smiles and gaze all the more make the baby understand that he is loved and protected. Perhaps this is the reason as well that my son would love to comfort nurse. Though he had enough solid food, he would still run to me to nurse. He must be after the bonding and my company.
Momi approves breastfeeding
I am one breastfeeding mother and I highly recommend breastfeeding. Beyond the savings, breastfeeding empowers a mother. Breastfeeding empowers me in a way that I have seen my son grow and thrive on my breast milk alone. I just need to pull up my shirt and offer him nourishment.