Having a baby is one of the most exciting times in any woman’s life. So many fun, new changes happen when we have a baby. There are so many decisions to make, especially about what to feed this new little wonder. Most people have heard that breast milk is best, but often they don’t know why. Being a nurse and a lactation consultant, I have learned so much about breast milk and why it’s so fantastic. I have a few insights that may help you in making your decision about whether to breastfeed.
During pregnancy our bodies grow this new life, get ready to deliver and feed this new baby. Our breasts are designed to make milk. Breast milk is full of antibodies, which help fight many common diseases and illnesses, such as ear infections. Breast milk is easy for babies to digest and it is ready to go, no mixing or warming! Breast milk is free, so that’s a benefit, too. Breastfeeding also gives new moms a chance to hold their babies close, which is comforting and creates a wonderful bond.
Breastfeeding also has many benefits for us mothers. It helps us lose our pregnancy weight easier and faster and lowers our risk for breast and ovarian cancer and osteoporosis.
Breastfeeding my baby is one of my proudest memories. Watching her grow and gain weight at every doctor’s visit really made me beam with pride. It was awesome to look at her and realize she came from me. To see her grow on my breast milk was even more amazing.
With a little help and patience, most women can successfully breastfeed, as briefly or for as long as they want. Sometimes, we all need a little help with this, so don’t hesitate to call a lactation consultant who can help or answer your questions. I breastfed for two years (and needed my lactation consultants’ help in the beginning), but not every woman wants to or can do it for that long. You need to decide for yourself. Some women pump and give breast milk in a bottle, and that’s fine, too. This is the only time in your baby’s life that you can do this for him or her, and it is so rewarding. Give it a try. Who knows, you may love it as much as I did and experience the true joy of breastfeeding.
August is National Breastfeeding Awareness Month. If you would like to know more about Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin’s Lactation Management Services, including education and consultation, please visit our website.
-Posted by Linda McNamara, RN, BS, IBCLC, RLC, lactation consultant at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin.