Monday, May 27, 2013

The Benefits of Breastfeeding

     I just realized that I haven’t dedicated an entry to one of the most important activities in my life – Breastfeeding.
   I breastfed Audrey until she was almost one and a half, and only stopped because she self-weaned when I got pregnant with Natalie around that time. But if I had the opportunity, I would continue on until she was two years old or even a bit older. Right now, I am consistently breastfeeding my 8 month old baby and I don’t plan to stop anytime soon.
   I am a firm believer of the benefits and advantages that breastfeeding provides for both mom and baby. It is definitely something that I would strongly recommend new moms to consider and commit to.
    You’ve probably heard this many times before but what’s great about breastfeeding, besides all of its health benefits to your baby is that it promotes bonding. And there is a science to it. Breastfeeding releases the bonding chemical oxytocin, also known as the ‘love hormone’. Yes, the same one that is released when baby is ready to come out of mama’s tummy and starts up labor.
     I personally love the opportunity that breastfeeding gives me to bond with my baby. While feeding I get to stroke her hair, rub her cheek and her back, or hold her tiny hands. While she is in my arms, it also allows her to see me and study my face up close. My baby gets full and satisfied, comforted, relaxed and sleepy (most of the time), happy, healthy, and Natalie even smiles at me while feeding – it is such an amusing sight!
     Most especially, I get to provide her with the healthiest milk and the best nutrients while giving her comfort. Audrey hasn’t had any major health problems in almost three years of her life. I can count the times she has gotten sick in one hand – and these instances are limited to fever brought about by cough, colds and roseola (and she hardly had a rash outbreak from this too). Other than that, she’s been great. She always seems to be strong enough to fight off viruses and I am so thankful for that. It is so hard to see your child sick and feeling very uncomfortable or in some kind of pain. So I am more than willing to invest time breastfeeding Natalie so she can also grow up to be healthy and strong just like her big sis.    
    And the advantages of breastfeeding don’t end with my baby, I get to benefit from it too. I get relaxed while breastfeeding (due to the release of relaxing hormones), I burn calories and lose weight quickly in the weeks after birth, and most of all, my husband and I get to save money while providing the best milk for our baby J. It is also more convenient for me - since I breastfeed directly, I don’t need to prepare formula and wash bottles regularly. At night I just put my baby beside me in her co-sleeper or our bed and wake up on her cue to feed. 
    Breastfeeding also protects mothers from certain cancers and  postpartum depression. You may want to read up on these articles for more information on the many benefits of breastfeeding:

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