I always knew I wanted to try to breastfeed my child. From the beginning of my pregnancy I decided to try my best to feed my baby this way and I was mentally preparing myself for that. With all respect to mothers who cannot breastfeed for different reasons, I think it is the best way of feeding a newborn.
Breastfeeding is not a walk in a park. It means waking up at night as often as needed, because noone else can feed my baby, like it’s normally possible if there’s formula involved. It means painful nipples, almost exploding boobs, possible breast inflammation. It means possibility of saggy breast after the whole process. It means milk all over my shirts and tshirts and minimizing my wardrobe to only few clothes that allow me to take my boobs out as fast as possible in times of need. And I still don’t know how the end of breastfeeding looks like, though I heard it’s rather painful. Physically and emotionally.
And the beginning is not easy at all. It’s painful, it’s frustrating, tiring even. First two days after my baby boy was born I had very little milk, and he was all the time fussy, because of hunger. Then when I suddenly got milk (and a lot of it, too much even), my nipples were cracked, painful and my baby was still learning how to properly latch, so that was already extreme. And eventually I got breasts inflammation, which means pain, high fever, shaking, pain, exhaustion, pain… all of those things happened in the first two weeks, when I had very little sleep, my hormones wanted to destroy me emotionally, and I was just so, so tired.
But all those sacrifices, pain, and hard beginnings are so worth it. Breast milk is the best for babies and breastfeeding has so many advantages! Let me mention a handful of them that I surely noticed myself.
There is definitely huge amount of antibodies in breast milk, that protect my baby from getting sick. And it really works wonders, because my baby is six months old, survived late autumn and whole winter with no sickness! He is very healthy and very strong, thanks to breastfeeding, I believe. Breast milk has also a lot of other medical advantages for a baby, like lower chance of eczema and allergies, reducing risk of viruses and inflammations, causing less belly problems, than formula milk, etc. There’s lots of research on this topic.
Another advantage of beast milk is that it’s ready at all times, so I don’t worry about sterilizing bottles, preparing formula in the middle of the night, or having extra luggage while travelling, only for bottles, formula, warm water etc. Plus it’s free! Buying formula can be expensive, plus all the bottles and other accessories, and even if breastfeeding mom buys electrical pomp and few nursing bras, it’s still incomparable cheaper. So, breastfeeding saves money!
Big plus for those calories, that I burn extra, just by producing milk in my breast! I lose weight faster after pregnancy and giving birth, thanks to breastfeeding. It’s somewhere between 300 and even 700 kcal that my body burns while producing milk for my baby (depending on how much baby drinks). How awesome is that?
Good news also for those women who don’t really enjoy their period 😉 It comes back significantly later after giving birth if you breastfeed, than if you don’t. For me it was 5 months, but for other it can go to even a year! That is a luxury, my friends!
And of course breastfeeding builds amazing bond between the mother and her child. The time spent with a baby during breastfeeding is precious. My boy looks straight into my eyes and I feel like we connect on another level. Of course formula feeding parents also connect with their kids, but breastfeeding is way more intimate. And there’s also the feeling of satisfaction that I am able to feed my baby with my milk so he grows big and strong. I love to breastfeed for those moments of silence, his half smiles, the way he hugs my body with his tiny arms. Even if.he hits me on agitated moments or tries to chew his milk after every sip he takes.
It’s been six months of exclusive breastfeeding. And I want to keep on breastfeeding even while giving my baby solid foods. I want to continue on at least until he’s one, but I wish for even longer.
Time will show.