These 10 reasons to breastfeed are the main reasons why I work to overcome my feelings about breastfeeding and nurse my child anyway.
- I Hate Breastfeeding. It grosses me out. There, I said it.
- 10 Breastfeeding Benefits
- Breastmilk is made just for your baby and it’s different for each kid.
- Smart Babies
- You save money, but not time.
- Breastfed babies are less likely to be obese or have diabetes later in life.
- Breastfeeding is convenient.
- Breastfeeding is optimal for a healthy baby weight.
- Breastfeeding reduces the chance of asthma.
- Breastfeeding is easy for a baby’s stomach to digest.
- Fed is Best
I Hate Breastfeeding. It grosses me out. There, I said it.
It’s no secret how I feel about breastfeeding. I have cracked nipples. My baby never stops eating. Those late night feedings and all night feedings are something else.
I can’t sleep well on my stomach, can’t lose weight, and I can’t drink wine. I have to pump at work and I feel like a cow.
The list goes on and on. The one common theme for everything I listed is it all has to do with “I” and “Me”. I can feel whatever I want to about breastfeeding, but it isn’t about me.
Breastfeeding is about the little life that I chose to bring into this world and if I’m capable of breastfeeding that baby then I’m going to do it for their sake. I don’t promise, however, to not get grossed out along the way.
Does this make me a bad mom that I don’t enjoy breastfeeding? Hell to the no. In order to keep myself motivated, I have to focus on the benefits of breastfeeding.
10 Breastfeeding Benefits
I have to focus on these top reasons to breastfeed in order to keep myself motivated!
Breastmilk is made just for your baby and it’s different for each kid.
How freakin’ awesome is it that our body can make something that is specially designed just for our specific kiddo! Breastmilk also contains so many more things than a formula and it varies depending on what your baby needs!
Did you know that after 6hrs of exposure to sickness, your breastmilk will include antibodies for your baby?! This came in handy when the flu invaded our house. The only person who didn’t get sick was the 2-week old premature baby. It was a miracle!
A point of contention is whether exclusively breastfeeding leads to an increase in IQ. There was a study in Belarus that found that it did and one, more recently, in Ireland that found that the difference was not statistically significant according to the Los Angeles Times.
When it comes down to it, breastmilk has two key nutrients that have been shown to boost an infant’s brain, DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and ARA (arachidonic acid).
You save money, but not time.
Breastfeeding saves $2k-$4k a year when you are only factoring in the cost of formula. Yes, it is time-consuming so it’s almost a break even if you calculate the cost of the time you put into it.
However, money out of pocket is less. It’s like working a side hustle. It’s a boob hustle. Do the hustle.
You can also DIY a hands-free pumping bra to make it even easier to pump breastmilk for your babes.
Oxytocin gives you all the feels. It helps you bond with your baby, it relaxes you, and it even relaxes your little tyke. I don’t know about you, but I definitely need oxytocin when I’m at my wit’s end at 4 am and my bambino refuses to close his adorable eyes.
Breastfed babies are less likely to be obese or have diabetes later in life.
The correlation between breastfeeding and childhood diabetes has been well documented. The National Institute of Health supports the finding that breastfeeding lowers the risk of Childhood Type 1 Diabetes.
Likewise, the World Health Organization, as well as other institutions, support the theory that exclusively breastfed babies are less likely to become obese later in life.
Breastfeeding is convenient.
Seriously. I might really get grossed out by breastfeeding, but I hate formula too. It’s such a pain in the ass to make a bottle and heat it up especially when you’ve got a screaming baby in your face demanding it NOW!
Breastmilk is already at the perfect temp and ready to go. All you have to do is whip that bad boy out.
Breastfeeding is optimal for a healthy baby weight.
A baby’s stomach is about the size of a grape when they are born. The amount of colostrum you make is the perfect amount for the teeny tiny tummy.
Your body produces exactly what your baby needs and when he needs it. It totally takes out the guesswork and the concern about overfeeding a baby with formula.
Breastfeeding reduces the chance of asthma.
According to the European Lung Foundation and other sources, feeding a baby breastmilk for up to 6 months can reduce their risk of developing asthma-related symptoms in early childhood as well as later in life.
There are people who argue this, but I like to err on the side of caution. I’ll do anything I can to make sure my kids get the nutrients they need to reduce their risk of developing anything especially since breastmilk is the longest lasting solution for many things and has been around since, well, forever.
Breastfeeding is easy for a baby’s stomach to digest.
Digestive enzymes inside your breastmilk make breastmilk easier to digest, which means babies are less likely to have stomach issues. I say that and I do realize that I have a baby that spits up a lot currently.
We’ve tried formula to supplement and it’s 1000X worse on his poor little belly. He is just premature and can’t handle changes in my food too well. Nevertheless, he gets the breast. Lucky dude.
Fed is Best
I understand that many mothers can’t breastfeed and I support a women’s right to chose. This is why I chose to breastfeed despite how I feel about it.
I am choosing to give my kiddos the best chance, in my opinion, for their health and future. I’ve had a different breastfeeding experience with each kid and I breastfed for as long as I could until some extenuating circumstance (like the end of maternity leave or a corn syrup intolerance) got in the way or I had to force them to wean (yes, I’m talking about Charlotte, aka #TheBrain).
My breastfeeding experience
13 years old now. Born at 37 weeks, 6lbs 7oz.
I breastfed for 3 months, but I had to stop when we discovered a corn syrup intolerance that required a special, very expensive formula.
8 years old now. Born 4 weeks premature, 5lbs 3oz.
I breastfed for 23.5 months because this little kiddo refused a bottle and a pacifier and transitioned right to a regular cup.
5 years old now. Born at 39 weeks, 7lbs 6oz.
I breastfed for 5 months, but had to stop due to a work environment that wasn’t pumping friendly and impacted supply levels.
3 years old now. Born 6 weeks premature, 3lbs 15oz.
I breastfed for almost a year. We supplemented with formula starting at 5 months because of supply issues. He weaned himself.
Born at 39 weeks, 8lbs 4oz of chunky baby goodness! She’s still nursing at 18 months and refuses to give up!
There are times that I love breastfeeding my baby, but I’m still pretty grossed out by it. Regardless of experience, the best advice that I can give is to do what’s best for you and your baby.
Make informed decisions based on information that you receive from your doctor. Whether you breastfeed or formula feed, you are one heck of a mother! Don’t forget that!
This article was originally published at Our Family Code on March 26, 2018.