Let me share with you the importance of breastfeeding, the benefits of breastfeeding for mother and child and the risk of formula feeding.
I recommend that all women learn about breastfeeding during pregnancy and share the information they have gained with their husbands/partner and all family members who will most likely be in their space when baby arrives. Creating a supportive environment can offer breastfeeding women protection from influences that can threaten a healthy start to breastfeeding and can help expand a breastfeeding mother’s capabilities and self-confidence.
Some would say, why do I need to learn about breastfeeding before I have my baby, it should be fine, I’ll just pop my baby onto my breast and feed her… Do you know breastfeeding isn’t always as easy as we think or hope for it to be and without educating yourself about it, it is easy for you to give up due to not knowing what is normal and what is not, such as your baby wants to feed every 2-3 hours (normal) or why your nipples may become sore (not normal).
Why is breastfeeding important:
Breastfeeding is important because it saves lives, it is the most rewarding, natural nutritional start to you and your baby after birth, your body is ready to breastfeed your baby straight after birth and yes, you do have enough breast milk to feed your baby. Your breast milk is made perfectly for your preterm, term or overdue baby. You may not feel like the leaky boob mama in the first few days but do not make this deter you as your milk can take a few days to come in and this is completely normal, but you do have something very special to feed your baby with and it is called colostrum – it’s usually a thick golden yellow liquid (we call it liquid gold). Your body produces colostrum weeks/months before your baby’s expected due date. Colostrum contains many protective properties, including antibacterial and immune system-boosting substances that cannot be found in formula milk.
The healthy benefits of breastfeeding are well recognised and apply to both mother and child. Breast milk is uniquely suited for your baby’s nutritional needs and is a live substance with supreme immunological and anti-inflammatory properties that protect against many illnesses and diseases for both mother and child.
No formula milk out there can compete with breast milk.
Risk of formula feeding your baby:
- Contamination – With all manufactured products, mistakes are sometimes made in preparing or processing formula. Formula has been frequently recalled in because important ingredients were left out, labels were wrong, bacteria was found in the cans, high levels of vitamins, sometimes 4x the recommended amount for babies etc… problems like this has cause babies to fall ill and have even caused baby’s to die, learn more here: Thousands ill after banned chemical found in formula milk.
- Negative effect on intelligence and mental development – Breast milk is designed for babies, it contains all the nutrients your baby’s brain needs to reach its maximum potential.
- Uniformity of formula does not match babies needs – Your breast milk constantly changes for your baby, your milk in the morning is different from your milk in the evening, your milk changes daily as your baby changes. The milk you produced at birth, 2 weeks, 6 months or 1 year is not quite the same as well as the milk from the beginning of a feed to the end. This does not mean that your milk is not appropriate to store or donate to a baby of a different age as breast milk for a 1year old baby is still closer to breast milk of a 4 week old baby than formula.
- Higher risk of diabetes
- Increased risk of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) – Breastfeeding can reduce the risk of SIDS.
- Higher risk of obesity
- Increased respiratory illnesses
- Increased risk of meningitis
- Increased risk of ear infections
- Higher risk of childhood cancer
- Higher risk of gastrointestinal infections and diseases
Benefits of breastfeeding for baby:
Breastfeeding reduces your baby’s risk of infections, diarrhoea and vomiting with fewer visits to the hospital. Reduces the risk of SIDS, childhood cancer/leukaemia, type 2 diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease in adulthood, asthma and allergies. Breastfeeding can help reduce stress and discomfort to your baby.
Breastfeeding provides your baby with all the nutrition she needs to grow and is easily digested than formula. Breastfeeding has been linked to higher IQ scores in later childhood. The physical closeness, skin-skin and eye-contact helps your baby to bond more deeply with you and helps them to feel secure.
Benefits of breastfeeding for mother:
Breastfeeding releases the hormone oxytocin, which helps your uterus return to its pre-pregnancy size and can help reduce uterine bleeding after birth.
Breastfeeding lowers your risk of breast cancer, ovarian cancer, osteoporosis (weak bones), cardiovascular disease and obesity to name a few and you can save hundreds of pounds to keep in the bank for your baby’s future or to spend on a treat for you and you family.
If you are breastfeeding and find that you are coming up against any issues, be sure to find professional support to help you breastfed your baby successfully. You are no less of a mother if you ask for support, asking for support means you know what’s important to you and your baby, and you will do what you need to get it right.
Want to get breastfeeding off to the best start?…..this online breastfeeding course for parents may be just what you need. Breastfeeding E-learning Course for Parents.
Who am I?… My Name is Ruth Dennison from 1-2-1 Doula, I am a Doula who specialises in breastfeeding. I have been supporting women in breastfeeding from 2007, and today my passion within breastfeeding and supporting women and their families still grows. I know how hard breastfeeding can get for some mothers, how the breastfeeding rates can do with great improvement, especially in the black community, how much work we have to do to normalise breastfeeding and help women to feel/be confident to breastfeed, confident to ask for support when issues arise, confident to breastfeed in public and confident to know that you can do it.
I once heard a women say that she wants to breastfeed her baby but has brought bottles and formula milk, just in case breastfeeding doesn’t go well for her because she was told that some women can not breastfeed. Can you hear this, women are doubting themselves before their baby is born, do you know what impact this can have on the mother when/after she gives birth?
My reply to this is, the majority of women can breastfeed their babies successfully with the right support, reassurance and antenatal education, believe you can and you will.