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How you will feed your baby is one of the first, most important decisions you will make for him or her. This makes it essential for you to research both breastfeeding and formula feeding to determine which is the best fit for you and baby. Being a breastfeeding mother myself I see so many benefits in my choice. Breast milk is the most natural and easily digestible food for your baby with the perfect amount of fat, sugar, water, and protein needed for your baby’s proper development and growth. Here is a list of some of the benefits of breastfeeding:
Breastfeeding is FREE and always readily available while formula feeding costs an average of $1500-$3000 for the first year of life.
Breastfeeding is so convenient, especially when you are waking up numerous times in the night during the first few weeks of baby’s life. There is no measuring, mixing, or warming of milk needed. There is also no washing of bottles (unless you pump your milk for later use). You also can breastfeed anywhere with your baby. You do not have to worry about a place to prepare a bottle or packing supplies needed to do so. It is one less thing to think about when heading out with your little one.
Health Benefits for Baby:
There are numerous health benefits for breastfed babies, so I will just highlight some of the most important. Breastfed babies tend to have stronger immune systems as breast milk carries several positive antibodies that boost baby’s immune system and ward off viruses/bacteria. Breastfed babies are also at a decreased risk for certain respiratory illnesses, ear infections, and diarrhea. Additionally, breastfeeding decreases the risk of asthma or allergies in the future (decreased risk for diabetes, obesity, and certain cancers are also linked to breastfeeding but further research is needed to definitively prove).
Finally, the AAP says breastfeeding plays a role in the prevention of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). All of these benefits, result in few doctor visits and hospitalizations for baby.
Health Benefits for Mom:
Breastfeeding burns about 500 calories a day. With a well-balanced, healthy diet this can help you get back to pre-pregnancy weight at a faster rate. It also releases the hormone oxytocin, which helps your uterus return to its pre-pregnancy size and decrease postpartum bleeding. When you choose to breastfeed you are also lowering your risk of breast, cervical, uterine, and ovarian cancers. Recent studies have also shown that breastfeeding helps reduce the the risk of developing postpartum depression or anxiety.
When you breastfeed your baby you are providing warmth, security, and closeness all of which fosters your relationship with your baby. It is a special time for just you and baby to share as you provide your baby with complete nutrition.
Because breastfeeding doesn’t require any materials it does not have an environmental impact. Global pollution is decreased in comparison to formula’s use of resources and energy required to produce, process, package, distribute, promote and dispose of materials.
The following websites are excellent resource for additional benefits of breastfeeding and education:
http://www.llli.org/webus.html (La Leche League)
http://www.askdrsears.com/?q=topics/breastfeeding/why-breast-best (Dr. Sears)
Supplies Needed for Breastfeeding
A comfortable, well fitting nursing bra is a very important when breastfeeding. Underwire is not recommended as it can cause clogged milk ducts. Also it is necessary to have easy snap down clips to easily release when breastfeeding baby. I like the Majamas Organic Easy Bra. This super comfortable, supportive, and lightweight bra is made of 91% organic cotton and has easy pull aside nursing access.
This is a necessity during the first months for dry, cracked, or sore nipples.
Mambino Organics Candula Nursing Balm is USDA organic and doesn’t have to be washed off before putting your baby at the breast. This balm offers triple protection as it comforts and soothes painful irritations and helps heal chapped nipples, by making them more supple and resilient. It is fragrance free and hypoallergenic; lanolin-free and 100% natural.