Happy Breastfeeding Awareness Week!
I know . . . it’s the END of Breastfeeding Awareness Week! But I haven’t gotten around to writing about it, so I thought I’d take this LAST opportunity to post something.
When you think Pro-Life is Pro-Love, you think about being against abortion, and talking about the rights of the unborn and how different practices affect the unborn (even before we know of their conception!). However, we have to extend that to the baby when it is born, too, right? The fact is, breast is best! Breastfeeding is the way that God wants us to feed our babies. How many animals in the wild have you ever seen mix up a bottle of formula? Yes, that is an exaggeration, but you get the point. God gave mothers the ability to produce milk to feed their babies, and He made that milk exactly what the baby needs. Studies show that breast milk changes as the baby grows. That’s because the baby’s needs change as the baby grows.
I have 2 children, and both of them were exclusively breastfed for the first six months of their life, as recommended by every medical organization. They were also continually breastfed for at least their first year, with the addition of other foods. Most health organizations recommend continued breastfeeding at least through the first year, and preferably through the second year, and as long as mutually desired. This time frame is widely variable for each mother-baby pair, even for the same mother, with different babies.
I am not saying it is easy, or that there is anything wrong if for whatever reason a mother cannot breastfeed. However, I do feel that a lot of times, when someone says they could not breastfeed, it could have worked if they had the proper education and support. It is definitely worth the effort, for both the mother’s health and the baby’s health, and the bonding between the mother and the baby. Breastfeeding burns a lot of calories, and also helps the uterus to shrink back to its pre-pregnancy shape and size, and therefore helps the mother to get back her pre-pregnancy shape and weight. Breast milk has antibodies from the mother, to give to the baby, to help the baby to develop immunities as it grows. As far as bonding, there is just something very special about knowing that your body is nourishing your baby, and that’s all your baby needs. It is very relaxing, for both mother and baby. Hormones are released that cause relaxation. For several months, a baby needs to nurse every couple to few hours, and this will mean a lot of nursing sessions, so I’d suggest making them as comfortable as possible, especially for those times in the middle of the night. I’d also suggest getting involved with a breastfeeding support group, such as La Leche League. The camaraderie of like-minded mothers will be an invaluable tool in the early months of your mothering days.
I have seen a lot of Breastfeeding Awareness information posted this week. Most of the information has been from the expected sources, such as baby and parenting websites, but one place that surprised me was a posting I saw from Upromise – they had a special on nursing apparel. I am thrilled to see so much, and I hope that it means that more people are becoming more aware, and will become more aware and breastfeed their babies to give them the best start at life. Enjoy your baby, and enjoy everything you can do for your baby. Love is the best gift you can give!