by Dr. Tomeka Day
Have you thought about breastfeeding ? Have you read, or heard the pros or cons to breastfeeding. Make sure you don’t miss one of the most valuable opportunities in your life to give your beautiful baby the absolute best! Here are some of my top reasons why you should breastfeed your baby and some of the reasons why some women choose not to breastfeed.
The top reasons why you should breastfeed your newborn baby:
1. Your baby will be much healthier. Breastfeeding is one thing that you can do to support your baby’s health. You see, breast milk not only contains nutrients and proteins, but also antibodies. These antibodies help protect your baby from horrible bugs that can cause ear infections, pneumonia and diarrheal illnesses. This is one of the reasons that many women refer to their breast milk as liquid gold, because it is so very precious. So if you are a working mom, or a stay at home mom, you will certainly appreciate your baby having fewer illnesses during their first year of life.
2. Breast milk is very gentle. You and your baby will appreciate the ease in which breast milk will be digested. Because it is easily digested, your baby will have less gas, colic, constipation, and spitting up episodes. Breast milk also decreases the risk of asthma, food allergies, and eczema.
3. Breast milk will enhance your baby’s brain development. Breast milk is excellent for developing the nervous system. Because of the special nutrients that breast milk contains, it enhances the development of your baby’s brain, thereby, making your baby smarter.
4. Breastfeeding strengthens the bond between you and your baby. Your newborn will only be a baby once, and this is the perfect time to enjoy giving your baby the best nutrition possible. This precious time with your baby will allow him or her to spend time focusing on their beautiful mom and you on your precious baby.
5. Breastfeeding can be very convenient. You won’t have to worry about carrying around multiple bottles for feedings. Nighttime feedings can be actually quite simple once mastered. You won’t have to worry about spending extra time preparing a bottle, simply pick your baby up, and begin breastfeeding. Once your baby has finished breastfeeding, simply burp your baby, and place him or her back into their bed for rest. Now you can return to your bed for rest.
6. Breastfeeding can delay the return of your menstrual cycle. Most women will appreciate not having to deal with the “period”. This means one less thing to worry about during this time. And for a time in your life, you can enjoy this added benefit of breastfeeding.
7. Breastfeeding can help you lose weight. Not only does breastfeeding help your womb get back to its normal size quicker, but it can help you burn more than 300 calories daily, which will help you get back to your pre-pregnancy weight much faster. The amount of calories that you burn breastfeeding daily may be equivalent to an hour-workout.
8. Breastfeeding can save you money. Parents can easily spend $1,000 during the first year of life on infant formula alone. Because you are feeding your baby the absolute best, breast milk, you don’t have to purchase infant formula. So, you can put that money into your baby’s savings account for their college education.
Despite these wonderful benefits of breastfeeding, here re some barriers that may prevent a woman from breastfeeding.
1. Lack of support. Initially after birth, this can be a very emotional time for the mother. For the first time mother, it can be a stressful trying to get the baby to latch on, wondering if the baby is eating enough, or even experiencing some pain from incorrect breastfeeding. However, I want to encourage you, that you can be successful at breastfeeding and your baby will thank you for your endurance. Your milk may not letdown until 48 – 72 hours after birth, but during this time, your baby will still be getting nourishment, which is your colostrum. If you are experiencing some pain with breastfeeding, it may be because the baby isn’t latching on properly. If your baby is born in a hospital, most hospitals have very supportive nurses and even lactation specialists that can assist you and show you the proper way for your baby to latch on. Your doctor can also be very instrumental in this area. Furthermore, once you and your baby are discharged home, if you have any additional questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to call your doctor for advice. Some lactation specialists will make home visits once you leave the hospital; so make sure you check to see if that is a possibility.
2. Some medical conditions can prevent breastfeeding. There are certain illnesses that the mother may have which are not safe for breastfeeding. Some of these conditions are HIV, active tuberculosis, drug addiction, or medications that the mother is taking. If you have any concerns about this, ask your doctor if it is safe to breastfeed your baby. It is my hope that you will choose to breastfeed your precious baby. You have been blessed with your bundle of joy, and I hope you give your baby one of the best things that you have to offer, your breast milk. Some refer to breast milk as liquid gold, because it is such a precious substance. You will be helping your baby be the healthiest, smartest, and happiest baby possible by simply breastfeeding.
Dr. Tomeka G. Day, M.D. is a physician who practices pediatric medicine in NC & VA. She is committed to improving the health of children and young adults. http://www.facebook.com/tomeka.day.54