Thursday, August 6, 2009

National Breastfeeding Month
(a partial re-post from 2008)



Hey kids! I found another lovely picture from my babyhood this summer. Considering the content of this re-post, this photo seemed particularly appropriate. Isn't it lovely? Look at the way she looks at me, her very first baby. Look at the way I'm gazing up at her, nestled gently in her arms, and feasting happily. I was only a few days old, but the connection and trust is already there. Can you see it? I love the way my tiny fingers are caressing her. Raise your hand if your babies have done the same while feeding! There's only one more day of WBW to go, but don't forget this month is also NBM. YAY, 25 more days of admissible boob talk. :wink:

Here starts the re-post:

For those who weren't already aware: August is the official National Breastfeeding Month and this first week of August is World Breastfeeding Week. This is my [6th] August to be a breastfeeding mommy. It's been a wonderful ride. Wheeeeee!

In the early 70s, breastfeeding was touted as old-fashioned, unclassy and downright "icky." Doctors, at that time, felt that formula was surely best. But some moms knew, deep in their hearts, that nature knew best. It was an uphill battle for this growing group of moms, but it wasn't long before the scientific studies began pouring in proving, without a doubt, that exclusive breastfeeding was far superior to any man-made substance created for infants.

I am so happy that my mom had the strength and courage to fight for her right to breastfeed us when we were babies. When it was suggested that she go to the bathroom to nurse (during church, no less) she would agree only if all of the bottle fed babies were also required to be fed by moms sitting on the toilet. To hear this and other stories make my heart swell with pride and my eyes well up with tears. Why, you ask? Because her determination paved the way for my rather easy and fulfilling breastfeeding days. Even when I had my first baby and hospital staff surrounded me pushing and pulling on my breasts, moving my baby this way and that, and even threatening to start us on formula if my milk didn't let down immediately--it was my mom who had the patience, the confidence, and the wisdom to reassure me that all would be well just as soon as we were home. And...it was.

I've breastfed through engorgement as well as semi-dry periods (pregnancy). I've had newborn blisters, experienced the slightly uncomfortable teething days, pumped bottles full of milk for days I had to be away and tandem nursed two at once. I've co-slept to continue feeding through the nights and during the days I've enjoyed baby-wearing my children in slings--allowing me to nurse anywhere in public without batting an eye. I've discreetly breastfed at the library, the swimming pool, the grocery store, in an elementary classroom...anywhere that my baby is hungry, (s)he will be fed.

I am extremely grateful to my parents and husband for taking so many lovely, intimate photos of my babies snuggling peacefully at my breast. I cherish these days immensely. I can't, for the life of me, imagine ever nourishing my babies any other way.

Dangers of not Breastfeeding (quoted from womenshealth.gov)

1. Recent studies show that babies who are not exclusively breastfed for 6 months are more likely to develop a wide range of infectious diseases including ear infections, diarrhea, respiratory illnesses and have more hospitalizations. Also, infants who are not breastfed have a 21% higher postneonatal infant mortality rate in the U.S.
2. Some studies suggest that infants who are not breastfed have higher rates of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) in the first year of life, and higher rates of type 1 and type 2 diabetes, lymphoma, leukemia, Hodgkin's disease, overweight and obesity, high cholesterol and asthma. More research in these areas is needed (American Academy of Pediatrics, 2005).
3. Babies who are not breastfed are sick more often and have more doctor's visits.
4. Also, when you breastfeed, there are no bottles and nipples to sterilize. Unlike human milk straight from the breast, infant formula has a chance of being contaminated.

Benefits of Breastfeeding

1. Breast milk is the most complete form of nutrition for infants. A mother's milk has just the right amount of fat, sugar, water, and protein that is needed for a baby's growth and development. Most babies find it easier to digest breast milk than they do formula.
2. As a result, breastfed infants grow exactly the way they should. They tend to gain less unnecessary weight and to be leaner. This may result in being less overweight later in life.
3. Premature babies do better when breastfed compared to premature babies who are fed formula.
4. Breastfed babies score slightly higher on IQ tests, especially babies who were born pre-maturely.
5. Nursing uses up extra calories, making it easier to lose the pounds of pregnancy. It also helps the uterus to get back to its original size and lessens any bleeding a woman may have after giving birth.
6. Breastfeeding, especially exclusive breastfeeding (no supplementing with formula), delays the return of normal ovulation and menstrual cycles. (However, you should still talk with your doctor or nurse about birth control choices.)
7. Breastfeeding lowers the risk of breast and ovarian cancers, and possibly the risk of hip fractures and osteoporosis after menopause.
8. Breastfeeding makes your life easier. It saves time and money. You do not have to purchase, measure, and mix formula. There are no bottles to warm in the middle of the night!
9. A mother can give her baby immediate satisfaction by providing her breast milk when her baby is hungry.
10. Breastfeeding requires a mother to take some quiet relaxed time for herself and her baby.
11. Breastfeeding can help a mother to bond with her baby. Physical contact is important to newborns and can help them feel more secure, warm and comforted.
12. Breastfeeding mothers may have increased self-confidence and feelings of closeness and bonding with their infants.
13. Breastfeeding saves on health care costs. Total medical care costs for the nation are lower for fully breastfed infants than never-breastfed infants since breastfed infants typically need fewer sick care visits, prescriptions, and hospitalizations.
14. Breastfeeding contributes to a more productive workforce. Breastfeeding mothers miss less work, as their infants are sick less often. Employer medical costs also are lower and employee productivity is higher.
15. Breastfeeding is better for our environment because there is less trash and plastic waste compared to that produced by formula cans and bottle supplies.

Other sources and websites for further reading:
La Leche League: http://www.llli.org/nb.html
Kelly Mom Breastfeeding Site: http://www.kellymom.com/
US Dept of Heath and Human Services http://www.womenshealth.gov/Breastfeeding/Breastfeeding.pdf


Please click ♥ thoughtful comments ♥ (below) to let me know you stopped by. If you don't have a google or gmail account, just choose "Name/URL" or "anonymous" before submitting. THANK YOU!

17 ♥ thoughtful comments ♥:

Lori said...

Stopping by to say hello. I breastfed both my girls but have to say the 2nd time around I (we) were much better at it.

I'm not going to post any pictures of it but I was wayyyy toooooo huge the first pregnancy and everytime I went to feed my 1st born she would back away from me with fear in her eyes. I've always thought if she had been born a he, if the look would have been different?? More inviting maybe???

Hugs to you,

Lori

Dr. Wifey said...

thanks for sharing!

Michelle M. said...

Great post! I love breastfeeding and am a huge advocate for it. I can't wait to nurse my little guy who si due in less than a month.

Lenetta @ Nettacow said...

Awesome post, as always! You're making my milk hurt for having weaned my toddler last month, but I love you anyway! :>)

Amy @ Six Flower Mom said...

This too is beautiful --- I wish I had more pictures of my little nurslings!

septembermom said...

I remember when I was the first of my friends to breastfeed back in 1997. You should have seen all the side glances I would get from friends and family. Now 13 years later, most of my friends and several relatives have joined the breastfeeding bandwagon. Like you, I would nurse whenever and wherever my baby was hungry. I even nursed my youngest at her own christening in the church's "crying room". I knew that it was the only way to keep her settled during the baptism. I used to make my husband get off the highway in order to nurse one of the babies. I would drive him crazy. By the 4th baby, I would even find ways to do some little household chores while nursing: laundry folding, sandwich making, toddler refereeing, etc. Funny way I think about that kind of multitasking. Great post about a very important subject. I miss my breastfeeding days.

♥ Boomer ♥ said...

Sweet little memories. ♥

Gina said...

I once responded to a woman in the food court of the mall that I would go to the bathroom to nurse if she picked up her plate and followed me. I have been known to sit in the furniture displays at Costco to nurse, and have even been joined by another little luncher there once!

sujata said...

That was a nice and detailed information. I breastfed both my kids and am happy I did, It was so convenient and definitely much more bonding time and also I felt that it was a good break those few minutes that I sat and fed them, from my usual running around, so all in all it was great for me and the kids. The pictures are lovely. I think You look like your mom a lot.

love
sujata

southernrose said...

I wish I could have breast-fed my kids - I tried and tried and nada. I must have been lucky though; even with bottle-feedings, my kids (ages 17, 14, & 12) are the healthiest kids I know. Hardly ever been to the doctor, no broken bones, few to no cavities, and we're a very close family. I would definitely encourage mothers to breast-feed, but sometimes it just doesn't work.

Cate said...

Like you, I was breastfed in an age when it was "icky". (I was also homebirthed, and my older sisters remember it. When one of my younger sisters was homebirthed, I was jumping on the bed!) We're about the same age; both our moms must have been renegades! I haven't seen any awesome pictures like the ones you have, though!
I feel like I've been given a different legacy than many other people our age. For many, formula is an okay substitute. But it is simply not how nature intended. Sometimes I lean radical (and this, coming from a woman who supplemented with her older son but BF him until 10 months) and think that we should think of breastmilk like we do food and water: necessary. And formula like we do medicine: only necessary for medical conditions.
This is a great post Shaye! Excellent round-up of the facts!

Zie Zie said...
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Zie Zie said...
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Zie Zie said...

One of my favorite "Boob" stories was when my niece was born. My sister in law's milk hadn't came in and her mid-wife assured her that once things settled down and she was comfortable it would. Later that night, while she was sleeping it happened. She awoke to find that the "Boobie fairy" had came!! Not only is breast feeding the best for your children, it's also a good way to up your cup size :)

Breastfeeding tips said...

Breast Milk helps to boost a child’s overall growth raising immunity levels and bolstering IQ levels. Many women experience sore, cracked nipples, inflammation, tenderness. One can go for garlic, it accelerates the healing process by extracting puss and rooting out the germs, Elder, Chamomile and Poke roots help subside swelling and control inflammation, Milk cream accelerates the discharge of unhealthy puss formation.

Lynn said...

Shaye

What a precious legacy! It is so sweet that you have these pictures (both from your infancy and your children's). Won't it be great if one day there is a blog out there with memories from 3 generations, then 4, and more! Blessings to you dear friend!

Ktietje85 said...

Thanks for participating in the Breastfeeding Stories carnival! Come back next week for the "Kid-friendly Real Food" carnival!

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