Thursday, August 18, 2011

Last Breastfeeding Month Post: Tell Me Why

Every once and a while, I have a prospective mom tell me that she just never had the urge to breastfeed her infant. And that she isn't going to prepare for it. She just doesn't want to do it. Neither did her mother and her mom says it ruins your breasts. Or her mother breastfed her and she doesn't want to be like her mom. Or her friends say it hurts. I say okay, and then ask her if she knows why she should consider it before she decides for sure.

Yup, we already know that breast milk is made for human babies and that cow's milk and soy milk aren't. Doesn't have additives, more easily digested ( less colic? ). It's exactly the right temperature, You don't have to get up to prepare it. And you shouldn't ever run out: the baby decides how much you make by how much he eats.

And all those studies. SIDS, Diabetes, Respiratory tract infections, Asthma, Ear infections. Allergies. Obesity and all the myriad complications thereof. And the list goes on. Who knows what we will find?

Thw hormonal and physical benefits to the woman are not to be discounted. Postpartum weight loss, uterine recovery, and the decreased risk of osteoporosis, breast and ovarian cancers.

There are financial benefits for the family. Breast milk doesn't cost a lot of money, like formula does. The added medical bills associated with childhood ailments that could be avoided. Less absenteeism in the workplace, since kids aren't sick as much and for the same reason, lower health insurance premiums.

It's GREEN!! No packaging, no fuel consumption for transporting; reduction in carbon footprint means a cleaner and safer world for these babies.

Community involvement with nursing mothers groups provides support for new moms and new families and that reduces the isolation and insecurities felt by families that may be at risk for post partum issues, like depression.

As we finish up this celebratory Month for Breastfeeding, it is important to understand the whats and hows and to be proactive about passing them on. That said, know your options, keep an open mind and if and when you decide against breastfeeding, please let the guilt go and feed your baby.