In the early days of learning to breastfeed, there may be times when you feel like tossing in the nursing bra and reaching for a bottle. You may be tempted to believe those advisers who suggest that formula feeding is easier to just as good. Or you may worry that you’re “not the type of mother” who succeeds at breastfeeding. Yet when you consider how breastfeeding benefits your baby, your family, and yourself, you will find the determination you need to overcome any obstacles and master the womanly art of breastfeeding. What’s good for baby is also good for mother. When mothers follow nature’s lead and breastfeed their babies, their own bodies benefit–so do their budgets!
Becoming a mom comes with lot of responsibilities and worries about the duties that you will be able to fulfil or will not be able to fulfil ; and lots of doubts , challenges. Some of those may be :
Will I Make Enough Milk to Breastfeed?
The first few days after birth, your breasts make an ideal “first milk.” It’s called colostrum. Colostrum is thick, yellowish, and scant, but there’s plenty to meet your baby’s nutritional needs. Colostrum helps a newborn’s digestive tract develop and prepare itself to digest breast milk.
As your baby needs more milk and nurses more, your breasts respond by making more milk. Suckling action done during breastfeeding activates the milk ducts to produce more milk. As the baby spends more time breastfeeding, the milk ducts express( or draws/ lets down) more milk from the breast tissue. Experts recommend breastfeeding exclusively (no formula, juice, or water) for 6 months. If you supplement with formula, your breasts might make less milk.
Even if you breastfeed less than the recommended 6 months, it’s better to breastfeed for a short time than no time at all. You can add solid food at 6 months but also continue to breastfeed if you want to keep producing milk.
Why Do Some Women Choose Not to Breastfeed?
The reasons might be that:
: Some women don’t want to breastfeed in public.( it’s still a taboo).
: Some prefer the flexibility of knowing that a father or any caregiver can bottle-feed the baby any time ( like at odd hours of the night when you have just started your quick nap, or when you are out for some work).
: Babies tend to digest formula more slowly than breast milk, so bottle feedings may not be as frequent as breastfeeding sessions.
: The time commitment, and being “on-call” for feedings every few hours of a newborn’s life, isn’t feasible for every woman. ( some women want to join back work and have long hours at a strech of working).
: Some women fear that breastfeeding will ruin the appearance of their breasts. But most breast surgeons would argue that age, gravity, genetics, and lifestyle factors like smoking all change the shape of a woman’s breasts more than breastfeeding does.
Facts that suggests why breastfeeding is good for the baby:
: Study after study proves breastfed babies have less risk for childhood illnesses, including upper respiratory infections, ear infections, pneumonia ; gastrointestinal infections and illness, including diarrhea and constipation.
: New research on epigenetics suggests that breastfeeding may affect the expression of babies’ genes in ways that improve not only their health but those of future generations.
Often overlooked is the evidence showing that breastfeeding is good for mothers too:
: The calories used each day for milk production make losing weight easier.
: Mothers who breastfeed have more fat loss one month after birth compared to mothers who formula-feed, and tend to lose weight gained during pregnancy sooner.
: Mothers who breastfeed exclusively on demand (day and night) for the first six months are less likely to get pregnant, which makes child spacing easier.
: Breastfeeding conserves iron in mothers body. In breastfeeding mothers delay of period is quite common condition and they can stay in this amenorrhea condition for several monthes. This natural delay of periods provides them an important benefit of- conserving iron in their body.
: Mothers who breastfeed have lower risk for uterine, breast, and ovarian cancer. The longer you breastfeed, the more this risk declines.
: Breastfeeding reduces the risk for heart disease and other serious health conditions such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and stroke.
: Breastfeeding reduces risk of osteoporosis as compared to non- nursing women. There are studies which suggest once the mothers start weaning their children their bone density returns to Prepregnancy state or may have higher levels. Also women who don’t nurse their baby have high risk of hip fracture after manopause.
Above all breastfeeding promotes bonding between the mother and baby and satisfies babies emotional needs. This journey of making a new bond blossom between the mother and the baby , and the entire family is full of unconditional love , endless care, more support and a feeling of togetherness for each other during this phase of life.
Start this beautiful journey of being a mother with feeding your baby with healthy nutrients which will help them now and later in life also.
Written and compiled by Dr Divya Gaur