Sunday, October 21, 2012

Breast is Best

I'm back! After getting engaged, I decided to take a break from blogging since I was busy wedding planning, moving, buying a house, and looking for a new job...phew! Now that we're settled in, I want to pick blogging back up!

In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, I thought it was appropriate to talk about breastfeeding. I've worked for the WIC program for over a year and talk about breastfeeding all day long. My job has sent me to more breastfeeding trainings than any other training because it's so important!

Here are SOME of the reasons breastfeeding is best:

For the mom:
- Reduces the risk of breast, uterine, and ovarian cancer.
- Improves bone thickness (less likely to have osteoporosis).
- Helps to lose pregnancy weight more easily.
- Uterus goes back to normal size faster.
- Creates a bonding experience between mom and baby. 

For the baby:
- Breast milk is constantly changing based on what your baby needs. Formula is always the same.
- Much easier to digest so reduces gas, colic, and spitting up (I rarely see infants who can't tolerate breast milk. The majority of the formula-fed babies I see have problems digesting formula.)
- Less likely to become obese.
- Lowers the risk of bowel diseases, respiratory and ear infections, diabetes, and some childhood cancers.
- Increases IQ.
- Reduces the risk of SIDS.
- Less sickness and hospital stays (breastfed babies cost on average $400 less in medical bills in the first year).
- Skin-to-skin contact reduces stress in babies.
-Natural! Ingredients in breast milk: breast milk. Ingredients in formula: too many to list so I included the picture below:

For the whole family:
- Cheaper! Formula can cost $1,000-4,000/year depending on what formula your baby is drinking!
- Portable - you don't have to worry about finding a safe source for water and carrying formula and bottles around when traveling.

 Many women say they can't breastfeed due to multiple reasons. If that's the case, then how did all the moms in the world feed their infants before formula was created? Granted, there are some contraindications to breastfeeding such as medications, infections, etc.

If you've fed your baby formula, or plan on feeding formula you are not a bad parent. Formula is the best alternative to breast milk and your child will still thrive and grow into a healthy adult. My mom breastfed and formula-fed me. I didn't write this to make you feel bad as a parent, I just wanted to point out that breastfeeding is the HEALTHIEST choice and I encourage all moms to at least try it! Many moms don't get a lot of information from their doctors and end up not trying breastfeeding because they didn't realize how much better it is. Knowledge is power.

It is possible to work full-time and breastfeed. Breast pumps are amazing and you can store breast milk in the refrigerator/freezer and your child care provider can feed it to your baby. There are laws that require your employer to provide a place for you to pump at work!

There are many, many more reasons why breastfeeding is awesome but I wanted to keep it short and sweet. If you have any questions or concerns about breastfeeding, I'd love to answer them for you!

I recommend speaking to a lactation specialist if you're pregnant and after you give birth. Breastfeeding can be difficult at first, but a lactation consultant (or WIC peer counselor) can help you find what works best for you and your baby. Here are a couple of good websites with more info:

Sources: Breastfeeding: A Parents Guide. Amy Spangler.

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