Friday, November 19, 2010

Breastfeeding is Bestfeeding

In 100o words or less... talk about breastfeeding. Go.

This blog isn't particularly amusing or out of the ordinary. It's just something I wrote as part of my quest to not return to work (cause I really really reeeeeaaallllly don't want to). Also I should credit my Hubs who acted as Editor in Chief of this post (a new designation for him, in addition to his usual duties of being awesome).

Here goes:

As a new or expectant mother, you are filled with the best of intentions for your child. Your head is swimming with the possibilities this new life holds. And you are no doubt being bombarded with advice from friends, family and literature on how to provide your child with the best foundation for success.

What if I, a mother of four as well as a Registered Nurse specializing in maternal-child health, knew a secret that could assure you a closer, more intimate bond with your little one? What if that same secret would assure your infant an IQ of 5 or more points above average? What if the secret held myriad health benefits for both you and your child? If you are an open-minded mother in search of the best for your child, I will assume I have your attention.

The secret will save you money and keep your child from visiting the doctors office so frequently, as children often do. It will prevent a host of chronic illnesses and diseases including diabetes, leukemia, intestinal disorders, juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, many childhood cancers, meningitis, pneumonia, urinary tract infections, salmonella, diarrhea and even more. It could significantly reduce your infant’s risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)?

The secret will help you lose weight and tone your uterus after childbirth, and significantly reduce your risk of cancers of the breast and reproductive organs. It requires no special equipment or products, and doesn’t require you to go anywhere or do anything special or out of the ordinary. And as the icing on the cake of benefits, the secret is ecologically aware and environmentally sound, reducing your carbon footprint and leaving the world a little cleaner than you found it. Did I happen to mention it’s also free?

Perhaps I should have said secrete instead of secret, because this simple thing you can do as a mother, that will achieve all the aforementioned benefits, is to feed your baby the milk that you yourself produce.

There is enough evidence to support that breastfeeding is, by leaps and bounds, the best way to feed your baby. In fact, breastfeeding might be more aptly named bestfeeding. And these things I mention are only the tip of the breastfeeding benefit iceberg. There are so many astounding benefits to feeding your baby in this way and not surprisingly, more are being discovered every day. This is, in part anyway, why I chose to exclusively breastfeed all four of my children from the moment of their birth until they self-weaned somewhere between 14 and 18 months.

When pregnant with my first child I made the commitment to breastfeed. I had no support from family, no friends who had breastfeeding experience that could be shared, no words of wisdom, no advice to be offered, no where to turn for help. I myself wasn’t even breastfed, nor did I know anyone who was. Bottle feeding had become the normal and accepted way to feed a baby. I questioned the notion of portion control and a one-size-fits-all scientific “formula” (pun intended) for what babies should eat. My intuition told me breastfeeding was better. I set out with my conviction, my desire to be successful, a newborn baby and two functioning breasts.

It seemed with everything in place anatomically - a healthy milk supply and a baby who needed to be fed - I’d undoubtedly be successful, presumably with little effort. I soon found this was not necessarily the case. I had a fussy newborn child with a latch issue, engorged breasts full of milk and an excruciating case of mastitis. As I quickly learned, even with all the necessary parts in place there is no guarantee breastfeeding will come easily. The natural thing doesn’t always come naturally. Like other skills in life, sometimes it must be learned. With a shelf of books, the phone number of a lactation consultant and determination for success I set about learning it. I became a sponge for knowledge and soon saw the fruits of my labor, my happy, healthy, thriving infant daughter. With relative speed breastfeeding became second nature. I found myself easily and comfortably nursing in the mall or grocery store. My determination to be successful and desire to give my child the best was indeed bearing fruit.

I subsequently took this passion and determination into my profession as a Registered Nurse caring for mothers and their newborn children and then to my community to spread the good news: It can be done! Not always effortlessly, and not without some support. But it can indeed be accomplished. And the extra effort pays off in all the ways mentioned above and more. As a community of parents we can support each other in this effort with encouragement and information, stories of successes and lessons from failures. We, as mothers, and as a culture, have the power and solemn responsibility to make choices that will positively effect the lives of our children and thus the future of our society. Feeding your baby in this natural way is the first simple step.


Elizabee said...

This is really good. If they don't like it-they be dumb!!! I did not lose any weight breastfeeding. But I am a freak of nature. I gained.

Joni said...

Well I didn't lose any either. But I'm not a freak of nature I just love Snickers bars.

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