Making the decision to breastfeed is a very personal one and also one that's likely to draw strong opinions from friends and family! But at the end of the day, you and your baby are unique so gen up on the facts, then trust your instinct and do what is right for you both.
Mother Nature is very clever, providing you with an in-built supply of milk custom-made by you for your baby. And whilst your breasts are transparent so you can’t see the milk flow there’s great reasons to breastfeed that you might not know.
Breastfeeding For You
- It needn’t cost you a dime, as breast milk is free.
- You have a ready supply of food for your baby wherever you go, always at the right temperature.
- Unless you are expressing you have nothing to wash, sterilize or prepare…what’s not to love about that?
- It speeds up the return of your womb to its normal size. Who knew?
- It wonderfully uses up about 800 calories without breaking a sweat in the gym.
- It offers you some protection from certain conditions in later life, such as osteoporosis, ovarian and breast cancer.
- You’ll produce more oxytocin, the happy hormone, which in turn can make you and your baby feel more relaxed and content.
- Oh, and breast milk poop smells a lot sweeter too, which is good for everyone!
- It can take its toll on your nipples and if they crack it can feel quite painful (be prepared in advance and have cream available).
- Breastfed babies feed a lot! They tend to snack rather than have large feeds. It can sometimes feel as you have done nothing but nurse.
- Unless you are planning to express some milk so your partner can help with the feeding, then all of the responsibility will be yours (but then so will all those snuggles).
- Unlike bottle feeding you can’t see how much of your milk your baby has had and whilst this does make some mother’s anxious your baby will take what they need (and remember the human race survived before bottles!).
Breastfeeding For Your Baby
- Your breast milk is packed with antibodies to protect your little one against infection, as well as reduce the likelihood of them developing allergies such as asthma and eczema.
- Is your baby feeling hungry? A tasty, sterile meal served at the perfect temperature is always to hand.
- Your milk is extra easy for your baby to digest.
- We can’t promise a baby Einstein but studies have shown that breast milk can improve the brain development of young babies.
Whatever you choose, as with many parenting moments, things don’t always go to plan so be prepared to be flexible and do what’s right for you and your family.