Thursday, November 1, 2007

Benefits of Breasfeeding

Just put it this way, a whole forest of trees won't make enough papers to contain all the benefits of breastfeeding. Here, I'm just trying to highlight some of the main benefits (more like those I experienced with Arthur) to give you an idea on where breastfeeding could bring you to... .

1. It's natural - what can be better? The bonding you have with your baby is priceless.. and, don't worry, breastfeeding will not make them clingy. When they come of age, like Arthur, they will only 'cling' to you when they need to be nursed. Otherwise, they are just more happy and contented. If you check on the labels on the milk powder container, you will see that there is a message in bold prints that breastmilk is the best for infants.

2. Fewer Allergies. Exclusively breastfed (meaning not even a drop of water in the first six months of life, as recommended by WHO) babies are less likely to have food related allergies and related problems such as diarrhea, vomiting, eczema, gastro infections... just to name a few... Arthur did have breasmilk jaundice, though.. but, it is nothing to worry about and it did not stop my determination to continue to breastfeed him.

3. Baby grow at just the right size. Unlike bottle-fed babies, breastfed babies are usually just the right size (meaning, they are not too fat and not too thin). As such, you will not need to worry about childhood obesity etc.

4. Higher IQ. I read somewhere (couldn''t think of the source) that breastmilk contains the natural DHA (what you see highlighted in milk powder containers claiming it helps brain development) that is lacking from cow's milk (that's why manufacturers need to add them on in the production). Simply put, cow's milk are meant for, well, calfs... and, cows does not need to be brainy... Really, it's starting to show in Arthur that he is progressing at a quicker pace than his peers.

5. Less problems with stool. Stools from breastfed babies are usually soft and just right. As breastmilk is 80% water (that's why you don't need to feed baby even a drop of water), your baby will rarely be dehydrated. While some breastfed babies might have 5-6 bowel movements in a day, passing watery stools, Arthur was different- got me worried for a while- he only passes motion once in every 4-5 days... so, if that happens to your breastfed baby, DO NOT WORRY. It's normal. As long as the stools are not hard and the baby is not crying while he does his business... DO NOT WORRY. This is important as some doctors- not expert in breastfeeding enough, at this stage, will ask you to give the baby water while some even gave medication to help 'loosen' the stools.

6. Saves money. Do the calculation... According to my sister who bottle fed her children, the average cost of a tin of milk powder is around RM55. It will last for about a week... that makes about RM220 a month that you are saving... breastfeed your baby until they are 2 (as recommended, you shall breastfeed your baby for as long as they want it- no kidding... I know someone who breastfed her baby til he was 4!)

7. Mom loses weight fast. This is the best for Moms who is worried about being able to get back to their pre-pregnancy weight. Those who know me well enough would agree that I did lose that weight, fast. Indeed, 2 months into Motherhood and I already have so many comments that I don't look like I jsut had a baby. Realistically, though, I went back to pre-pregnancy weight when Arthur was about 5 months old- saves all those money on diet programmes, if you are planning on them.

8. Less work. Really, think of all the work related to bottle feeding.. making the milk.. washing up... sterilising... etc. etc. I enjoy the freedom and extra time for not needing to do this... I did it for some time,though- Arthur had to be fed breastmilk from the bottle before I quit my job to take care of him full time- so, I had to express the milk... store it.. pass them to the nanny... not too bad when I focus on the benefits breastmilk can give my son.

9. You'll be more relaxed... You don't have to worry if baby doesn't finish the bottle... You don't have to worry about wasting the milk... you might worry if he's taking enough milk since you cannot see how much he's taking... believe me... the little one knows! And, NO, expressing it to check if you have enough milk doesn't work... the little one can suck much, much better than the pump. Some Mothers I know was misled by this and they gave up breastfeeding just because the expressed milk is so little - they think they do not have enough milk for their babies. WRONG! WRONG! WRONG! Sometimes, it could be due to the way you express or even the pump you use... the milk will not flow. If the baby is latching on correctly, the baby will get milk! If baby really does not get enough milk... during what is called the growth spurt.. he/she will keep sucking and sucking.. and your milk supply will increase... simply, THE MORE THE BABY SUCKS, THE MORE MILK MOTHER WILL PRODUCE.

10. Reduces the risk of breast cancer. Need I say more?

11. Natural contraception. Women who breasfeed exclusively will not resume their menses so soon. In fact, I only resumed my menses when Arthur is 16 months old. Again, save on the pads. It is also important as you'll not want a baby again so soon... I know people who got pregnant again when their newborn is only 5 months old!

Those are just some of the common ones that I experienced... there are so many more worth a mention. You'll see what I mean when you start searching through the sites I'd linked to.

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