I am a strong believer and supporter of breastfeeding. Thank God, I managed to fully breastfeed my first son, Alexander, for 9 months, even though I was then forced to stop by the doctor because of mastitis. Currently I am still breastfeeding my second daughter who is now 4 months old. I plan to breastfeed her for at least one year, if everything goes well.
Before I share with you the struggles I have in breastfeeding, which I plan to write in the near future, let me first quickly list down the benefits of breastfeeding for babies and mothers that eventually motivate me to breastfeed my children.
Benefits for babies
- Provides antibodies which protect against infection -including gastroenteritis, respiratory illness, urinary infections, and ear infection. Breastfeeding mothers make specific antibodies as soon as she comes into contact with an infection. These antibodies transfer to her milk, ready for the baby to receive as soon as he next comes to the breast.
- Reduces the risk of of allergic conditions, such as asthma and eczema.
- Babies who are breast-fed have fewer dental cavities throughout their lives.
- Several recent studies have shown that children who were breast-fed are significantly less likely to become obese later in childhood.
- Babies exclusively breastfed have less chance of developing diabetes.
Benefits for mothers
- Assists the uterus in returning to its pre-pregnancy size and reduces post-partum bleeding.
- Helps mothers to lose weight after birth. Mothers burn many calories during lactation as their bodies produce milk.
- Reduces the risk of breast cancer later in life.
- Convenient. There is no milk bottle, milk container, and warm water to bring along when we travel. We just need a breastfeeding cover.
- Encourage a stronger sense of connection and bonding between mother and baby.
And if you ask me which of those are my strongest reasons, I would say the antibodies, bonding with my children, and it is free of charge =)
But having said that, I personally understand and respect mothers who choose to give formula milk to their children. I truly believe that they love their children and want to provide the best for them.
I know few mothers who wish they can breastfeed but unfortunately they can’t because of many reasons. And if you are one of them, please do not blame yourself and let it make you down. I, myself, grew up drinking formula milk and I am happy =)
Motherhood is much more than just about breastfeeding. And our children definitely need a happy mother more than healthy breast milk.