Saturday, August 8, 2009

Why Breastfeeding

One of the things that Sherri and I decided on early was that she would breastfeed. It just seems to make sense. Not only is it the perfect food for babies, breastfeeding has positives for moms as well. Breastfeeding gives time for mom and baby to bond. Breast milk is easier to digest than formula and has hormones, antioxidants, and antibodies that help babies grow and protect them from infections. Breastfed babies also have lower incidences of SIDS, asthma, obesity, and diabetes. Then add the benefits to mothers, breastfeeding helps get rid of pregnancy weight and studies show that breastfeeding helps reduce certain types of breast and ovarian cancers as well as diabetes.

So based upon this why doesn't every mother breastfeed? Seeing Sherri struggle getting Nate to breastfeed gives me one clear indication. Sometimes is just isn't easy. The formula makers have made it easy. With the bottle there is no latching issues, no bruising, cutting, or soreness of nipples from baby. Plus anyone can easily feed the baby, and there are no problems later with work interfering or breastfeeding in public. 2007 data from the CDC states that 73.8% of mothers in the US initially breastfed. That number dropped significantly by the time babies reached three months and was even lower at six months. UNICEF goes even farther with estimating that 1.5 million infant deaths could be prevented worldwide if every mother exclusively breastfed for six months.

I have gotten quite a bit of satisfaction being able to feed Nate with breastmilk that Sherri has pumped. Makes me feel closer and hopefully that is some good early bonding between dad and son. I'm hopeful between breastfeeding and pumping breastmilk we can keep Nate 100% mom fed for six months.

I will say that without the lactation consultants and Le Leche League meetings and resources Sherri would have had a much more difficult time breastfeeding. I can see why so many people give up. The first week or two was really rough and she'll probably have scars for a long time to come. I am VERY grateful to these resources and encourage all mothers to learn more through resources like these - you and your baby will benefit.

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