Breastfeeding: The Wonder Milk

All around the BYU-Idaho campus you will find mother’s rooms attached to the women’s restrooms.  There are small stalls with just one plush chair and other larger areas with three or four…sometimes a whole couch!  The mothers of BYU-Idaho are aware of the great benefits breastfeeding can bring to their babies as well as their own health.  Besides being obviously cheaper than buying cases of formula ($1200- $1500 cheaper per year!), breastfeeding has some bonus effects.

·    Breastfed babies typically get sick less. Breastfeeding reduces the risk of ear infections, diarrhea, and stomach problems.
·    Your baby can see you up close and personal. Babies are born extremely nearsighted, which means they can only see things about 8 to 15 inches away. That also happens to be the distance between your face and your baby’s face when breastfeeding. So when your baby locks eyes with you, it’s a true bonding moment.
·    Breastfeeding allows your body to recover from pregnancy and childbirth more quickly. The hormones released when you breastfeed make your uterus contract back to its pre-pregnancy size.
·    Breastfeeding exposes your baby to many different tastes. Formula has one taste. But through your breast milk, your baby eventually gets a slight taste of whatever you eat, although not directly. This will later make introducing solid foods easier.
·    Breastfeeding may help you to lose weight. Mothers who exclusively breastfeed can burn as many as 600 calories a day, which may help you get back to your pre-pregnancy weight.
·    Breastfeeding reduces the risk of breast cancer and ovarian cancer in moms.
·    Your breast milk changes during a feeding session. When your baby first starts to nurse, your milk is a watery bluish color. Toward the end of the feeding session, your baby gets to thicker, fattier milk, which gives your baby the calories needed to grow healthy and strong.
·    Breast milk heals. Breast milk is filled with special components that are designed to help fight infection and cut down on swelling in the breast. So, if your breasts are sore those first few days, gently massaging some of your milk into your nipples and breasts can soothe the soreness and speed up recovery.

Even with all of these great effects, some women struggle to breastfeed their baby.  Whether it’s because they can’t produce enough milk, the baby won’t latch, or it’s painful for the mother, there are solutions!  The following are great websites with information on how to overcome breastfeeding challenges as well as more information on how to breastfeed and it’s benefits:
-          It’s Only Natural:  http://www.womenshealth.gov/ItsOnlyNatural
-          Your Guide to Breastfeeding: http://www.webmd.com/parenting/baby/breastfeeding-9/nursing-basics
-          La Leche League International: http://www.llli.org/

Sources:

http://www.womenshealth.gov/ItsOnlyNatural/