Benefits & Myths of Breastfeeding, What Every Sista Should Know

Black women’s health.com posted a very informative article about the benefits of breastfeeding. The post also addresses some of the myths about breastfeeding.  I found the article to be very informative and I wanted to share it with my readers. It’s completely ok if a woman decides not to breastfeed her baby but I believe that she should make an informed decision before deciding not to do so. In many cases, women don’t breastfeed because of lack of knowledge and support. Please read this post and know that breastfeeding is beautiful, natural and beneficial to mommy and baby. I posted the link below so that you can read the article in full and also review their website.

Breastfeeding Has Many Benefits

Says breastfeeding mother of three sons, Karen Harris, “my children are a lot healthier than their playmates and I know that’s because of the nursing.” Breastfed babies tend to have fewer cases of Chiron’s disease, ear infections, diarrhea, meningitis, tooth decay and childhood diabetes. Studies show that breast milk is important in developing the facial structure, oral make-up and brain growth of babies. Premature infants who are breastfed tend to have a higher IQ than premature babies who are fed infant formula. In addition to the nutritional benefits of breast milk, there is an added emotional benefit as well. Eye and skin contact maintained while nursing gives babies the same sense of security felt in the womb, creating a loving transition into their new world.

Breastfeeding has important societal benefits too. Namely, breast milk is very cost-effective. One of its biggest conveniences is that it is absolutely free. Study after study has shown that if more infants were breastfed, millions of government and HMO dollars would be saved each year. Formula fed infants average $200 more a year in medical expenses than breastfed infants. If an additional one million babies a year were fed breast milk instead of formula, the U.S. could save over a billion dollars in healthcare costs. Imagine the money saved by families whose children are breastfed. Parents spend hundreds of dollars a year buying formula, money that could be put into a college or trust fund. Breastfeeding mothers have fewer cases of being absent from work due to child related illness, which saves companies money in healthcare costs as well.

Dispelling The Myths About Breastfeeding

Myth 1: Breastfeeding is too painful:

While there may be some initial pain as mother and infant get used to the process of breastfeeding, after a week or two, if mother is nursing properly, there should be little if any pain resulting from breastfeeding. Often, women experience pain because the baby is not latched on properly.

Myth 2: Breastfeeding will make the baby too dependent on its mother:

Babies who breastfeed are no more dependant on their mothers than any other baby. They do, however, enjoy the added closeness and security felt only through breastfeeding. In fact, breastfed babies tend to be independent and social.

Myth 3: Breastfeeding is unclean:

Breast milk is very sanitary and is the most perfectly balanced form of nourishment for babies. Moreover, its composition changes with the nutritional needs of infants and toddlers, something that does not occur with formula. Many pediatricians agree that as long as a child is receiving calcium from some source, cow’s milk is not an absolute necessity.

Myth 4: Breastfeeding is not possible for a woman with small breasts:

The size of a woman’s breasts have nothing to do with her ability to produce milk. Breast milk is produced by stimulation of the nipples from infant suckling, regardless of breast size.

Myth 5: Breastfeeding is too time consuming:

Women who nurse agree that breastfeeding is much more timesaving than consuming. There are no formulas to mix, nor any bottles to sanitize, clean and heat. Breast milk is always ready, the right temperature and the perfect amount the baby needs at any given moment. Mothers don’t even have to leave the bed for those nighttime feedings.

Myth 6: Breastfeeding has to stop when a woman returns to work:

Many women enjoy the continued benefits of breastfeeding after they return to work. They can purchase or rent quality breast pumps to pump their milk during the workday. Expressed breast milk can be stored in a refrigerator or cooler (and for months in a freezer) for baby while mom is working. An added benefit of continued breastfeeding upon return to the workplace is that mother and baby have a special bonding time at the beginning and especially at the end of the day.

Kathi Barber, CLEC and Jenise Fonville-Noels, CLEC

 http://www.blackwomenshealth.com/2006/articles.php?id=1

Nursing, Burping and Pumping OH MY! Diary of a Breastfeeding Mommy

My daughter just turned 12 weeks and she and I are still learning and enjoying the breastfeeding process. I returned to work when she was 10 weeks old, therefore I’m pumping twice a day at work and she is being bottle fed during the day. When I get home around 4-5:30 pm she smiles and cooes and starts pulling on my shirt and it makes me feel so special. My baby girl wants something that only I can give her; nursing is our special bonding time and it’s good for both of us.

I know that breastfeeding isn’t for everyone but for m baby and I, it was the right decision. Some of the pros of breastfeeding: it’s good for the baby and helps to reduce a baby’s chances of developing diabetes, obesity, ear infections and respiratory illness and many other illness. Breastfeeding is free, it helps with the mother’s weight loss, it’s convenient (you don’t have to carry or prepare bottles) and it’s great for the mother child bond.

When Elyssa was born, I didn’t get her to successfully latch until several hours after her arrival. I was determined not to give up and I didn’t want to give her formula unless it was absolutely necessary. I had lots of support from my husband, mother and a nurse name Sharon that I will never forget. I will never forget the joy and relief Elyssa and I both felt the moment she latched and began to receive everything she needed from me. 

My husband and I took a breastfeeding class and therefore we were knowledgeable on the pros, cons, joys and challenges of breastfeeding. My mom breastfed and therefore I always wanted to too.  Lack of knowledge and support are many women’s main reasons for not breastfeeding. I have been extremely blessed throughout this process because I also have a network of new mothers who are breastfeeding. I talk, text or Facebook with them weekly; we share tips, encourage one another and provide each other with support. Every nursing mother needs to know that she has other nursing mothers in her corner for the days that she feels like giving up or feels like what she’s doing isn’t working.

For the last three weeks I’ve been pumping at work and it’s been going well. The work days are busy but I make time to pump twice, once in the AM and once in the PM. I’ve been blessed to have a large supply of milk and never have had to worry about not being able to produce. I don’t take this for granted at all. I thank God often for giving me all that I need to provide Elyssa with all that she needs.

Another interesting thing about breastfeeding is locating an appropriate place to do it while your out and about. It definitely requires some planning but it can be done! Many establishments don’t have clean safe places for nursing mothers to care for their babies so at first I was nursing in bathrooms or my car until my friends gave me some helpful advice. One friend told me to nurse in dressing rooms at stores like Target, Wal-Mart or at the mall. One friend highly recommended that I get a nursing cover so that I could nurse her wherever and still feel covered. I stopped taking her to bathrooms and learned to feel comfortable nursing her under my pretty lavender and white nursing cover if I didn’t have a bottle with me. I’ve only nursed in public a few times, surprisingly I felt comfortable and Elyssa did very well. She’s older now and getting her to latch is usually not a struggle.

God has blessed my body to be able to produce what my baby needs. I LOVE nursing Elyssa. I look forward to coming home from work, nursing her and holding her close. I enjoy looking into her eyes and seeing how happy she is to see me and get nourishment from me. For me, breastfeeding does not hurt. Usually if it hurts it’s because she isn’t latched on correctly. Sometimes she gets worked up if she doesn’t latch on as quickly as she wants but I remain calm and I help her get situated so that she can latch comfortably and correctly. With her taking bottles now, it does help me to have other’s be able to feed her if I need to go somewhere or take a nap. Pumping and nursing is the best of both worlds because either way, she’s still getting her mommy’s milk!

Questions: Did you or do you plan to breastfeed your babies? Why or Why not? What were some joys and challenges that you faced? Do you have any questions about breastfeeding? If so, feel free to post them below or email me at joanna.willis@hotmail.com