A couple of weeks ago my sister-in-law Dani Bree came into town. While she was here we had a brief conversation about breastfeeding and she asked me what my feelings were about it. Before she posed that question to me, I never really had thought about what my feelings were about breastfeeding. Since then, I've thought a lot about that subject. And rightly so. I spend a couple hours every single day doing it. It seemed funny that I hadn't thought about it before.
(This is me nursing Ellie for the very first time- about 30 minutes after she was born.)
I love to nurse my baby and this is why.
A- Breast milk is incredible. Did you know that breast milk contains over 100 ingredients that cannot be recreated synthetically? Also- "breast milk changes constantly to meet a baby's ever-changing needs: It's different in the morning than it is in the late afternoon; different at the beginning of a feeding than at the end; different for a premature baby than for a term baby. The nutrients in breast milk are matched to an infant's needs and his or her ability to handle them."(Quote from What to Expect: The First Year) Heavenly Father made this to be liquid gold. Did you know that even women in third world countries who are not getting adequate nutrients themselves still produce breast milk that will enable their baby to thrive. That's incredible! No wonder there are companies around the globe that will pay you for breast milk donations. There's nothing else like it!
B- I love the physical contact of breastfeeding. I love having Ellie right against my skin. My lactation specialist told me it was important to have skin-to-skin contact with Ellie as much as possible- especially in the first few weeks. She told me it would promote a steady milk supply for me, and that it would improve Ellie's ability to nurse. She taught me something amazing... did you know that a mother's body temperature adjusts to whatever the baby needs. If the baby is cold it's mother's temperature will rise, and if the baby is hot the mother's temperature will lower? This became a major source of bonding for Ellie and me. Breastfeeding for me is a means to continue this. "It’s easy to see how skin-to-skin contact can aid the development of breastfeeding skills and why all mothers should be encouraged to hold their baby skin-to-skin as much as possible each day. This is especially true during the early weeks when moms and babies are learning to breastfeed. But don’t forget that babies of all ages benefit from the closeness that skin-to-skin contact provides." (Quote from babygooroo.com)
(Ellie came right onto my skin the second she was born- umbilical cord and all. I will never forget that.)
C- It's easy. I love breastfeeding because it's always ready to go. I love breast milk because since I pump, I feel like I can have the best of both worlds. Ellie can take a bottle of breast milk if I'm away from her, or she can nurse whenever I'm around. I have nursed in bathroom stalls, on hospital beds, on park benches, in movies, on airplanes, in the car, at soccer, on the beach, and everywhere in between. With breastfeeding you don't have to worry about proper temperatures or bringing food with you wherever you go. Breast milk is always ready and accessible.
D- My very favorite thing about breastfeeding, and the thing I think makes it the very best option is the time it gives me one-on-one with my baby every single day. I love that every three hours, no matter what I'm doing, there will be time where I get to do nothing but hold my baby and feed her. Some people feel like this is limiting, and for people that have a go-go-go mentality this can be a drawback. But I love the chance I have at least 7 times a day to sit or lie down with my baby girl and listen to her sigh and drink. I feel like this has given me insight into Ellie's personality that would have been hard to gain another way. I know you can cuddle your baby when you feed them a bottle, but for me, whenever I feed Ellie a bottle of breastmilk I'm always focusing more on something else. I love to breastfeed because I love that individualized time for just me and my baby girl.