Sunday, March 20, 2011

The Gift of Breastfeeding

Breast is best. It's true and it is best for more than just sustenance. I knew that I wanted to exclusively breastfeed and breastfeed for as long as possible and I wanted to do it for the benefit of my baby. However, breastfeeding has been such a gift for myself as well. I find it soothing to watch my baby find so much comfort at the breast. I love the intimate connection I feel when I am feeding my child from my own body.
Breastfeeding came easy to us both. April never struggled with latching or getting enough and I have never had a problem with supply or blocked ducts. The only issue that came up was sore nipples in the very beginning but I just grit my teeth and got past it (and occasionally I'm painfully engorged but that is easily remedied by a hungry baby). Sometimes I wonder if breastfeeding had not been so simple for us if we would have the same loving interaction when it comes to nursing.
I strongly believe that everyone woman should breastfeed her baby and if she cannot, seek a source of human breast milk. April has benefited hugely already. She never lost weight (she lost 1/2 oz right after she was born but quickly gained it back) and has consistently put on at least 1 oz per day since her birth. She rarely spits up (which is more common with formula feed babies) and it very well hydrated without supplementing with water (I was formula fed and often needed to be supplemented with water in order to stay hydrated). I suffer hugely with allergies so by breastfeeding exclusively I hope to curb that problem for her. She also hasn't really had much in the way of any illnesses so far. She's had a stuffy nose but that's it. I kind of expected her to get something by now since we frequently ride the bus and spend time in public places with all those coughing and sniffling folk but I believe because she is breastfed she has been able to fend off anything that's come her way so far.
Aside for those health benefits, I think our bond is so much stronger because we nurse. Sometimes if she is upset she doesn't even need to really nurse, I can just put her skin to skin near the breast and she calms down. When she was first born, she nursed skin to skin everytime she needed to eat. I just so love the feeling, I can't put it into words but if you have ever nursed your child you know that feeling.
Cheers to the boob!
April nursing just 4 hours after she was born.

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