Why Should I Breastfeed? A Gift of Bonding and Lifelong Health.
Breastfeeding is, without a doubt, the best gift you can give your baby. Not only does it provide essential nourishment and protection, but it also creates a special bond between you and your little one. For some people the decision on how to feed your baby is an easy one, influenced by their environment, support, social media, advertising and often how they were fed as an infant themselves, for others the decision is a little harder to come to. Breastmilk is the best food a baby can get, it is also amazingly convenient, always ready, night feeding is made simpler and all you need is a nappy and baby to go anywhere. But there is a lot of information, myths and pressure around the decision to breastfeed, and can often be conflicting and misguiding. My first experience with breastfeeding wasn’t a smooth run. I know firsthand the difficulties faced when breastfeeding is challenging, the tiredness and uncertainty overwhelming, feeding is painful and support is lacking. However, I can honestly say a little knowledge is power. So why did I choose to breastfeed? Why is it so important? Let's dive deeper into the reasons why breastfeeding is so crucial.
Breastfeeding is a profoundly nurturing experience that forms an essential bond between a mother and her infant. It goes beyond simply providing nutrition. Breast milk is the complete package, supplying everything your baby needs for optimal brain development, immune protection, and growth. It not only satisfies their physical need for nourishment but also strengthens the emotional bond between you and your baby. When you hold your little one close, skin-to-skin, a deep connection is formed. This time spent together is crucial for your new role as a mother and establishes a strong foundation for a secure attachment, positively influencing your baby's emotional and social development as they grow.
Breast milk is a remarkable food that cannot be replicated, years of research and all of the secrets of breastmilk composition are still not known. However, we do know an awful lot. We know that the nutrients that makeup breastmilk from day 1 are perfectly matched to your infant. The proteins, fats and carbohydrates, and all other nutrients are in exactly the right combination to pack into small volumes to be easily digested by their tiny guts and provide the energy they need to meet the demands of their new world. Your milk is uniquely tailored to meet your baby's individual needs and continues to change as your baby grows to meet their changing developmental and nutritional needs. From the very first drops of colostrum, your baby is protected and nourished. These tiny golden drops coat your baby's maturing gut, providing vital energy and shielding them as they adjust to life outside the womb. Breastfeeding your baby sets them up for a healthy start reducing their risk of being overweight and developing health conditions in later life.
The benefits of breastfeeding extend beyond your baby's health and well-being. As a mother, breastfeeding can aid in your postpartum recovery, has a vital role in your bonding relationship, and helps you return to your pre-pregnancy weight more effectively. It offers a range of health advantages, and the longer you breastfeed, the greater the protective effect.
Breastfeeding is a priceless gift that keeps on giving into their youth and adulthood, providing numerous benefits for both you and your baby. It cannot be underestimated when considered as nature's perfect match for your little bundle. It not only nourishes your baby but also forms a deep emotional bond between you. The physical closeness and skin-to-skin contact during breastfeeding create a sense of security and trust, influencing your baby's emotional and social well-being in the long term.
Considering these profound benefits, breastfeeding is an investment in the health and well-being of both you and your baby. It sets the stage for a bright and healthy future. Just some of the “Why” you should consider embracing the power of breastfeeding and enjoy this beautiful journey with your little one.
Pitman, T. and Newman, J. (2014) Dr. Jack Newman’s Guide to Breastfeeding. 3rd edn. London: Pinter & Martin.