Not sure about breastfeeding your baby? Check out some good reasons to breastfeed your baby.
Whether or not to breastfeed your baby is a very personal choice. In most of the world, nursing a human baby is considered as natural as any other animal mother suckling her offspring, and there is nothing strange about the sight. In North America, however, the breasts are so highly fetishized as sexual objects that little girls pray they will develop them at the "right" time, and grow up feeling that "attracting boys" is the only reason their breasts exist. When the time comes to have a baby, many women find the idea of nursing a child odd, and even perhaps a little perverted, due to what they percieve as the breasts' purely sexual nature.
The truth is, breasts developed to nourish babies, and human milk is superior to formula. Babies can and do grow up healthy and strong on formula, but there are many advantages to breastfeeding babies that a woman should be aware of before deciding to go straight to baby formula.
Breast milk has everything your baby needs to grow and stay healthy. Formulas are either based on cow's milk or soy, and cow's milk contains nutrients in the right ratios for baby cows, not baby humans. Soy was never meant to be the sole food source for a growing human infant--and why would it be? Your body also naturally adjusts the water content of breast milk depending on the temperature, so there is no guessing about whether you should dilute the formula more or less as you try to figure out if a dry spell has your baby dehydrated.
When your baby is in the womb, you are her immune system. And her immune system won't take over until she is about 6 months of age. That, conveniently enough, is when teeth start to come in, as well. Almost like Nature is trying to tell us something... Breast milk contains antibodies your baby needs, and it works through a feedback system. Any viruses or bacteria your baby may pick up are communicated to you through your nipples as your baby nurses. Your mature immune system creates antibodies and puts them in your breast milk to give to your baby. This system allows you to protect your baby until her own immune system kicks in, which is around the same time she develops teeth and can move on to food that is a bit more solid, which allows you to reduce the amount of breast milk she gets. Convenient, isn't it?
Breast milk doesn't just keep your baby at a healthy weight (forumula fed babies are more likely to be overweight) but it helps you lose the baby weight, too! Breastfeeding can burn up to 500 calories a day! (The equivalent of 45-60 minutes of jogging a day.) Also, the hormones stimulated by a baby suckling causes your uterus to contract, which helps it shrink to its normal size faster, so you can get rid of that jiggly, post baby belly!
Looking ahead to playing rock paper scissors with your spouse to see who gets to deal with smelly diapers? Well, breast fed babies have softer stools that don't hurt to pass, and the odour is rarely more than slightly unpleasant. Diaper changing is a breeze when you breastfeed your baby.
If your baby drinks 32 oz of formula a day, you can be looking at $100 a month or more for baby formula. Isn't a leaky nipple now and then worth saving that much money? When you save $100 dollars a month, you can afford to spend $5 on liners for your bra!
Some women consider nursing a close and special bonding experience, while others may find it trying and a violation of their personal space. Neither view is "right." It may come more naturally or be more pleasant for some women than others, but breastfeeding is a great choice for your baby.
Another common baby dilemma, diaper rash, is addressed in this article that you might find helpful.