I have a friend that breast-fed the last five of her six children. When I asked her what the benefits of breast-feeding are she mentioned: no heating, cooling or sterilizing bottles; no bottles of sour milk forgotten in the diaper bag; no having to run home because you didn't bring enough bottles and she ended with the fact that the price is right.
I then asked another friend who is breast-feeding her baby wouldn't it be easier to bottle feed so if she was tired at two in the morning her husband could wake up and feed the baby. She said that she heard of men doing that, but she believes it's like the loch ness monster which is probably just a rumor because she knows of no one who has personally seen one. :o)
In his book EVERY WOMAN'S BOOK, Paavo Airola N.D., Ph.D. cites studies which state that breast-feeding helps prevent disease in children and this good health often follows them even when they become adults.
The Advantages of Breast Feeding
1. The vast majority of store-bought formulas are cow's milk based. There is a growing concern about what the effects are of using milk from cows that are injected with hormones and anti-biotics. These chemicals are found in the cow's milk.
2. Cows' milk has over 3 times the protein and fat content as mother's milk. Studies show this is a strong contributor to obesity.
3. Breast fed babies have less digestive and intestinal disorders. A baby is born without certain friendly flora needed for digestion and the digestive system's health, this is naturally found in mother's milk.
4. Cow's milk can cause anemia while breast milk is high in iron.
5. The Mother's antibodies are passed to the child by her milk. These antibodies strengthen and help develop the baby's immune system.
6. According to the World Health Organization the percentages for SIDS (sudden infant death) is less for those babies who are breast-fed.
7. Feeding from the mother's breast also encourages better facial and dental development.
8. Breast-fed babies also have a lesser chance of developing eczema, psoriasis, colic, respiratory problems and allergies.
Mothers Benefit Also
1. Statistically the woman who DOES NOT breast feed her baby has a far greater chance of developing breast cancer.
2. Women who bottle feed their babies are much more likely to get pregnant again sooner (before 9 months).
3. Nursing causes sensory impulses to stimulate the pituitary to release a hormone which helps the uterus contract and return to normal. It may also help the mother's hormones to stabilize.
A Little Better Than None
Many women have to go out to work when their babies are quite young. The first five days after birth breast milk consists mostly of colostrum which is high in IgA antibodies.
Although most books encourage a woman to breast feed for eighteen months, one week is better than none and one month is better than one week. The longer you breast feed the better it will be for your baby up to one year.
If you have to work outside the home, you can always pump your breast and put it into bottles.
Increasing and Enriching Breast Milk
All women's milk is not plentiful. Historically, alfalfa sprouts, good nutrition and blessed thistle have been used to increase milk. Drinking plenty of liquids is also important.
A well respected older doctor once told me that a baby should not eat any solids until at least 6 months old (baby's digestive system is finishing its development, also their salivary glands do not secrete enough enzyme to fully digest anything but mother's milk). If a baby seems unsatisfied the herb Marshmallow enriches the milk. Almonds and dark leafy vegetables are needed to provide adequate calcium.
I was only able to breast feed my children for a few weeks because I was uninformed and didn't know to start out slowly and to alternate breasts, this caused me to develop an infection.
For any woman who is considering nursing her baby, I strongly suggest that you write or call:
La Leche League International
1400 N. Meacham Rd.
Schaumburg, IL 60173-4808
1-800-LALECHE (US) or (847) 519-7730 or TTY: 847-592-7570
The arguments for breast feeding your baby are overwhelming. Besides the above mentioned there is the emotional bond that seems to develop between mother and child. Those who I ask all very highly recommend breast feeding.
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