I breastfed for ten months. My son, who received formula during the day while I was at work, gave up on me when my milk supply no longer matched his hunger.
I had some trouble starting, and my breasts were really sore at first, but after the first week or so, we were fine. It was convenient, cozy, and I loved it.
Turns out, it is a lot more than that. Breastfeeding is the best food money can’t buy. It reduces infant deaths from any cause (except genetic anomalies). It has been associated with a reduced risk of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome), asthma, and eczema. Some studies have even found a boost in cognitive abilities and a reduced chance of obesity and diabetes.
And that’s just what it does for babies. It reduces mothers’ risk for ovarian and breast cancer, postpartum depression, and type two diabetes.
The Surgeon General has just issued a Call to Action on breastfeeding. She wants to make it easier for moms to choose breastfeeding, because it is so important for infant health.
You do need to supplement vitamin D when you breastfeed—flouride too too.
Some women can’t breastfeed. They may have illnesses or other conditions that make it a bad idea. They should not feel that by doing right by their bodies they are doing any less right by their babies.
But to the rest of you I say, do it. Don’t ponder it. Do it. It may be a little hard at first, and will likely be painful. Your baby may not latch on well, your breasts may become too full and hard for your newborn to suck. Work through it. It all goes away over time. It gets better, and it gets easy. You will be glad, especially during those 2:00 a.m. feedings. Who wants to prepare formula when your eyes can’t focus?If you want to learn more on the research on breastfeeding, start here.