If you are fortunate enough to be able to breastfeed your baby, you will find that there’s probably nothing else that can compare to the bond and love that you share with your baby at this time. And of course, breastmilk is a complete food. It contains at least 400 nutrients, as well as hormones and disease-fighting compounds, that aren’t present in formula milk. Its nutritional makeup even adjusts to your baby’s needs as she grows.
Mothers are encouraged to try to breastfeed for at least six months. This is particularly good for your baby but also great for mom! Breastfeeding can help you lose that pregnancy weight quicker and is said to :
- Lower your risk of breast cancer
- Protect against ovarian cancer before menopause
- Reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes
Feeding baby breastmilk can improve baby’s cognitive development and could even make baby more intelligent. Babies who are exclusively breastfed from birth are much less likely to become ill in their first year of life because breastmilk fends off illnesses such as :
- Pneumonia and bronchiolitis
- Ear infections
Whilst there is no scientific proof, breastfed babies do tend to have lower rates of severe eczema than babies who were fed on formula and breastfeeding could delay the onset of eczema if baby has this tendency.
Studies have shown that adults who were breastfed as babies, when compared to those who were formula-fed :
- Had lower blood pressure
- Had lower cholesterol levels
- Were less likely to become obese
- Were less likely to develop type 2 diabetes
Whether or not you feel comfortable about breastfeeding in front of other people, you do have the right to breastfeed in public places. Whilst shirts that you have to unbutton and are fiddly to deal with, will make you feel exposed as you feed, stretchy tops that you can pull up work well with a Baby Wrap Carrier, you can easily pull your top up without being exposed in any way.
Drape a scarf, muslin or blanket over your shoulder and chest while you feed. This will give you and your baby privacy. Do make sure, however, that your baby can breathe easily!
Breastfeeding your baby when she’s hungry is your first priority, so try not to feel self-conscious about doing what’s best for her. If you feel unsure about any aspects of breastfeeding, don’t hesitate to consult your nearest clinic or healthcare practitioner – they are the experts and will always be able to steer you in the right direction.
Above all, enjoy the opportunity to breastfeed and treasure these special moments with your baby – it won’t last forever!