Sunday, March 4, 2007

101 Reasons to Breastfeed

This is a fantastic article: 101 Reasons to Breastfeed

Each reason is either backed by common sense (e.g., breastfeeding saves you a ton of money) or scientific research, which is properly cited.

There's no question: breastfeeding is great for baby, mommy, daddy, the environment, and society as a whole. Also, it's what nature intended. (How people can think breastfeeding is "gross" or "obscene" is beyond me...but I think that's better addressed in a separate post.)

I realize, of course, that breastfeeding is not possible in all circumstances, and it's not always possible to continue after 3 or 6 months. And, especially in the beginning, it is not easy. Bean wanted to nurse constantly, and often it seemed that the breast was the only thing that would comfort her. For a new mother, this is quite intense, exhausting, and overwhelming. But it got better, and quickly. Those 40-minute nursing sessions every 2 hours eventually got shorter, and now the Bean has a quick 10 minute meal every 3 hours during the day and (cue the angels singing in the background) sleeps 11-12 hours at night.

I am grateful every day that I've been able to nurse the Bean thus far, and I hope I can continue until she's at least a year old. Sure, it's difficult to be away from her for any length of time, and pumping is a chore, and my freezer stock is dangerously low. But I know I'm giving her the best possible nourishment, and, beyond that, that when she is nursing, she is comforted, safe, and happy. The feeling of joy and contentment that I get when I look down at that little face, snuggled up and nursing drowsily before bed, is something I'd never experienced before motherhood.

Though it will represent a bit of freedom for me, I know I'll be sad when the Bean weans.

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