Today is the first day of World Breastfeeding Week. I’m not a lactation consultant, nor am I a breastfeeding expert. BUT, I do have loads of experience in this department and some thoughts on the topic, having spent a good chunk of nearly eleven years with a baby attached.
You see, I am currently nursing my seventh baby. My twins were born 9 weeks early and, while we never perfected proper latch-on since they were so tiny, my body worked around the clock to make sure they had all the nutrients and benefits that only my milk could give them. So, even though they drank from a bottle I don’t beat myself up, because I know I did what could and I wouldn’t change any of it.
In honor of World Breastfeeding Week, may I share with you what breastfeeding seven kiddos has meant to me?
In addition to the convenience and money-saving perks (imagine the money I’ve saved by breastfeeding all seven of my babies!), not only have each of my babies’ immune systems benefitted, but I am also the more healthy because of it – Studies show that I have a lower risk of breast and ovarian cancer, simply due to the fact that I have already spent almost six years of my life with babies suckling at my breasts. Not to mention I always returned to my pre-pregnancy size just a few short months after delivering each of my babies – Another perk attributed to exclusively breast-feeding.
There are many women who also put a lot of stock in breastfeeding as a form of birth control natural spacing. With my first 6 kiddos, I did not begin ovulating until my breastfeeding baby was about 9 months old – Makes sense since that was about the time baby didn’t seem quite so interested in me. Not only was he was sleeping through the night, but this was about the time that each of my babies became more interested in eating table foods along with the rest of us. Sure, we had our first kiddos in six years, but they’re all evenly spaced, thanks (in part) to breastfeeding.
According to recent studies, breastfed babies whose mothers eat fruits and vegetables are more inclined to like those foods themselves. Now, that explains why my kids like broccoli! Really though, it makes sense, if you think about it… Food flavors transfer to baby through our milk, much the same way they travel through the amniotic fluid. I wonder if my kids love for chocolate was born the day they were conceived?
All of these benefits to breastfeeding pale in comparison, in my mind, to the bond that was formed with each of my babies while nursing. A plethora of memories were created during the quality time spent with each wee one, during each feeding. I will always fondly remember even those half-asleep-late-night-feedings. The knowledge that my body was working to provide nutrients and sustenance for my babies’ growing bodies is priceless.
So, my once perky breasts will shortly be on their way to my knees (again), but that’s okay. It’s okay because my kiddos will forever benefit in many ways, simply because of the fact that they drank their mama’s milk!
What does breastfeeding mean to you?