woman is expecting a new baby to come into her life, she needs to
make some decisions, and one big decision is whether she should
breastfeed her little one or feed formula.
At one time a very short
time ago, the only decision to make was "Will I breastfeed, or will
I hire a 'Wet Nurse"? A wet nurse was a woman that was lactating,
and was hired to 'live-in' with the family and take care of the
infant, including breastfeeding it until the family was ready to
wean it to solid foods.
Wet Nurses are still
available,, although they may refer to themselves as 'Lactational
Nurses' or some other name. They maintain their milk production, and
when one child is ready to wean off the breast, she pumps her milk
to keep her production up while the baby shifts to solid foods. When
the infant is completely weaned, the nurse moves on to take care of
another infant. She can lactate for the bulk of her life, as long as
she does not cease to express her breasts. If she stops expressing,
her breasts will stop producing milk, but in most cases, with
effort, they can be induced to re-lactate.
Somewhere in the first part
of the twentieth century someone was able to come up with the
formula for a reasonable facsimile of mother's milk and someone
invented a bottle arrangement with which to feed the new formula. It
continues to get closer to the mother's milk it replaces, but still
falls short of the Real Thing.
When making a decision, just
remember that when women were 'invented', they were equipped with
two breasts that produce milk at the same time a new baby is born.
That should tell us something. We have been trying for may years to
improve on nature, but when it comes to breastfeeding, they have not
succeeded yet, and likely never will. There are a lot of reasons to consider breastfeeding
for your child:
provides protection against diseases and illness. For the
first few days Colostrum is provided, which is not milk, but
contains many anti-bodies that the mother has already developed
for fighting diseases and illnesses in her own body, so they
pass through her milk to the baby, who uses them to stay well,
more than formula-fed babies.
Breastmilk also provides at least six anti-ineffective agents
that fight the most common childhood diseases. The child is
only one-fourth as likely to contract pneumonia, only one-half as likely
to catch a cold, and formula-fed babies suffer 12 1/2 times more
diarrhea. Breastmilk usually shows up about the third day after
birth. Colostrum is enough to sustain the infant.
Breastmilk is always suited for the infant's needs,
changing when necessary. A premature baby has different needs
than a full-term baby, so the breast provides a different
composition of milk if the delivery was premature, changing with
time as the baby grows. The composition is different from the
start to finish of a single feeding, to meet the interests and
needs of the baby. Natural sweetness means less tooth decay
because sucrose is added to formula, and the baby absorbs fat
from breastmilk easier than from formula.
Breastfeeding is more convenient, and breastmilk is the
correct temperature, always sterile and sanitary, saves time,
saves energy (you don't need to even get out of bed to prepare
it, or wash and sterilize bottles), and it saves money (no
bottles or formula to buy).
Breastmilk supply increases as the baby grows and needs
more, and it is always available.
Breastfeeding allows the mother time to relax as she
feeds her little one.
Breastfeeding provides a mother-child bonding which is
very necessary (Google Harry Harlow's experiments), and is best when
there is direct skin-to-skin contact between baby and mother.
Breastfeeding longer than 16 months over her lifetime gives a
woman a lower risk of developing breast cancer.
Reasons that women consider
not breastfeeding include:
Modesty... but breastfeeding in public is NOT illegal in
any state of the Union, and open breastfeeding was done in the
US 100 years ago, and in many countries today it is still done
openly. It's a FASHION decision, not a MORAL decision. A greater
number of mothers are breastfeeding for longer times and more
openly than in the last fifty years.
Vanity... women fear losing the youthful appearance of
their breasts, but during the breastfeeding period, it is the pregnancy and several years of age
their breasts more than breastfeeding does.
Working outside the home can cause women to avoid
breastfeeding, but many companies are getting their acts
together and offering places for babies to be brought in for
breastfeeding, or time for mothers to use breast pumps and send
milk home with a helper.
Despair... but it helps to have a doctor that supports
breastfeeding, a hospital/nursing staff that supports it, and a
family that supports it. Lactation Consultants and Support
Groups are also available for help.
Video: How To Breastfeed -
Deep Latch Technique by Fit Pregnancy
One reason for not being
successful is not getting the baby to properly latch onto the
A major reason for
having sore nipples is also not getting a proper latch.
Take a look at this
A woman that breastfeeds
will produce on the average of 112 gallons of breastmilk in one
Breastmilk averages 20
calories per ounce.
A mother can produce
milk from the time her baby is born until she weans it from her
breast, no matter how long that may be. Some mothers breastfeed
well beyond the full year that most experts recommend. Many
recommend a full two years. The
average mother stops after six months... or less.
In most cases, if a
mother has trouble producing enough milk for her baby, it can be
due to her feeding the baby from a bottle to keep it from
"starving". Or giving it water from a bottle. No other fluids or
nutrients are needed by the baby... breastmilk provides it all.
Re-lactation is the
process of bringing breasts back to producing milk after they
have stopped breastfeeding. Or in some cases it can be a woman
inducing breasts to produce milk without the woman ever being
pregnant. That is done over a period of time ranging from weeks
to months. You can read about re-lactation on