**PSA: This blog is in no way written to shame any mother who chose not to or was unable to breastfeed. We are a team and, as mothers, we will lift each other up and help each other along the way whether you choose to breastfeed or not.**
Every year, World Breastfeeding Week is celebrated from August 1st to August 7th. This is a joint campaign that was organized by the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action and has been celebrated since 1992.
When I had my son 7 years ago, I did not know much about breastfeeding. I knew that I wanted to nurse, and I said I wanted to do it for at least 6 months. When I gave birth, I thought nursing would come easily. There was a quick 15-minute visit from a lactation consultant and BOOM, I was expected to know what I was doing. I went home and a couple days later I was bleeding and in so much pain. My son was latching incorrectly, and I did not know how to fix it. As a new mom, this can feel extremely hard. How did I not know the correct way to feed my son? It is supposed to be “natural.” After many tears, Google searches, and another meeting with a lactation consultant, I finally got it. My son ended up nursing for 2 years.
When I had my daughter, I thought I was an expert. The lactation consultant came into the room, and I said “It is ok. I breastfed my son forever. I got this.” The problem was… I didn’t. I quickly realized that every baby is different. If you are in this boat fellow mama, I am here to tell you it is okay. It is okay to not know, and it is okay to try again. After more tears, I ended up nursing my daughter for 2 years as well.
Most people thought I was crazy. I was judged and constantly told, “He is too big.” “It is time to wean her.” ” What is the point?” I had no idea that the World Health Organization (WHO) recommended 2 years of breastfeeding for optimal health benefits. With more information and research, I was able to stand up for myself and the choices I had made for my children.
The Breastfeeding Benefits for Mom
- When a mother breastfeeds, she releases prolactin and oxytocin. These hormones can help you relax and can also create a strong sense of attachment between mother and child.
- Mothers who breastfeed recover quicker because the hormones released allow the uterus to return to its normal size quicker.
- Certain studies have shown that breastfeeding can reduce chances of cardiovascular disease and Type 2 diabetes in the mother.
- Saving money by not having to buy formula.
- There is no need to prepare bottles when you need to go out of the house with the baby.
The Benefits of Breastfeeding for Baby
- Breastmilk adapts to the baby and their needs. For example, your milk at night will be fattier and creamier than in the day to help fill up the baby for a better night’s sleep.
- Breastfed babies are more likely to be better eaters because they were exposed to different tastes depending on what the mother ate.
- Breastmilk contains antibodies. These antibodies help lower the baby’s risk of infection.
- The good fats in breastmilk help brain development.
- There is a lower risk of SIDS related to breastfed babies.
Celebrate and Share Your Stories
The purpose of celebrating World Breastfeeding Week is to educate people about the benefits of breastfeeding, to empower new mothers to make informed choices, and to remove the stigma associated with breastfeeding in public. Share your stories in the comments!