The Importance Of Breastfeeding.

The Importance Of Breastfeeding.

Breastfeeding simply is and always will be,  the best way to feed your baby.  Nothing will ever compare to it.

The benefits of breastfeeding for the child, the mother, the family, the health system and society are so many and well documented that there should be no doubt about the need to protect, promote and support it.

Unfortunately, there are numerous false breastfeeding myths around. How many times we hear from future mothers:

“I really hope to have milk” or “I’m afraid my milk will not be nutritious”.

These phrases are at the order of the day and show how great the lack of correct information on Breastfeeding really is, and how the right education on this vital topic, has somehow and unfortunately descended into oblivion with the advent of infant formula.

First, I want to say this, mostly to reassure those mothers who recognize themselves in those phrases just mentioned:

The possibility of Breastfeeding is not a prerogative of lucky mothers who for an unknown reason have succeeded in producing milk in abundance.

Lactation failure, that is the condition of total lack of milk, is a very rare event, which affects about 1 woman in a thousand. The breast has only one rule: the higher the demand for milk is (the more frequently the baby is attached at the breast) the more milk-producing glands will work well and produce sufficient milk for what the baby requires. Virtually the law of demand and supply.

” You do not breastfeed if you have milk, you have milk if you are breastfeeding”.

 

Forget feeding times, counting the minutes your baby is at the breast, double weighing, INSTEAD, enjoy the moment when the baby is connected to your source of nourishment and love. In addition to being of vital importance for its growth is an unforgettable moment of union, pampering, knowledge, life!

We are mammals, and this includes the fact that we can breastfeed regardless of everything. Our breasts are there for that function and at the right time whether they are big, small, soft, hard, with nipples protruding or re-entrant, they will work properly if properly stimulated. That said, why then, we often hear of mothers who have failed to breastfeed?

The fact that Breastfeeding is biologically possible for all women does not mean however, that every woman will succeed. And this brings us right back to the beginning:
we have been carrying with us, false and misleading information about breastfeeding for decades.

After the birth of formula, its rules were erroneously applied to breastfeeding also. This was the biggest mistake.

Timetables, schedules, quantities, but the thing is, Breastfeeding can hardly be subjected to any general rule. Breast milk changes its composition continuously, in some moments it is very watery to hydrate the baby, in others it is rich in nutrients and loaded with calories to make it grow. Mother’s milk should not be measured in ml because the child is self-regulating (by chance we adults, are always hungry and thirsty in the same way?). The breasts cannot wait too long, if they spend too many hours between a feed and the other, at least at the beginning, the milk production will settle according to these requests and when the baby will need more milk to grow there will not be enough …

These are some of the reasons why today’s breastfeeding does not work, and the mothers and the little ones are lost. All this brings to light the fact that women feel incapable,  a lot of mothers abandon the desire to breastfeed because they are worried about making mistakes and they feel lonely in this journey.

The right SUPPORT and an empathetic figure to help in this, can make the difference.

One of the basic rules for good and successful breastfeeding is to ask for help right away when you feel the need.

Breast milk is really the best food for a new-born, at least up to 6 months of life, but also beyond! And here are some reasons why:

-Breastfeeding is good for both the mother and the new-born. It has many advantages: It contains all the perfect nutrients for that baby at that time. It is easily digestible. It protects from infections (because the white blood cells produced by the mother against diseases reach the breast and produce antibodies that are passed to the baby in the milk).

-It helps the child in cognitive development (some studies have shown that breastfed children have a higher IQ ).

-It’s free.

-It protects the mother’s health (makes the mother’s physical recovery easier, reduces the chance of osteoporosis and some forms of ovarian and breast cancer, delays a new pregnancy).

-Promotes mother-child attachment and bond.

Since food is the first relationship that the child has with the world, breastfeeding is considered the first form of communication that can condition subsequent communication and relational experiences. It is not simply a question of offering milk but of creating a link, a bond. A good example is offered by the famous Harlow experiment with the small Rhesus monkeys. If it was previously believed that the infant’s attachment to the mother was completely tied to the experience of nutrition, in 1959 Harry Harlow demonstrated the importance of tactile sensations in the mother-child relationship. The scholar observed, in fact, that the monkey cubs spent much more time with a mannequin of soft cloth rather than with that of iron but provided with a bottle. The little ones remained, therefore, with the “cold mothers” only the time necessary to take the milk, while the rest of the time they spent it largely entwined with the “soft mother”. Against the psychoanalytic tradition of that time, this proved that the bond of attachment is not essentially linked to the pleasure of sucking and the satisfaction of hunger, but to a “warm” physical contact.

 

Breastfeeding has significant benefits for the child:

– Breastfeeding is particularly suited to meet the child’s nutritional and emotional needs: with the breast the new-born finds the perfect nutrition, easily digestible for his rapidly growing body, as well as the love and security he needs for his development as a person;

– Breastfeeding is the first immunization of the child. Breast milk contains live cells and antibodies that fight germs that threaten the health of the child;

– Breastfed children are less susceptible to respiratory diseases, gastroenteritis and otitis and, in general, suffer fewer hospital admissions than children fed with infant formula;

– Breastfeeding is associated with a lower incidence of allergies and obesity. Breastfeeding favours in the child a more correct development of the mandibular structure and of the dental arches;

– Breastfeeding encourages the mother-child bond, satisfying and reinforcing their mutual need to be together.

 

Several benefits also exist for the mother:

– breastfeeding immediately after birth favours the return of the uterus to its size before pregnancy and prevents bleeding;

– breastfeeding mothers have a lower risk of developing breast and uterus cancer before menopause, as well as suffering from old age osteoporosis;

– breast milk does not require preparation or sterilization. Free and anywhere, it is always ready at the right temperature;

– breastfeeding facilitates the loss of extra pounds taken during pregnancy;

– Successfully breastfeeding can reduce the risk of postpartum depression.

 

As a baby comes into this world, he immediately needs to establish a relationship with the mother through the experience of nutrition. It is basically about small perceptions – the contact with the skin, the heat, the smell, the sound of the voice – all of this gives the child his first sense of the world. The more this contact occurs in a harmonious way, away from chaotic and stressful situations, the more the child will receive the sensations of a peaceful outside world that is worth exploring and experiencing.

 

As in a kind of dance the two bodies blend together to create a rhythm, a music to which the outside world has no access. The two solitary dancers get in tune by creating a magical relationship so as to influence their very biology. It will be the child’s hunger to dictate the production of milk in the mother: the more he will latch on to the breast, the more milk will be produced.

What is a good age to stop breastfeeding?
It is up to you and your baby to decide when the time is right. The World Health Organization recommends that all babies be exclusively breastfed for six months, then gradually introduced to appropriate family foods after six months while continuing to breastfeed for two years or beyond.

When it comes to breastfeeding older children, there is a lot of different opinions around. But that is a whole other post!

If you ask me, as long a child and mother are happy, breastfeeding will always be a great powerful way women have, in order to nurture their children.

Mothering through breastfeeding is natural and beautiful.

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3 Replies to “The Importance Of Breastfeeding.”

  1. Absolute nonsense. Most of this has no basis in any real world evidence. Most of your claims have not been proven as a benefit to breastfeeding. Breastfeeding does not create a better bond and it does not reduce PPD. There is no scientific evidence that proves this. There are so many confounders in breastfeeding studies. Are you actually implying that bottle feeding moms are like the cold plastic “mothers” in the Rhesus monkeys experiment? This might come as a shocker but guess what? Us bottle feeding moms have warm bodies too. We use those warm bodies and loving arms to hold our babies, cuddle them, love them. You using this experiment as a breastfeeding vs bottle feeding is beyond ridiculous.

    1. Nowhere in the article is stated that breastfeeding creates a better bond, but that it “promotes and enhances” the mother and child link. Here is a good read: “Depression and New mothers”, by Kathleen Kendall- Tackett,PhD,IBCLC and La LECHE LEAGUE LEADER. As for the experiment cited in the article, I think you completely misunderstood the message there: ” this proved that the bond of attachment is not essentially linked to the pleasure of sucking and the satisfaction of hunger, but to a “warm” physical contact.” This experiment enhances the importance of skin to skin contact, “loving arms” as you say and cuddles . All things that breastfeeding mothers as much as formula feeding mothers are able to offer their children. It is stating the importance of this, for a child to have a healthy deep bond with the mother. Opposed to the once popular belief, that only through sucking or being offered milk, the child establish a strong bond. But I can see how the word “bottle” and “cold mothers” has put you off track.

  2. A ” breastfeeding vs bottle feeding” ??? Did you actually read the article Vanessa? There isn’t one single word that refers to formula feeding mothers, that shames them or ridicules them. You are the only one that mention this, and that got defensive for no reason.

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