Over recent years, the number of breastfeeding mothers has been on a major decline with so many mothers opting for formula-feeding their babies as an easy exit. I have personally been a great endorser of breastfeeding and find myself encouraging new mothers to go for it at least for the first six months. It is disappointing to see the growing number of mothers who make the typical statement of “there was no milk”! The biggest mistake here is that a lot of women think that giving formula with breast milk is fine – reality check: it is not! The main reason why there sometimes “is no milk” is because there was not enough stimulation to produce it. When the baby has formula to rely on, the stimulation to the breasts is not sufficient to create enough milk and that is where so many mothers fall short.
I am not talking about the rare exceptions of course… One of the most frequent excuses I hear is: “I have to go back to work and I don’t have time for this”… That is what breast pumps are for! I had initially thought that pumps did not work until I was inspired by a friend of mine who has breastfed her 3 kids till the age of 11 months while working at a CASINO!! This means that she has the oddest schedule you can possibly imagine yet still found the time to follow a pumping, freezing and feeding regimen. If anything, breastfeeding needs discipline and determination. The fact is that it is not easy – it is hard work and it sometimes takes till the fifth week for the milk to “come in” and that is why doctors advise that you not start pumping till that time… Until then, babies can be latched on non-stop as they stimulate the body to increase the milk supply they need to grow. This gets even more challenging during growth spurts when babies tend to latch on even longer.
When I had my first child, I was under the impression that my son would just latch on and the feeding process would go smoothly – boy was I wrong! It took almost 6 weeks for us to get it right but whenever I considered giving up, I just reminded myself of the amazing benefits breast milk has for our little ones. Formula is an attempt to replicate it and you can just tell how much effort goes into it when you look at the label of a pack with all the vitamins they try to infuse into it and even then – scientific research has proven that it does not even come close!
Breastfed babies are healthier, smarter, happier, and more secure and these are just a few of the highlights. In my life I have heard some ridiculous stories about women who preferred not to breastfeed because they feared their boobs would sag or that they wanted to get on with their life and my response to this is: why are you having a baby in the first place!!?
Being a mother is a privilege and an honor that we need to take seriously. Even though it is very challenging at times, it is also one of the most rewarding roles we will ever have to take on and breastfeeding is an integral part of it. Husbands and family members ought to constantly encourage these mothers and make them feel a major sense of accomplishment when they breastfeed. If you have breastfed your babies then be proud, be VERY proud of yourself!