Other Than Because Everyone Expects It Of You
- Breastfeeding is inexpensive and healthy
- Breastfeeding promotes bonding and is convenient
- Brain development may benefit from breastfeeding
- Breastfed babies often have fewer infections and are less colicky
- Mom may experience health benefits from breastfeeding
You must have received the memo by now. Breastfeeding is best, news at eleven. Everyone is rightfully promoting breastfeeding, but some arguments are more persuasive than others. Take a moment to sort through the selling points and consider what will resonate with you.
- Most Persuasive Reasons to Breastfeed. In a nutshell, breastfeeding is healthy, convenient, inexpensive and promotes bonding. This ever-changing liquid, breast milk adjusts its composition as your baby grows. From the first sips of colostrum to mature milk for your older baby, breast milk is continuously adapting. Your milk contains nutrients and protective factors that we simply can’t reproduce in a kitchen. This alone should be enough to convince you that breast is best. As for cost and convenience, these benefits are self-evident. Formula is expensive, time-consuming to prepare and proper storage can be an issue. If you haven’t noticed, you have all of these components covered. The simplicity of nighttime feedings is also a plus. And then there is the bonding. Breastfeeding demands one-on-one attention. These fleeting moments are to be cherished.
- Moderately Persuasive Reasons to Breastfeed. Breast milk promotes brain growth and intelligence, reduces the chance of infection (among a number of health benefits), is easy to digest, is relatively safe and likely reduces the chance of postpartum depression. In addition, breastfeeding aids your ability to recover faster from childbirth, lose a few extra pounds, and may indeed reduce your chance of arthritis and various forms of cancer. Remarkable indeed. Still, I place these reasons in the “moderately persuasive” category because although these benefits are more likely to occur when babies are fed breast milk, none of these protections are guaranteed. Breastfeeding is not magical. Colic, allergies, asthma, eczema, diaper rashes and the common illnesses of childhood can occur in babies who are breastfed. The risk is reduced, but it is not zero. With this knowledge, your goal is to do the best you can to protect your baby and you. To that end, breastfeeding still holds an advantage in these areas.
- Other Reasons to Breastfeed. Let’s be clear. I am for breastfeeding. I’m also a realist and some of the arguments for breastfeeding would not sway me. Perhaps they will sway you. Some will argue breastfeeding forces mothers to slow down and rest. Others will argue that moms learn to multitask better. The fact is, regardless of the feeding method, you must learn to integrate your baby into your life. That is a good thing. There are others who tout breastfeeding as a method of birth control. Don’t be fooled. This is not a bulletproof form of birth control. Others point to more sucking satisfaction for your baby, reduced risk of childhood obesity, and the possibility that breastfeeding helps prevent cavities. Aside from you not being a pacifier, moderating intake and protecting the gums and future teeth can easily be accomplished regardless of the feeding method.
To recap, I am all for breastfeeding. Keep the arguments in perspective. There are plenty of good reasons to breastfeed. If this is the path for you, let’s work on making breastfeeding easy.