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Sunday, August 01, 2010

World Breastfeeding Week

Today marked the first day of world breastfeeding week. Every year August 1-7th marks the celebration of breastfeeding in over 120 countries and aims to encourage more women worldwide to breastfeed their babies. 


So why should you breastfeed? 
Babies who are breast-fed are much less likely to be sick. Breastmilk can reduce the number of colds, ear infections and stomach virus your baby receives. Baby gets all the good immunities through your milk which helps keep them from getting sick. I know that's true in our family. Abby hardly ever got sick until the fall after she stopped nursing then she got twice as many colds as she'd had in the previous years combined. Micah in his 15 months of life has only had 1 cold. That's with attending playdates and being in the church nursery generally 4 times a week with other kids that could be carrying yucky germs. Between Abby and Micah we've only had one ear infection. 
Breastfeeding can also lessen the risk of your baby having asthma, type 1 and 2 diabetes, childhood leukemia and SIDS. With having c-sections with both babies which is more of a risk factor for the baby having asthma later in life since all the fluid doesn't get squeeze out of them the way it would in a natural birth I want to do everything possible to lessen the risk of asthma. 


Now that's the benefits to baby but breast-feeding also has benefits to mom as well! 
Breastfeeding can lessen the odds of type 2 diabetes, breast cancer, ovarian cancer and postpartum depression (PPD.) 


Those are just some of the many health benefits breastfeeding can give both you and your baby. Convinced yet? If not there's more! 


Breastmilk is always the perfect food for baby. It changes composition as baby gets older to meet the needs of your baby. It's made specially for your baby. Your human infant gets to drink human milk not a formula made from cow's milk that humans aren't made to drink (or goat's milk or soy - which also has it's risks.) This means it's easy for them to digest since it's made perfect for them. 


Breastmilk is not only easier to digest than formula there is also no need to heat it, carry around a cooler to keep it cold or make baby wait while you take time to fix a bottle and baby is already hungry. You can also save between $1,000-$4,000 depending on which formula brand you chose if you chose the free breastmilk you already make. 


The current recommendations from the World Health Organization are to breastfeed until age 2 or beyond. Your milk never goes bad and will continue to benefit your child beyond the 3, 6, 9, 12 months that some might think. The little bit of breastmilk a 2 year old that doesn't nurse during the day can still provide the good germ fighting immunity that a 3 month old who nurses all day long would receive. The WHO and the American Academy of Pediatrics also strongly encourage exclusive nursing until 6 months of age. That means no cereal, food, water or anything else. By waiting it ensures that their little tummies are fully prepared to digest the more difficult to digest foods. Introducing food earlier can upset their tummies and potentially cause longer lasting issues such as food intolerances. 


I hope this information has been helpful and encouraging! I'll have another post later this week with links to helpful websites, groups and more information on why breastfeeding is so beneficial. 

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