Even before I had my first child, I was sure I would breastfeed. I didn't actually give it that much thought, other than to get measured up for a nursing bra a couple of weeks before the birth. I know, very prepared.
My breastfeeding journey is another post for another day, but suffice to say, I knew that human milk was best for human babies.
Knowing what I do now, I'm glad I had that determination, after all, I wouldn't be a breastfeeding counsellor without it. Turns out though that breastfeeding was far more amazing than I ever gave it first credit for...
First Feed ~
Stabilizes babys blood sugar following birth and super lovely skin to skin contact for mother and baby. Don't underestimate the protective action of this one feed on babys gut.
One Week ~
Breastmilk has helped to clear through the sticky black meconium and the uterus is contracting back to its normal size with BF help. Mum is guaranteed decent sofa time as she breastfeeds her newborn - you deserve the rest!
One Month ~
Think of the time NOT spent sterilizing bottles etc. If your baby was premature, then even exclusive breastmilk for 4 weeks gives a lower risk factor for heart disease later in life.
Two Months ~
By now you already have a lower risk for ovarian cancer. Woohoo! Then the added bonus of lower risk of food allergies at 3 yrs old for your babe (the BMJ got it wrong. Shocking)
Three Months ~
You won't be wearing yourself out with doctors visits as your baby is now less likely to develop gastroenteritis and suffer with diarrhoea... an absolute bonus for you!
Four Months ~
Your baby has less risk of developing eczema and asthma. Look at her. She's gorgeous and you made her all by yourself!
Five Months ~
Risk of cot death is significantly reduced, along with a lower risk of urinary tract infections.
Six Months ~
Baby has a lower risk of ear infections and good news if there's Diabetes in your family... BF for 6 months and you'll have a lower risk of Type 2 Diabetes.
One Year!! ~
You've saved a minimum of £450 in formula feed! Baby has lower risk of heart disease as an adult plus less likely to be overweight in later life.
Two Years ~
Mums risk of breast cancer has been slashed by a brilliant 8%. One cool bonus is that breastfed babies are more likely to have higher average scores on intelligence tests.
Some people say to me that a problem they have with breastfeeding is that it is not quantifiafble. Eg, how much did they take (dunno) etc... These milestone health benefits for both mother and child are measurable. Be proud though, whatever you achieve, just remember even from that first feed, you did a good job.
However if those milestones encourage you to BF longer, then I'm glad about that too. Care to share any known benefits of breastfeeding that you think should have been covered?
Info referenced from the NCT (UK) information sheet 'Reasons to be Proud'. For a full set of references, email me and I'll pass on the request to the NCT.
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