|Photo by Julie Montgomery|
In case you missed last week’s post on Lactation Cookies, I’d like to welcome you to my new mini series on breastfeeding. Each Monday this summer, I’ll be posting on a topic related to nursing our little ones.
Breastfeeding is something I always knew I wanted to do, but I didn’t really consider why I should nurse until my first daughter was born.
There are many reasons to breastfeed, but this is why I choose to nourish my babies this way:
1. It’s FREE. I know, I know…sounds like a selfish reason, right? But, really–it’s God’s free gift to us to be able to give our babies ALL they need–with NO cost involved! Breastfeeding definitely fits into my family’s budget!
2. It’s HEALTHY. Later in this series I will delve into more of the health benefits. For now, check out the La Leche League website, which lists the many, many health benefits of breastfeeding (for both mommy and baby!).
3. It’s a NATURAL WEIGHT-REDUCER. Breastfeeding burns an extra 200-500 calories per day! Now, I will say this was the only thing I needed to lose my baby weight the first time around. However, 8 months after my second daughter’s birth, the pounds have not just melted off, and it’s becoming obvious that I need to start exercising (which I should be doing anyway!).
4. It’s a bonding experience. Now, I will not be a breastfeeding nazi and say that formula-fed babies cannot be bonded to their mothers. That is simply not true (and, in my opinion, a very hateful assumption). However, breastfeeding does seem to make it easier because feeding our babies in general is a bonding experience, and it’s hard to delegate breastfeeding to someone else! 🙂 (Later in this series, we’ll discuss ways daddies and other care givers can get involved!)
5. It’s restful. If new mothers are breastfeeding, they have to take a break to nurse. It’s next to impossible to walk around the house and do chores while nursing (although it can be done–once both mommy and baby get the hang of it). One of my favorite breastfeeding positions is lying down….it’s SO restful and bonding!
Now….I’d like to share the BEST breastfeeding advice anyone ever gave me….
MAKE SMALL GOALS.
That’s it? Yes, that’s it. After reading multiple books and websites, consulting doctors, midwives, lactation consultants and friends over the past 3 1/2 years (counting my pregnancy with my 3-year-old), that is the best advice, and it was given to me by a former lactation consultant friend from my church.
I still remember our meeting over lunch a few weeks before I gave birth.
“What are your goals?” she asked me.
“I want to breastfeed for a year!” I eagerly exclaimed.
And although she knew it was absolutely feasible for me to do so, she told me: “Make SMALL goals. Otherwise, you may get frustrated and give up.”
So I followed her advice.
“Just give it 2 weeks,” she said. “Then make a new goal from there.”
So I started out with 2 weeks. (Which are the hardest 2 weeks, by the way!) I then set my goal for 1 month, then 2 months, then 6 months, then 1 year.
And I never set an “end” time.
But I exceeded my first goal by leaps and bounds. My 2-week goal turned into 22 months. That’s right…I nursed my first daughter for almost 2 years.
And it’s because I followed the BEST ADVICE EVER. MAKE SMALL GOALS!
I’d LOVE to hear from YOU!
In the comments, tell me why YOU breastfed and what was the best advice you were ever given?
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If you liked this post, you may also like my post on Lactation Cookies.
Looking for some healthy recipes while you are breastfeeding? Check out the e-book, Health Pregnancy Super Foods (affiliate link), which includes great recipes for a healthy breastfeeding experience as well!
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My mother nursed us kids so I always knew I would try it one day with my babies. When I got pregnant and started doing research about giving birth I learned the health benefits that mothers can pass on to their infants through breastmilk. I also like the fact that it is free and there are no bottles to clean.
My doula gave me this advice: she said in the beginning always keep water near by because you will be very thirsty! and get a good breast feeding support pillow. (I had trouble nursing laying down)
I also received the same advice (I think it was from the same person). And what GREAT advice it was!
I mainly nursed at first because it was free. I mean I knew it was the best and everything, but ultimately, it was free. I don’t think that’s selfish at all. Like you said, it is God’s gift and blessing. 🙂 When I would pump at work I would often chant to myself, “It’s free. It’s free. It’s free.” haha!
Alison @ Alison's List
I appreciate the “small goals” advice. I never heard that. We’ve exclusively breastfed for 7.5 months already, but right now I’m feeling like I’ve absolutely had it with nursing and how can I possibly make it another 4.5 months until my 12 month goal? I’ll just focus on 2 more weeks…and then 2 more weeks after, for as long as I can. If I didn’t believe so strongly in the health benefits of nursing the baby, I would have quit long ago.
Yes–take it two weeks at a time! One foot in front of other! Way to make it 7.5 months!!
The best nursing advice I received was after the birth of my third son last October. The attending nurse told me to make sure I got plenty of water and sleep. She said everyone talks about good nutrition, but no one ever tells you that you need lots of water and sleep to make milk. And she was right! I could always tell a difference in my milk production if I didn’t drink quite enough water or had a fussy baby night.