BENEFITS OF BREASTFEEDING
Hello House of Buckle blog readers! I hope this finds you in great health and having a wonderful month! Can you believe that we are near the end of summer? ☹ Where is the time going? I moved my youngest daughter out of the house and into her dorm this past weekend which is an indicator that another school season is upon us! But don’t despair, there are still several warm sunny weeks of summer weather ahead of us and plenty of time to still enjoy your favorite outdoor activities! Aside from the start of school, August is also National Breastfeeding Month and once I realized this it prompted me to want to talk more about this important topic.
I realize this won’t necessarily apply to every reader but it’s still a great topic and worth our time. There is no wasted education and even if you personally don’t need this information, maybe somebody you know and/or love will! Let’s take a closer look…
Breastfeeding vs Formula
Making the choice to breastfeed vs formula for a newborn is one of the biggest decisions you will make as a new parent. Not all women are able to breastfeed (for a variety of reasons) and there are instances where the child is not able to handle breast milk very well. In either of these cases, formula will do the trick and do it just fine, so no worries. But being that as it may, various health organizations (American Academy of Pediatrics, American Medical Association, and the World Health Organization, just to name a few) all agree that if a mother is able and the child can handle it, breastfeeding is the very best choice for babies.
The simple fact is, breastfeeding provides health benefits that formula cannot match. Aside from the bond that is created via breastfeeding, there are many health benefits associated with breastfeeding! Breastfeeding may help defend the baby against infections and help prevent allergies. The facts are, breastfed babies have fewer infections and hospital visits vs formula-fed babies. This is due in large part because during breastfeeding, germ fighting factors and anti-bodies are passed from the mother to the baby. This in turn helps strengthen the child’s immune system in ways that formula just can’t accomplish. Additionally, breast milk is much easier for the baby to digest (in most instances).
I’m not saying formula is horrible, as it is created with all the necessary nutrients that a baby needs for sure. But it is undeniable that compared to breast milk, formula doesn’t measure up. Just remember, no matter how good a formula is, it isn’t something created by the mother for her specific child! When you add it all up, a mother’s milk truly is the perfect food for her baby. Oh, by the way, formula is costly while a mother’s milk is FREE!
Breastfeeding is also good for momma too! Breastfeeding helps the mother burn calories, shrink the uterus, and provides immune system support just to name a few things. We really could spend a lot more time talking in greater detail about physical and emotional benefits of breastfeeding vs formula, but I want to move this forward.
Here are some great books on the subject if you want to read more:
- Latch: A Handbook for Breastfeeding with Confidence at Every Stage
- The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding: completely Revised and Updated 8th Edition
- The Nursing Mother’s Companion, 7th Edition
Did You Know
Some studies have shown that children who were breastfed have slightly higher IQ’s vs formula fed babies!
Assistance from Nature
Breastfeeding has its challenges though. In addition to the time challenge (a big one for working mothers), there is also the physical demand it places on the body as well. Fortunately, as with most things, there are natural aids that can help the mother with the physical demands.
For instance, there are herbs that can help increase the production of breast milk. These herbs are called Galactagogues. Here are my Top 3 herbs for increasing breast milk supply. Most of these can be taken in either capsule or tea form. You can take them separately or in a blend.
- Fenugreek: It has been said since biblical times that this herbal plant can increase a mother’s breast milk. Recommended daily dose is 3.5 to 6 grams.Some women have noticed the use of Fenugreek gives their milk a maple syrup smell, so there’s that. And be advised, if you are allergic to peanuts or soybeans, its best to stay away Fenugreek!
- Fennel: Another popular herb in lactation products, Fennel contains estrogen-like properties that make it an ideal galactagogue. You can take this as a tea or in capsules.
- Blessed Thistle: Reportedly works best when combined with Fenugreek. This herb is perfectly safe for breastfeeding mothers when taken in moderation. Be advised, it also may stimulate uterine contractions so do NOT take this WHILE pregnant!
There are other herbs that are galactagogues, but these are my top three. You can find these herbs at your local health food store and take them either separately or in one of the ready-made blends.
For Sore Nipples
Mentioned earlier, breast feeding is demanding on the body and one of the areas that needs addressed is sore nipples. I remember my wife, as a first-time mother, sitting and crying as she breastfed our very first child. Fortunately, there are several natural remedies that work very well for this:
- Apply freshly expressed breast milk on sore nipples: The antibacterial properties in fresh breast milk can help heal sore/cracked nipples. Just make sure and wash your hands before gently applying a few drops of breast milk and allow to air-dry before covering up. (If you have thrush, this remedy should be avoided).
- Lanolin ointment: use specifically designated lanolin ointment which will keep nipples moist and help with wound healing. Just apply to nipples after breast feeding and no worries, it doesn’t even need to be removed before your next feeding session with baby!
- Calendula oil: Calendula is an amazing herb for all things skin. You can crush 1 or 2 calendula flowers and mix with olive oil and apply to nipples after nursing.
- Chickweed: This soothing herb is great for sore nipples. You can moisten the herb with boiling water, wrap in gauze and apply to your nipples. Let cool slightly but applying while still warm gives the bonus of a warm compress!
Stay Away From
Soaps or chemicals. Its best to keep sore nipples clear of soaps and chemicals when bathing. Use only lukewarm water on your nipples and allow them to air dry. Additionally, do not put powder, deodorant, or perfume on sore nipples. These things will only make the problem worse.
Well, that’s a wrap, folks. If you are able, breastfeeding your baby is the very best option for you and your child, respectively. I know time is an issue and there are demands on the body as well, but when you put it all together, the advantages far outweigh the disadvantages! Thanks for stopping by and until next time, remember that at Bucklebury we believe the best wealth is your health. Take care!