Saturday, August 1, 2009

Breastfeeding: the best foundation for health


World Breastfeeding Week, Aug. 1-7

so I'm resurrecting and adding to an older post.

Breastfeeding is good for mama, good for baby, good for our earth, good for our future. Simply, it is the best, most sustainable, greenest and by far healthiest food to feed our babies.

picture courtesy the Ecologist, Suck on This

Breast is Best:
  • it provides security and can help calm a fussy baby more quickly than a bottle (also helps calm a busy mommy!)
  • it offers powerful DHA for brain development; (it's important that YOU get your DHA and Omega 3s to pass on to the baby - eat eggs from pastured hens fed flax and other things to make high omega eggs and eat safe wild Alaskan salmon)
  • breastfed babies are smarter and have greater academic achievement according to New Zealand researchers
  • it promotes bonding between mom and baby
  • it promotes healthy jaw and mouth muscle development (the baby must use 20 to 60 times more muscular effort to get the milk from breast!) This creates stronger muscles and jaws and promotes a healthy formation of their mouth and head. This in turn lowers the risk for braces, promotes proper breathing, correct speech development, healthy teeth, nose breathing over mouth breathing, and better hand-eye coordination!
  • can correct cranial strains from birth
  • it forces even the most powerful type A personality of moms to rest
  • it offers special immunities that last a lifetime for baby
  • lowers risk of colic since it takes longer to drink, unlike the bottle where the milk just pours right in with little sucking
  • breastfeeding helps the mommy (shrinks uterus faster, lowers risk of breast, ovarian and endometrial cancers, helps us lose weight, lowers risk of osteoporosis, protects us against anemia, and is an amazingly empowering experience to know that it is YOU and only you (for the first 6+ months at least) that is keeping that baby happy and fed properly)
  • for every year a mama breastfeeds, she reduces her own risk of developing breast cancer by 4.3%, reduces her risk of ovarian cancer by 24%, reduces her risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes by 15%
  • breastfeeding also helps the child later in life (less risk of obesity, higher IQ, less chance of ear infections and other sickness; it lowers risk of diabetes, food allergies, SIDs, childhood cancers, vision problems, and even cavities)
  • breastfeeding lowers cardiovascular risk later in adult life and lowers chances of a stroke in adult life
  • breastfeeding regularly tends to delay ovulation allowing for natural spacing of children in a family - this does not always happen for all mamas for the same length of time, but most of us happily avoided periods and ovulation for years!
  • poopies of breastfed infants are sweet and quite smelly of formula-fed babies (output is based upon input)
  • breastfed babies have the most delicious soft skin ever! That is really true - take the test and feel the leg of a breastfed baby versus a formula fed baby. Breastfed babies are much softer because their fat is distributed better throughout their body
  • breastfed babies smell sweeter; take a whiff. You'll know a breastfed baby.
It's great that formula exists for moms unable to nurse their own babies or babies who are not able to breastfeed. But let's call it like it is, breastfeeding should always be our first choice.