In case you didn't know, August is National Breast Feeding Month. Many of you probably already know that I am breast feeding my first child. We have been going strong for the last 7 1/2 months. It is a big commitment. I haven't really talked about breast feeding here on the blog since William was first born. That first post was entitled The Gift of Breast Feeding. I think that is such a good way to look at breast feeding. It is A LOT of hard work and it is truly a gift that you are giving to your child. I made that choice for William and I try not to complaining about breast feeding/pumping, but instead look at it as a wonderful opportunity that I GET to do and I am giving to him.
I have been volunteering with the Breast Feeding Support Group at St Vincent Women's Hospital for the last several weeks. I am working towards getting experience and hours for my IBCLC certification. This credential stands for an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant. This credential is a great way to get continued education about maternal and infant health/development and how to help mothers trouble shoot breast feeding. I have really enjoyed being able to work with some Moms on Fridays in an outpatient setting. It is so neat to see these mothers band together, lift one another up and support each other in this journey of motherhood and breast feeding. I was talking with one mom who said that the support of the lactation consultants and this group has helped her so much that without that support she wasn't sure she would still be breast feeding. That is a huge testament to supporting and educating mothers on how to trust their bodies to provide milk for their babies. I think lots of times we have the false idea that we, as the mothers, are in control of the feedings for the baby. In all actuality, the baby determines how much they want to eat and how they are going to do it. Trusting your baby and body is a tough thing to learn. Getting to work with some of these moms and encourage them has definitely been the highlight of my Fridays.
- Breast feeding helps you save money $$$
- Feeding your baby formula can cost you ~$1,500 a year or an average of $30 a week.
- Because breast fed babies are less sick, you will miss fewer days at work to stay home and take care of your baby.
- Breast feedings helps keep your baby healthy.
- Your child is less likely to get sick when they are breast fed. Your breast milk can help prevent ear infections, diarrhea, respiratory illnesses, childhood obesity and childhood leukemia.
- Breast milk and breast feeding your baby helps to decrease the risk of SIDS by > 70%.
- Breast feeding if good for your health (as the mother), because your risk of breast cancer and ovarian cancer also decreases.
- Commit from the beginning.
- Mothers who have a plan from the time before their child is born are more likely to stick with it. Breast feeding is tough and can be challenging, but those mothers who are determined are more likely to stick with it.
- Getting your support system on board with your plans to breast feed will help you be successful as well.
- Breast milk nature's perfect food.
- Your breast milk is designed for your baby. It is easier for your baby to digest than formula and you pass along your immune fighting agents to your child. You are the mother, have the power to give this unique and perfectly designed food to your baby.