Here I am in the middle of the night with J and all I can think of is how wonderful it is to breastfeed. I breastfed both of my babies and aside from the initial soreness, I didn't have any real problems. I say this to point out that I can't completely relate to those who really struggled with breastfeeding, though I can certainly sympathize. Long ago, everything used to be black and white, but when I had M, I realized that there is a lot of gray. After struggling with so many issues and finally understanding why some women do what they do, I made a vow that I would never judge anyone ever again for the choices they made.
For myself, I'm glad I chose this way. I'm a little lazy by nature, so you can imagine how I love being forced to put everything down (several times a day no less!) and sit on the sofa for a spell to nurse without having to wash, sterilize and prepare the milk beforehand. It's like my coffee break at work! Just holding her in my arms is like therapy. She smells so wonderful... that milky/baby smell. Yum!
And ok, I'll say it: I feel fiercely proud that my body can sustain the life it helped create! It fills me with awe knowing how God made a woman's body capable of so adequately nourishing another life. Of course, there are days where I feel like an alien has taken over my body (um hello milk leaking through my shirt...), but it's hard not to get over it when baby is in my arms making those cute suckling noises. :o)
I challenge anyone not to admit that this is cooking at its finest! It's at a time like this when I can say with all confidence that I am the world's greatest chef! I mean, no matter how hard I try, I will probably never make anything as nutritionally sound or delicious as breast milk. For now, I'll treasure my transient title.
I remember reading a bunch of facts about breast milk a while ago that I stored in my "useless trivia" portfolio. Here are some of the cooler ones I remember.
- Breastmilk adapts to CLIMATE. (ie: the hotter the weather, the more watery the milk.)
- Breastmilk composition changes during the day AND as baby grows.
- Germs are passed from the baby to the mother via the breast, so mom can make antibodies for germs that baby contracts (assuming she doesn't already have them) and pass them back via her milk.
- Breastfeeding lowers a woman's risk of breast and ovarian cancer.
- Breastfeeding burns an average of 500 calories a day.
- Breastmilk contains proteins that induce sleep in baby while breastfeeding releases hormones that relax mommy. :o)
PS - Also very economical not having to buy formula! Just in case anyone needed more encouragement to breastfeed...