Monday, August 2, 2010

WHY BREASTFEED by guest blogger Georgia from Love and Lollipops

Welcome to my good friend Georgia from Love and Lollipops!
Georgia and I actually met at a La Leche League meeting about a year ago. I took her card because I was interested in some of her photo stickers, and finally got around to calling her about it at the beginning of this year. She came to drop off some vouchers for me to include in the goodie bags for one of my Mom's Workshops, and as we stood chatting in my driveway on the way out, we discovered that we shared a lot of passions and pleasures! A week or so later we visited again, and the rest is history!

Georgia is a psychologist, photographer and mom of two charming boys, and is stillbreastfeeding her youngest. Thanks for the contribution, Georgia!

{Image credit: The cute cow image I used in this post comes courtesy of Lisa from It is one of a series of badges she's created in support of breastfeeding moms and I could not wipe the grin off my face as I scrolled down to look at all her designs. Please visit her site, and make sure you check out her T-shirts, too! My favourite is the 'Care Intructions Label' for babies!)


Georgia and her sweet little boy S!
    Hi, I’m Georgia from Love and Lollipops and I am writing about why you should breastfeed your baby. This is a HUGE topic and I’m going to give you just a few fantastic reasons to breastfeed. I think all moms hear about how “Breastfeeding is Best” but are not always aware of the facts behind this statement. I also think that knowing why you are choosing to breastfeed, can really help keep you motivated during the inevitable rocky patches.

  Let’s have a look at some wonderful health benefits that breastfeeding provides for you and your baby. Breast milk is perfectly designed for babies and provides all your baby’s nutritional requirements in exactly the right proportions. This fact always amazes me: Breast milk is alive and dynamic and it changes in composition during a feed and during the day to match your baby’s nutritional needs! Breast milk (human milk) is also more easily digested than infant formula, which is made from cow’s milk or other products.

     Breast milk provides antibodies (and more), which help boost baby’s immune system and prevent illness. Research has shown that breastfed babies have fewer illnesses and allergies, including a reduced risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, childhood cancer and diabetes. In fact, the effects on the immune system continue throughout life. Moms benefit too, with reduced risk of osteoporosis, breast and ovarian cancer.

     Brain development is essential during your baby’s first year. Breast milk comes up tops for the optimal development of your baby’s brain and nervous system. For example, breast milk contains higher concentrations of DHA and ARA (specific types of fat) than any brand of formula and these higher levels are associated with better visual and cognitive development. Research has shown that breastfed babies score higher on intelligence tests than formula-fed babies!

     But breastfeeding is not only about mom and baby’s physical and cognitive health, there are also wonderful emotional benefits. A breastfeeding Mom is in a different hormonal state to a non-breastfeeding one. Nursing moms have increased levels of the hormones oxytoxin and prolactin. These hormones are shown to stimulate nurturing, as well as feelings of well-being. Breastfeeding also provides a baby with comfort and security and they usually find immediate calm when they can suckle. Skin-to-skin contact (which is optimal during breastfeeding) produces a constant, elevated level of oxytocin in the baby, which in turn provides a valuable reduction in the baby’s stress-hormone responses.

   One last happy benefit is that breastfeeding nappies are less offensive than formula fed ones, which can have a very strong odour!

    And one last bit of research is that a mom's knowledge about breastfeeding is significantly linked to her decision to breastfeed and I would go on to say, her decision to persist with breastfeeding when she is confronted with difficulties.. So, in light of that, I hope that this small taste of why breastfeeding is best will convince you to research this topic more ... and keep reading this series of breastfeeding posts here at Joyful Mama's Place!

The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding (La Leche League International) This book is essential reading for any breastfeeding mother. South African readers can order it from your local LLL leader - click here for contact information -  while international readers can order directly from the LLL website - click here.
Position Paper on Infant feeding (International Lactation Consultant Association)
Breastfeeding Does Make a Difference (La Leche League International Article)

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