The discussion at The Institute For Global Education went famously. I had an excellent time and I found it to be a lively discussion that could have gone on for MUCH longer! The discussion started with the topic of the Michigan issue of Proposal 5515 which would protect Michigan women when breastfeeding their babies in public places. Seems simple, right? Well, while I was on Mlive.com today to check and see if 5515 was in fact the number of the bill in question I find an article called "Bothered by moms breast feeding in public? Proposed Michigan law would make it illegal to ask them to stop" where there is a fairly lively debate about this topic, and interestingly enough - religion. It seems to me that these people are so one track minded that they are incapable of focusing on the topic and simply regress towards insults and talking about how "superior" they are because they believe in "god". If issuse are not important to them then they simply must not be important. Many called it a waste of time for our lawmakers - and I agree with them on this from one point of view and that is that we even have to do it. Why in the world should I have to fight for my right to feed my child? Are you serious?
Breastfeeding is natural and it is clearly the best choice you can make for mom and baby. It is the best nutrition and it's FREE. In a country that is in trouble financially as well as one of the most unhealthy nations in the world we should be doing everything we can to encourage women to breastfeed.
Benefits of Breastfeeding:
From the start beastfeeding helps to contract the uterus back down to it's original size. This can help reduce hemoraging and postpartum bleeding overall.
Breastfeeding triggers te release of oxytocin in the body making mom feel more relaxed and nurturing.
Builds a stronger bond between mom and baby resulting in less chance of developing Post Partum Depression.
Helps mom loose weight as her body burns calories to produce milk for baby.
Reduces mom's risk of developing breas and ovarian cancers. May even educe the risk of developing Osteoporosis.
In preemies breastmilk can make the difference between life and death. Breastmilk nourishes low birthweight babies and provides them with the nutrition they need to protect them from blood diseases and high blood pressure later in their lives.
May help to reduce the risk of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome)
Protects baby from developing type 1 diabetes.
Lower risk of developing childhood Lukemia.
May reduce the risk of childhood obesity. Breastfed babies develop better ating habits as they grow. Also, breastmilk has less insulin than formula (insulin stimulates the creation of fat). Breastfed babies have more of the protien hormone leptin in their system which plays a role in reglating appetite and fat. Formula fed infants gain weight rapidly in the first weeks of life which is linked to later childhood obesity.
Breastfeeding may boost childs intelligence. Babies breastfed for 6 months or more appear to have the greatest advantage. Not only because of the good fatty acids found in breastmilk, but because of the strong bonding that occours during breastfeeding.
Breastfeeding can protect against babies developing allergies and asthma. This protection goes well into adolecence.
Breastfeeding protects baby from gastroinestinal trouble, respiratory problems and ear infections. Numerous studies from around the world have shown that diarrhea, lower respiratory illnesses, and ear infections happen less often in breastfed babies, and are less severe when they do occur. Exclusive breastfeeding (meaning no solid food) for at least six months seems to offer the most protection.
Researchers have found that immune factors that are present in colostrum (the first milk your body produces) guard against invading germs by forming a protective layer on your baby's mucous membranes in his intestines, nose, and throat. The main immune factor at work here is secretory IgA (immunoglobulin A). It's present in large amounts in colostrum — which is why it's important to start nursing your baby right after birth — but is also found in lower concentrations in mature milk.
Breastfeeding may also protect your baby from developing inflammatory bowel disease later in life. Several studies have documented a link between a lack of breastfeeding in infancy and later development of Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis.
Breastfeeding is not only the very best choice a mother can make for her child becuase of health, it is best for the environment and for the wallet! We're not only talking the cost for formula (which will be in the thousands of dollars long term) but the health costs throughout their lives. Breastfeeding is he best immunization that babies can recieve. Because it helps to prevent so many illnesses it is better overall - especially in a country with some of the worst health rates in the world. It's better for employers and employees as well because their children are less likely to be sick.
Also, breastfeeding makes FAR less of an impact on our environment. No cans of formula, less bottles, less water waste, etc.
Need I go on?? Part of what I love so much about breastfeeding is the same thing I love about being pregnant. I am in awe of what my body is capable of! Not only am I able to create and grow a life within me, I am able to get inside of my body and not rely on drugs or surgery to get them out (which has also empowered me as a survivor of sexual abuse) and then I am able to completely sustain them with the best stuff I can give them!! We are SUCH amazing creatures!!
So, in conclusion - if you are debating between breast or bottle I would strongly encourage you to at least try breastfeeding for 6 weeks. It isn't always easy but it's SO worth it. Just don't give up!!