When I got pregnant, with both of the boys, in fact, even before I got pregnant, I knew I would be breastfeeding. Or, at the very least I was going to give it a damn good go. There was no question in my mind, it’s just what I was going to do.
When Jake was seven and a half months old, I stopped breastfeeding him completely, as I knew I would be going into hospital for a week to have surgery, and following that, I had six months of chemotherapy to go through. At that point, breastfeeding was no longer an option, and although I was sad to stop, I’m glad I managed to do it for as long as I did.
This time, I don’t know how long I will breastfeed for, but I am hoping to stop when I feel ready to, not because I have to. Already, I am being asked “When can you give him a bottle?” The answer: “I CAN give him one now, but he is a breastfed baby, so isn’t having them yet.” I’m very tempted to get myself, or Zack a t-shirt from Lactivist and then maybe I won’t get asked again.
As well as being free and convenient (no need to prepare bottles in a sleepy daze at 3am, or carrying them around with you when you are out and about) breast-feeding also has health benefits for both mum and baby.
Benefits for babies
- less chance of diarrhoea and vomiting and having to go to hospital as a result
- fewer chest and ear infections and having to go to hospital as a result
- less chance of being constipated
- less likelihood of becoming obese and therefore developing type 2 diabetes and other illnesses later in life
- less chance of developing eczema
- Any amount of breastfeeding has a positive effect. The longer you breastfeed, the longer the protection lasts and the greater the benefits.
- Infant formula doesn’t give your baby the same ingredients or provide the same protection. Breast milk adapts to meet your baby’s changing needs.
Health benefits for you
Breastfeeding doesn’t only benefit your baby. It benefits your health too. Breastfeeding is good for mums as it:
- lowers your risk of getting breast and ovarian cancer
- naturally uses up to 500 calories a day
- saves money – infant formula, the sterilising equipment and feeding equipment can be costly
- can help to build a strong bond between you and your baby
- Exclusive breastfeeding can also delay the return of your periods.
*benefits taken from the NHS website
I love the bond that it gave me and Jake, and that it’s giving to me and Zack. I love the way Zack looks at me with those big blue eyes of his, and that I know that if no one else can, that I can always comfort him. It’s also very handy to be able to sit in my bed with him swaddled, then feed him to sleep and put him down in his crib. I know some people think that breastfed babies don’t sleep as well at night, but Zack easily goes five or six hours before waking for a feed, and then he just comes and lies next to me and feeds.
I love breastfeeding, and I’m not planning on stopping any time soon!
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