Monday, March 8, 2010

15 Things I've Learned About Breastfeeding

The points below are brief, so for further reading and information, Dr. Sears' The Breast Feeding Book will take you deeper.  You can also borrow it from the library.

1. Allowing 6 or more hours between feedings can begin ovulation.  This means that night-nursing is necessary for holding back ovulation.

2. A baby's brain grows particularly during sleep.  To facilitate that growth, a mother’s milk changes at night, while she is also in a resting state. 

3. Babies don’t naturally develop adult sleeping patterns until they are 2-3 years of age.  Until then, their frequent waking is a survival mechanism. (i.e. to alleviate fear, loneliness, cold, hunger, sickness, see also #2)

4. Nursing at night-time releases a hormone that helps the mother cope with less sleep.  Have you ever noticed how a nursing mother copes better than her husband after a difficult night caring for the baby? 

5. The breast actually helps to shape & develop the baby's mouth, lowering chances of later orthodontic work. 

6. A baby nurses more frequently when feeling ill.  When the baby suckles at the breast, he passes on the virus through the nipple.  The mother then produces an antibody for that particular virus and passes it back through the milk.

7. On average, breastfed babies score 8 points higher in IQ tests.

8. The more you breastfeed, the more the bonding or “love” hormone prolactin is released.  A nursing mother has a harder time leaving her baby in the care of another because of this bond.

9. The mother’s physical need is synchronized with her baby’s physical need.  Even if the mother cannot see or hear her baby, the mother knows by the uncomfortable fullness of her breasts that her baby is hungry and returns to him. 

10. Breastfeeding releases a hormone called oxytocin which calms or makes the mother sleepy.  Breast milk also contains a sleep inducer that puts your baby to sleep.  If you co-sleep with your baby, then you will receive the maximum benefit from these hormones.  While you lay next to your baby at night, the suckling will send you and your baby off to dreamland.  Ever had a hard time turning your brain off at night?  Breastfeed your baby and you will soon drift off.

11.  The more you breastfeed, the more weight you will lose.  Nurse around the clock for a year and you will see the pounds come off.

12. The more often you nurse (on cue feeding), the more milk you will produce.  The less you nurse (the further the feedings are apart), the less milk you will produce.

13.  Nursing calms and quiets a fussy baby; when tired, when hurt, when sick, when hungry.  When in doubt nurse your baby. 

14.  Your baby can be exclusively breastfed long after 6 months, even after 10 months.  You can wait until you baby has teeth or is physically able to feed itself to start solids.  Besides, a baby doesn't have the proper digestive juices until they can masticate.

15.  Breastfeeding reduces the risk of breast cancer!

Isaiah 66:11-13
    "For you will nurse and be satisfied
       at her comforting breasts;
       you will drink deeply
       and delight in her overflowing abundance."
    For this is what the LORD says:
       "I will extend peace to her like a river,
       and the wealth of nations like a flooding stream;
       you will nurse and be carried on her arm
       and dandled on her knees.
    As a mother comforts her child,
       so will I comfort you;
       and you will be comforted over Jerusalem."

1 comment:

  1. This is some great information, thank you for posting