Tuesday, May 3, 2011

The Importance of Breastfeeding

"Yet You are He Who took me out of the womb; You made me hope and trust when I was on my mother's breasts"  Psalm 22:9

"That you may nurse and be satisfied from her consoling breasts, that you may drink deeply and be delighted with the abundance and brightness of her glory"   Isaiah 66:11

There are a number of scriptures that speak about breastfeeding, and that it is a good thing! "You made me hope and trust when I was on my mother's breast". What a privilege!

And one only needs to look at nature and the way God created us to see what an awesome work He did, especially with regards to feeding our children.

Have a look at a few facts about breast milk and breastfeeding:
  1. The composition of breast milk is perfect for the baby. It contains everything that a baby needs and nothing that the baby does not. There is a perfect balance of nutrients and water so that a baby does not even need to be given water when being breast fed. No formula however good can hope to replicate this
  2. Breastmilk changes with each feeding
  3. Your breasts will always produce just enough milk for your baby's needs
  4. It has all the vitamins, fats, and proteins needed by your baby in exact amount. Breast milk, which is 90% water, consists of: nutrient proteins, non-protein nitrogen compounds, lipids, oligosaccharides, vitamins, minerals, hormones, enzymes, growth factors and protective agents. It has 10% solids for energy and growth
  5. Baby becomes healthier with mother’s milk and has more defenses against various types of infant-related diseases
  6. Breast milk prevents diarrhea in babies
  7. Breast milk is the vaccine for all infectious diseases. The human breast "custom-makes" antibodies to fight whatever pathogen the infant is exposed to in the environment.
  8. The most amazing aspect of breast milk is that it is actually live. It's not a consistent body fluid such as blood -- it's a secretion of the mammary gland -- and it is constantly changing its composition, dependent, of course, on the interaction with the baby
  9. Immune strengthening ingredients in breastmilk include:
  10. Research has shown that as a result of the amazing content of breast milk breastfed babies have better gastric motility, mucosal mass, intestinal host defenses, brain and retinal growth
  11. Even though the iron levels are fairly low in breast milk, iron is absorbed 50% more efficiently than in commercial cow's milk formula
  12. The consistency of breast milk is also perfect at all times. It is neither too thick (lest it is difficult to digest) nor is it too dilute (lest it contain less nutrition than required).
  13. The temperature of breast milk is always perfect, whereas with formula you need to check whether the bottle prepared is not too cool or too hot, you never once have to check the temperature of breast milk because it is exactly the right temperature for baby.
  14. With breast milk, you never have to make or prepare a baby’s feed. You don’t have to worry about the kind of water to be used to mix with the formula; you don’t have to get up in the middle of the night to “make a bottle”.
  15. Formula contains sucrose (sugar) which is harmful to baby’s teeth. Breast milk contains lactose, which is a simple sugar and cannot harm baby
  16. Poop of a breastfed baby doesn’t stink as much as a formula fed baby's poop.
  17. Breast milk can be used for many other things other than feeding baby such as treating Breast milk has been used to treat eye infections, ear infections,
    pimples, cold sores, and nail fungus and prevent infection in
    scrapes and scratches
  18. It is very uncommon for a mom to have a real “low breast milk problem” most of the time this is just because of a bad latch
  19. Human milk has over 300 ingredients, including interferon, white
    blood cells, antibacterial and antiviral agents, while formula has only 40
  20. Human milk has been shown to kill cancer cells in a laboratory dish
    and has been used in oncology.
  21. Human milk lactoferrin is patented for use in killing E. Coli in the
    meat packing industry.
  22. Adoptive moms, grandmothers, and yes, even men(!) have been able to lactate for an infant.
I mean - WOW! Isn't God awesome! I can attest to many of these facts in my own life.

Breastfeeding is by far the most convenient and healthy way to feed your baby. And these facts don't even cover the physical benefits to the mother and emotional benefits to both.

I always used to see breastfeeding as simply a nutritional act, even a few weeks into being a new mom. I was pleased to be able to breastfeed and enjoyed seeing my baby so happy but never really grasped the full picture. The act of breastfeeding isn't purely about nutrition, but its deeply soothing and settling to a baby as well.

Imagine coming out of the warm cosy womb where the sound of your mother's heartbeat is your companion. You are in a strange and scary new environment. Then your mother embraces you in her arms and puts you to her chest (BTW skin on skin contact/ kangaroo care has awesome benefits too) and on to her breast. You drink away which is soothing to a baby in itself (sucking reflex) and fulfil your thirst or hunger. But not only that, you feel her warmth, smell her skin and hear that familiar heartbeat once again. If you're lucky enough to be nursed to sleep, you drink yourself into a blissful trance and hopefully stay there until you wake up.

Aah the memories I have of that time are so precious to me. Ethan weaned himself (not me) at 20 months. But those precious moments when you know that your baby could not be happier or safer, and that he is getting the best nutrition possible that God specifically made for him at that time, and even time of day - is irreplaceable.

And if you didn't have any luck with getting breastfeeding right, it doesn't stop you from holding your little one tight and staring lovingly into their eyes while they have their bottle.

The time when they are so dependant on you for everything is so short - enjoy every minute of it!

PS If you want some more resources on breastfeeding let me know and I will get it to you.

1 comment:

  1. Excuse the white highlighted text. Still getting used to the editor.