There is alllll kinds of controversy out there over which is best: breastfeeding or formula. Now, clearly when it boils down to it, making sure the baby is healthy and happy is what really matters. People can debate all day over the pros and cons to formula and breastmilk, but I am not here to start a riot. I simply did the research to come up with a list of reasons for why BREAST IS BEST. See what I did there? I´m not saying formula is wrong,,,, I´m also not, not saying it doesn´t compare to breast milk…….
Also, let me just start with: I am not a doctor. I am actually a teacher with a touch of sarcasm and a knack for breastfeeding my two sweet baby loves. I composed this list of reasons I chose to breastfeed my babies through research and the benefits I have witnessed first hand from my own experiences. There are GOBS more benefits of breastfeeding that are not on this list, but I chose these because they are the reasons I personally chose to breastfeed my babies exclusively. Babies aren´t the only ones who benefit,, If you want to know about all the benefits for breastfeeding mamas.. check this out!
NUTRITION, NUTRITION, NUTRITION.
Antibodies to the Rescue!!
Common Illness Reducer.
Preventing Childhood Cancer
Meeting the Emotional and Physical Needs.
- NUTRITION, NUTRITION, NUTRITION. All of the nutrients your baby needs for the first 6 months of their lives, (although I encourage 1 year of nursing) are found in your milk. Some research does say vitamin D is not as prominent, however, others claim that your milk contains all necessary nutrients. Use your mom judgement here or speak to your pediatrician if vitamin D is a concern. Your milk is loaded with protein and able to supply your baby with all the nutrients needed for a healthy baby.
- Antibodies to the Rescue!! Your milk is FULL of antibodies to help your infant fight off illness and disease they are not yet able to have a vaccine for. Isn´t that cool? You´re kind of like a superhero—> or your boobs are anyway…. Your milk is high in immunoglobin A, which basically just means it will help to fight off or prevent sickness entirely. Vaccines occur at 6 months which is one reason why it is recommended to nurse AT LEAST to the 6 month point…. again- I´m encouraging the 1 year mark minimum.
- Common Illness Reducer. Breastfed babies are less likely to get ear infections, respiratory infections, and develop allergies. Research suggests that breastfed babies MAY experience illness, but with the antibodies present, they are less likely to experience the full threat of illnesses. Breastfed babies are known to keep this trait all the way through childhood and even into adulthood.
- GUT HEALTH. Breastfed babies are less likely to obtain a gut infection. One of my main reasons for refusing to give my babies formula is that my husband has an irritated gut as an adult, and it is proven that formula can change the lining of the infants guts causing major infection. I wanted to give my kiddos a fighting chance at NOT developing any type of gut or intestinal risk, therefore I exclusively breastfed them both.
- Healthy Weight. America is full of body image issues, and I knew it was one mountain I didn´t want to climb with either of my babies. Originally (while pregnant with Knox) I just heard through the grapevine that breastfeeding could give my baby a chance to maintain a healthy weight throughout their lifetime, so I was motivated to nurse in order to prevent any future issue for him. I never wanted him to struggle with body image issues. Once I became pregnant with Aspen, I KNEW I had to do the research. Sure enough, studies show that breastfed babies are less likely to become overweight because they obtain higher levels of the beneficial gut bacteria which can lead to storing less fat. One study I found during research discussed the hormone leptin and its effects on a breastfed infant. Basically, there is more leptin in a breastfed baby, and leptin is the hormone responsible for appetite regulation—-> Meaning breastfed babies won´t over eat. Check out the study in more details here.
- Preventing Childhood Cancer: According to Pubmed, ¨Breastfeeding for 6 months or longer is linked with a 15–20% reduction in the risk of childhood leukemia¨ which was more than enough to get me to breastfeed each baby for a year minimum. If you would like to read more on this topic follow this link or this link to full articles discussing the topic with many sources attached.
- Increased Intelligence. Studies show that breastfed babies are likely going to have an increase in brain development resulting in higher intelligence. A study posted here claims breastfed babies are not likely to develop behavior issues or learning disabilities in their future.
- Prevent Diabetes. This one is controversial. Some studies say that nursing your baby can decrease their risk for developing diabetes, while others claim that there is no research to support the connection. Diabetes runs very high risk in my family, so I put this one on my list because I chose to breastfeed my babies to give them the benefit regardless. Since I wasn´t sure which study to believe, I just went with my mom gut and figured breast milk is so beneficial in all the other ways listed, it will only give the babies a fighting chance to void off diabetes too.
- Meeting the Emotional and Physical Needs. Infants NEED the skin to skin interaction with their parents. When a baby breastfeeds, they are receiving the emotional and physical affection they crave. Whether its talking to them while they nurse and just letting them know how loved they are or how they exceed your dream expectation for a baby, or the physical touch of patting their back or playing with their toes or giving sweet kisses in their hair.. Babies NEED this interaction. I think mamas need it too- I 100% needed it, especially when I would think of how one day they´re going to be too cool to cuddle and kiss their mom, so I might as well just love on them while I can.
There ya have it folks! My main reasons for why I chose to breastfeed my babies. Infants are so susceptible to every little thing, so when it comes down to it, I felt like I needed to do this for them. To each their own, but the benefits far outweigh the sacrifice for my family. I needed to breastfeed just as much as my babies needed to nurse, so we all enjoyed the 26 months and counting. Since I can never get this one-on-one time back with my babies, I chose soak in all the sweet time I was able to spend bonding with them. If you want to know about all the benefits for breastfeeding mamas.. check this out!