Recently on RPI, it was reported that 99.9% of women in Norway exclusively breastfeed their babies. How many women in the United States breastfeed? As of 2018, only a sad 57.6% were reported as breastfeeding their babies at 6 month old (source).
Why is this? Well, there are a number of factors that stop women from breastfeeding early or all together. One is the pressure to return to work…some women find it nearly impossible to continue breastfeeding once they have returned to their jobs. Another reason is that it is a difficult and painful process at first, and many women get discouraged when they try to breastfeed. However, one of the most unfortunate reasons is that society in the United States gives less support to breastfeeding moms, and formula is often the easy way out.
The United States has laws regarding breastfeeding. This includes laws in some states about breastfeeding in public, not attending jury duty and taking breaks at work to pump milk. However, things are getting better, as more and more women are learning the benefits of breastfeeding their babies and ignoring those who have a social distate for public breastfeeding.
It is in this writer’s opinion that breastfeeding is actually easier than bottle feeding. For me, the benefits for my baby outweigh the few weeks of pain and frustration that I endured while starting to breastfeed. Read on for my top five reasons for why new mom’s should try their hardest to breastfeed:
Breastfeed is best
Studies have unanimously proven that breastfeeding your baby is the best nutrition possible, and most doctors advise for you to breastfeed until your child is a year or older. Breast milk not only is tailor made just for you baby, but it is also always ready, always at the right temperature, and very portable. Breastfed babies are less likely to get sick and less likely to get ear infections and allergies. Some people also say that breastfed babies are cuter, smell better and are more alert, though I think that is just speculation…all babies are cute!
Once you get past the first few weeks of learning this new sport called breastfeeding and getting over the initial pain, its a total breeze. No running to the store in the middle of the night for formula. No waking up in the middle of the night to warm up a bottle. Heck, no bottles to clean at all unless you pump. While breastfeeding in public may not be a great option for a shy mom, its also easier than toting along many pre-made bottles or having to mix one while they scream!
As of this publication, the average cost for a can of powdered formula is $15-$35…and that will only last you a few days. Breastmilk is 100% free, and all you need to buy are a few good nursing bras, a breast pump (only if you want to pump) and a few bottles. Other accessories like a breastfeeding pillow and nursing clothes are also good, but not necessary.
Better for mom too
Breastfeeding, by its very nature, forces you to sit down and relax and spend a few quality moments with your baby. This writer loves the closeness that I feel with my baby every time he sits down to eat, and the great feeling of knowing that his only food is coming from me. Breastfeeding also helps you to burn an additional 500 calories a day without doing anything, and will help to shrink your post-baby tummy.
We already mentioned less bottles to clean, but believe it or not, breastfeed babies have better smelling poop. Yeah, gross as that sounds, its true! Breastfed babies are also less likely to spit up because they get less air trapped in their belly’s. Also, breastfed babies stop eating when they are no longer hungry, so you don’t have to worry about over feeding them.
While breastfeeding is not the best, or most glamorous, option for every mom, it is the best for your baby. If you are a new or expecting mom, I encourage you to at least give breastfeeding a try. Any doctor will tell you that even a little bit of breastfeeding will help your baby to be healthier. Good luck!