Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Choosing to breastfeed

Welcome to the March Carnival of Natural Parenting: Natural Parenting Top 10 Lists
This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month our participants have shared Top 10 lists on a wide variety of aspects of attachment parenting and natural living. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.
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My son Peter is only seven months old, so I can’t claim to be an expert on breastfeeding. I have been told that it just keeps getting better as the baby grows, though, so perhaps I have already weathered the worst of it. Either way, I intend to continue breastfeeding as long as my little one is interested. Here are the top ten reasons why:

10. Breastfeeding helps me get back into pre-baby shape. Breast milk has a high fat content, which has to come from somewhere! I like a healthy weight-loss plan that just requires me to cuddle with my baby.

9. Breastfeeding reduces the chances of getting pregnant. I don’t consider pregnancy to be a disease or children to be a burden, but I am thankful that God designed us in such a way that caring for our babies results in natural child spacing. As Catholics, my husband and I believe that Natural Family Planning should only be used to avoid children if there is a grave reason to do so (read more here). Breastfeeding cooperates with God’s plan for our family.

8. Breastfeeding gives me valuable relaxation time. I think this one will be more important with the next baby, when I am constantly on-the-go with one child already. Even now, though, I appreciate time to sit and do nothing, guilt-free.

7. Breastfeeding has important health benefits for me. Studies have shown that moms who breastfeed have a reduced risk for osteoporosis, type II diabetes, ovarian cancer, and some forms of breast cancer. Sign me up!

6. Breastfeeding saves money. By choosing to breastfeed, I am not spending money on formula, bottle warmers, sophisticated breast pumps, or tons of bottles. (In the interest of honesty, I do have a few glass bottles and a manual pump, which have been fantastic when I am letting one side heal from the result of a poor latch.)

5. Breastfeeding is efficient. There is absolutely no preparation time to feeding. As soon as my son gets hungry, food is available! I have many things I would rather be doing than waiting for a bottle to get warm. Also, there is little to no clean-up after the fact.

4. Breastfeeding is convenient. This goes along with number five, but deserves its own entry. I’m not just saving time, I’m saving effort. Whenever, wherever we are, food is available. For short outings, I only need a burp cloth, diaper, and a plastic bag to store the dirty one, all of which easily fit into a mid-size purse. We travel out-of-state fairly regularly (Peter has already driven to TX, MA, and IN), so having fewer things to pack is a definite bonus.

3. Breastfeeding produces immediate calm. Regardless of what caused him to be hurt, scared, angry, or otherwise upset, Peter will always nurse to calm himself. He will go from screaming to suckling immediately, bringing blessed peace for him and me. I treasure this opportunity to help him self-regulate and will definitely miss it as a parenting technique when he decides to wean.

2. Breastfeeding results in healthier babies. Breast milk is healthier than formula, providing the proper balance of nutrients for babies as they mature. Breastfed babies are sick less often and recover more quickly. Suckling at the breast strengthens tongue and jaw muscles and is correlated with a lower incidence of speech impediments in childhood.

1. Breastfeeding has strengthened the bond of love I have for my little one. I love cuddling with him, soothing him, and watching him nurse himself to sleep. I like to know that this is something special he and I share. It helps me to forgive myself for my mistakes and be patient when he is upset. Breastfeeding makes me a better parent.





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Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!


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(This list will be live and updated by afternoon March 8 with all the carnival links.)

17 comments:

  1. What a great post. I love all your reasons. Even with an older nursling (and especially now that I'm pregnant), I appreciate those times to sit still and just nourish my little one and relax. And it's definitely a money-saver and super convenient, which has been a big plus for me. Here's wishing you many more happy nursing months or years!

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  2. I love this post and couldn't agree more, and I love it that I've found another Catholic mom who embraces natural parenting. God bless!

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  3. Good for you mama :) I hope you consider contributing to the "Joys of Breastfeeding Past Infancy" series that I publish! We need more mamas like you normalizing nursing.

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  4. I've often wondered about the Catholic Church's view on Natural Family Planning. It seems that if artificial contraception frowned upon, then NFP, with the intention of avoiding pregnancy, would likely fall under the same scrutiny. I haven't looked into this question, whether because of forgetfulness, laziness, or just because I'm busy, but it's nice to see that I'm not the only one thinking about it.

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  5. Great list - it truly is amazing how many wonderful reasons there are to breastfeed! My first son was a really slow eater and would linger forever on the breast and I would watch movies, surf the net etc. I expected this to happen with my second but he is so quick! I now miss all the resting time I got nursing my first son!

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  6. I love your list, especially #1. Breastfeeding definitely makes me a better parent.

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  7. I love this list - it nails every reason I kept with breastfeeding (honestly, I was a little ambivalent at first like.. "Eh, I'll try it...") We're approaching our 7 month nursiversary, and although it hasn't helped with getting back in shape (yeah, I'm one of those mamas... no matter what, I can't drop the weight right now), but every other point is what keeps us going. And to reiterate what's been said already, it's great to find another Catholic mom with a babe similar in age : )

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  8. I just saw your comment on my blog. The book had so many that I started a shelf for it on Goodreads. Are you on Goodreads? If so, add me as a friend- Megan Bishop (Ambishop19@hotmail.com). If not, I don't mind e-mailing you a list at all. E-mail me if you aren't on Goodreads.

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  9. Liam, the Catholic Church does allow for NFP, because it doesn't involve contraceptive sex, but rather no sex when you could conceive. Still, like you point out, NFP is used to avoid pregnancy, and pregnancy is considered a good (and even a duty), so it's generally considered best to save it for a really good reason.

    I know there are a lot of opinions on this issue, CatholicMommy, but I'm with you. The only way I want to space my kids right now is with breastfeeding, and I'm happy that it's given me a chance to bounce back after my first baby.

    Neat to find another Catholic natural mom with a baby!

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  10. Great list! I totally agree. The calm that nursing creates for both my nurslings and myself is my number one reason for continuing at this point. It's such a great comforting and parenting tool!

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  11. I really enjoyed your list. Breastfeeding is the best, I wish everyone knew all of these reasons. SO much educating to be done in this area, thanks!

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  12. For a fairly brief explanation of artificial contraception vs NFP, see this article: http://www.workingtobeathell.org/viewarticle.asp?id=24
    My article (link in post) was an expansion of this one.

    Thanks for all the positive feedback! I am fairly new to blogdom and am excited to connect with like-minded people.

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  13. Excellent list! I breastfeed for the same reasons. :)

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  14. I like how specific your list is. I love all the benefits that come with breastfeeding, lower breast cancer rates, higher IQ in babies, higher antibiotics given to babies, etc. I'm not sure if I read that you have a boy? I heard on the news that a study has seen improvements (IQ plus ?) with those who were breastfed at least six months, more so than with girls. Just observing my daughter (against her cousins), she bites on toys less, my theory is because she gets that sucking reflux from breastfeeding, and she gets sick A LOT less, but to be fair, we don't get out nearly as much as her cousins do.
    Anyway, not to get into the comparisons, but the decision worked out for us, and I hope to do the same with another baby, in the future. It's so rewarding!!

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  15. I love breastfeeding and I love reading about others promoting and supporting it too :-) Great post!

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  16. @ Kate, aopanda, and Sheila: One of my favorite blogs is showerofroses.blogspot.com -- she has tons of resources there for fun ways to raise kids Catholic.

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