The idea of breastfeeding may make you feel uncomfortable, but understanding the purpose and benefits can surely put your mind at ease. Breastfeeding is not for everyone. Some women are unable to breastfeed due to either personal or health reasons. The initial thought of breastfeeding, especially for first-time mothers may be daunting. Breastfeeding has many benefits, but it also comes with its challenges. Whether you decide to breastfeed or not, is only up to you and no one else. The best thing you can do is get informed on the matter and make a decision that best suits you.
After nine months of waiting, you finally have your newborn baby. The delivery part is over, and now you have to decide the best method for feeding your child. Every child is different therefore what you did with your first child when it comes to feeding may not be the same as this one. Breastfeeding is a decision only you can make. It is your body. Family and friends may have an opinion, but you have to do what’s best for you. Contrary to popular belief, breastfeeding is not determined by breast size, but more so by milk production.
Breast Feeding Process
Breastfeeding is different for every woman. Some women can produce enough milk not only for themselves but others. Other women have trouble producing any milk at all. As stated, earlier, it has nothing to do with breast size. Milk producing cells called alveoli are found in the breast tissue. The body makes milk based on the demand of the child. If you decide not to breastfeed at all, your milk supply will diminish. If you continue to breastfeed, your body will continue to make milk. This constant feeding is the reason some women can breastfeed for years. As the child demands it, the body will continue to supply it.
As the child latches on and tries to feed, the pituitary gland releases oxytocin and prolactin. Both hormones are crucial for the breastfeeding process. Oxytocin signals the cells around the alveoli to contract. It then makes the milk travel down the duct to the nipple. Prolactin has an entirely different function. Prolactin signals the alveoli to draw nutrients from the blood. It is these nutrients that make breast milk healthy for the child. During breastfeeding, you may feel some tingling. There are times when your breast produce milk even when your child is not nursing. This milk production may be a result of your body responding to your usual nursing time as well as hearing a baby cry, even if the child is not yours.
Breastfeeding may look easy, but it is not. There are a lot of factors that play a role in successful breastfeeding. The first factor is just choosing to want to breastfeed. Some women just do not desire to, and that is fine. Latching is another factor. Some babies can latch on immediately and feed well. Other babies have trouble even latching on to the breast. The babies position is the primary source of latching problems. Other issues include pain. After giving birth, your breast may be tender, and your nipples can be very sore. If your body is not producing milk, you will also have trouble breastfeeding. Some women just do not produce the proper amount of milk to feed successfully.
Certain things can hinder breast milk production. If you have other health problems, it can affect your milk supply. If you are taking certain medications, you may be unable to breastfeed. Since breast milk takes nutrients from your blood, certain medications can be dangerous for the baby. Emotional factors can hinder breast milk production. If you are embarrassed by breastfeeding, it can hinder your milk supply. Anger and resentment are also emotions that can hinder milk supply. Fatigue may not seem like a factor, but if you are too tired to breastfeed, your milk supply will slowly diminish. A milk supply decrease also happens when your child is not feeding enough or doesn’t desire a lot of milk. If there is not a great demand for milk, the supply will not be made.
Breastfeeding benefits the child and the mother. The breast milk helps builds the child’s immune system. Within those nutrients are antibodies that help fight infection. Breastfed children tend to have a decrease in ear infections. During feeding a bond is made between the mother and child. The child develops a closeness with their mother and vice versa. Breastfed babies tend to do well with their weight.
The benefits for the mother are major. Many women desire to lose the baby weight as soon as possible. Well, breastfeeding helps with that. During breastfeeding, you are burning calories. Along with burning calories, the oxytocin hormone causes your uterus to go back to its normal size quicker as well. There is a decrease in breast and ovarian cancer for mothers who breastfeed. A great benefit is being able to not only save time but money as well. It takes more time to make formula than it does to breastfeed. It also cost more to buy formula and bottles. You will have to get bottles either way, but you may not have to buy as many in the beginning while you are there to breastfeed.
Breastfeeding is a beautiful thing that allows babies to bond with their mothers in a way that nothing else can. Everyone does not have the same success during breastfeeding. A lactation consultant may be necessary to help you learn to feed successfully. If you decide not to breastfeed, it is fine; formula works like breast milk. The downside to formula is that you do not get the same benefits. Breastfeeding has major benefits for mother and child. Whatever your decision is, it is good to be educated on breastfeeding. It is an amazing phenomenon that many women enjoy.
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