Sunday, July 27, 2003

World Breastfeeding Week is Aug. 1-7 2003

I am a huge supporter of Breastfeeding. I believe in giving your child(ren) the best possible start in life. I believe that the bond that forms between child and mother in a breastfeeding relationship is superior and unrivaled by those that mother baby couples that bottlefeed experience. Breastfeeding is about nurturing your children. My best friend Dawn can attest to this, she has had three kids and nursed them all to varying degrees, and found the most satisfaction in her breastfeeding.

My children never had bottles - we used cups for water and then later juice. Breastfeeding was very important to Wesley, whom I nursed until he was three years old (all the way through my pregnancy with Raven and after her birth). For Wes, breastfeeding provided comfort and security. My daughter nursed until she was 2 years old and then gave it up the moment I suggested we wean (I was thinking we both would take 6 months to wean, like Wes and I did). For Raven, breastfeeding was almost always about food and food only. She found her comforts somewhere else. Regardless of how different they both were, I really did enjoy my time and experience nursing my children. It is a time I cherish, a time I will never get back, a time I am happy to have used well.

Apparently, studies show that breastfed babies are healthier than bottlefed babies. Breastfed babies show lower rates of SIDS, meningitis, childhood leukemia, allergies and infections. The mother’s species-specific milk contains all the nutrients and fat that babies need for proper brain development and physical growth. Breast milk is produced to the exact needs of the age and stage of the nursing baby, something you can’t get from formula or cows milk. Human milk is for human babies (Our milk has a higher content of fat in it, which our babies need for their brain development in the first year of life, as opposed to cows milk, which has a high content of sugar because a baby cow needs to be able to get up and run as soon as it is born). Further, a study published in the October 2002 American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (University of Kentucky) shows that breastfed infants tested 5.2 IQ points higher than formula fed infants (11 different studies and over 7000 children).

All in all, breastfeeding is the most natural and healthiest choice for your baby. Every parent wants to give their child the best start in life. Breastfeeding is a great first step and an easy gift to give.

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