At La Leche League meetings, one activity that we like to do is the ABC’s of breastfeeding. It’s a simple activity allowing us to brainstorm 26 benefits of breastfeeding and I’d like to present some to you today and tomorrow. I say some because every time we have a meeting, the benefits for each letter change depending on who is there!
A- antibodies. Babies get their first shot of antibodies directly from mama’s colostrum
B- benefical bacteria. The bacteria in breastmilk help to establish baby’s normal flora in the gut
C- colostrum. This “liquid gold” is what mama produces before her “milk comes in.” Chock full of antibodies and proteins, it really is gold.
D- dental arch development. Breastfeeding helps to form baby’s palate, ensuring proper dental arch development.
E- ear infections lessened. Breastfed babies tend to have fewer ear infections than bottle-fed babies. The theory has to do with the angle at which baby is fed.
F- fertility. Exclusive breastfeeding can lead to the suppression of fertility in the mother, known as Ecological Breastfeeding or Lactational Amenorrhea. (As of this writing, in Aug 2010, my baby is 11 months and my fertility has not yet returned. TMI, I know.)
G- gut lining development. This article from the New York Times says it all!
H- Hormones. Breastfeeding releases a plethora of feel-good hormones that make mama and baby happy!
I- I.Q. Place what belief you want in this, but premature babies who were breastfed for the first 4-5 weeks had an average of 8.3 points higher on IQ tests 7.5 years later. (From The Baby Book by William and Martha Sears.)
J- jaundice. Frequent breastfeeds early after birth help to flush out bilirubin thereby shortening or eliminating physiological jaundice
K- konvenience. OK, I know that it’s a stretch but I am on vacation and having a hard time coming up with a “K.”
L- lose weight. Breastfeeding burns on average an additional 500 calories (more or less depending on your weight.) Burn 3600 calories or so, and you’ve lost 1 pound.
M- many more hours of sleep. Because there are no bottles to prepare or heat, breastfeeding mamas get more nightly sleep than their bottlefeeding counterparts.
Stay tuned for letters N-Z, coming to you tomorrow!
As this is WBW, my posts this week will reflect this. In addition, use my blogroll visit other blogs that celebrate breastfeeding and the joy that comes from it. Make sure you check them out! Also, the 8th Edition of The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding is out. This edition has been revised since 2004 and it. is. awesome. Seriously.