It’s Natural: The Benefits of Breastfeeding
Being a mom is stressful so you need all the help you can get. That’s why local moms and Live Well Omaha Kids created a campaign to help soon-to-be and new moms know about the benefits and power of breastfeeding. No; it’s not just for Earth mothers or stay-at-home moms. Many more mothers are choosing to plan for breastfeeding and as a result, their babies will benefit for a lifetime.
Yes! The campaign is centered on a conversation about the surprising facts about breastfeeding and skin-to-skin. You would be shocked about what can happen as a result of this American Academy of Pediatrics recommendation.
Did you know?
- The average mom burns between 500 – 700 calories per day by breastfeeding.
- Breastfeeding reduces the rates of childhood asthma, SIDS, leukemia, diabetes, etc.
- Breastfeeding also stimulates healthy brain growth and bonding between mom and baby.
Here’s the story of one Omaha area Mom who is proud of her journey and offers support to others. Michelle is the mother of an of an almost 4-year-old son, Jayden, and a 15 month-old daughter, Mila.
Michelle Hurt: I knew from the first time I started preparing my baby registry I would breastfeed. I remember registering for the Medala pump without even questioning what my experience would be like. It was just a thought that came naturally to me.
I know everyone has a different story to tell and I am excited to have the opportunity to share mine. I often think of the topic of breastfeeding to be controversial, but when I sit to reflect on my views I find myself coming back to the thought of “do what works for you” – it is as simple as that.
Educating myself and knowing the choices I make affect my family has given me the words to share with you today. I am a firm believer in letting our bodies function the way they were meant to. Breastfeeding has provided me with many benefits. So I felt I owe it to my decision to stick with breastfeeding even when I wanted to give up.
Every child is different. My first born, Jayden, was just shy of his first birthday when he weaned himself. And it was just as simple as that. One day he just didn’t use the hand sign for “more”. He had been formula supplementing for a few months since I was working full time. He had eight teeth and was eating just about everything. I was transitioning him to carrot juice and almond milk as well. I just think he had enough. He was never a soothing nurser, he fed until he was full and that was that.
At almost four, Jayden has never been on an antibiotic, had an ear-infection or been given any over-the-co-ear infection. Mila is the so far the same; two extremely healthy children. I am extending breastfeeding with her and can tell if I choose to wean her it will be a very difficult transition. Nursing for her is her security and safe place. She is also one who will nurse a just to soothe herself.
For Mila, it is our time alone and her chance to relax and unwind. She constantly is trying to keep up with her brother and is very active. For me, continuing nursing her at this age is my chance to slow and calm her down. With Mila I have only bought two cans of formula and, threw out the last one because it was past the expiration date. This has been a huge money saver for us.
I also find myself getting an extra hour of bedtime in the morning. When Mila wakes up, she feeds right away. This results in laying in bed and her occasionally falling back to sleep or just cuddling for some time.
I came across this paragraph and feel this truly summarizes where I am currently at with my daughter:
“Here’s what I get to enjoy now: a sweet, loving ritual minus all the pain and anxiety. Breastfeeding my toddler is so easy and fulfilling. I can see tangible results of all the hours and days and months we have logged as a breastfeeding duo in my child’s sense of security in the world…in the mutual trust and respect we’ve created. What’s more, I am now loving and nurturing a (more) mature, responsive being. In so many ways, I can feel my child thanking me and loving me back while she nurses. We have our own language of call-and-response hums and eye blinks (really) that we use while we nurse. We hold hands, we play with each other’s hair, we smile and laugh. Our relationship is magical and unique. And you see, that’s just it. It’s those benefits that you can’t find in a book or on someone else’s list that make extended breastfeeding worth the effort.”
Arli Boustead is a Healthier Communities Coordinator for CHI Health. In her role, she works with hospitals across the CHI Health system to identify and address community health needs, which strives to deliver on our mission to “build healthier communities.” Arli loves the outdoors, running, spending time with family and friends at the lake, and traveling.