I realize that breastfeeding is a personal choice, and not all mothers choose to or are able to do so. Regardless of the first nutrients we offer our babies, I firmly believe that we as mothers do so with tremendous love and the desire to provide the best for our babies...
If you are considering breastfeeding or have already embarked on your breastfeeding journey with a new baby, you’re well aware that a primary benefit of nursing is providing your baby with the ultimate gift: the best nutrition available.
Nothing can be better than this.
Also remember that along with feeding your milk to your new and tiny bundle, you are also selflessly giving your baby unlimited access to your body, your sleep, your hydration, your nutrition, your energy…and your time. So, taking care of yourself during the nursing stage of life is crucial. Helping the nursing mother rest and recharge should be a top priority in every breastfeeding household.
Crucial to a successful breastfeeding experience is natural, balanced nutrition, ample rest, and plenty of hydration. If your milk is to be the sole source nutrition for your infant for at least the first six months, your body must be treated like a temple. After all, the better you feel as a breastfeeding mother, the longer you’re more likely to have a successful breastfeeding experience. And, just like in other aspects of mothering, the better care your take of yourself, the more your baby will benefit.
Did you ever consider, though, that in choosing to nurse your baby, you’ve actually chosen a natural path that provides its own self care? Think of breastfeeding as Mother Nature’s gift that provides you with little added rewards for being the sole provider of nutrition for your baby.
After nursing my now 4 year-old daughter for 15 months and currently nursing my 13 month-old son, I’ve experienced many beautiful and powerful benefits of nursing, which have allowed the first year of feeding to fly by because of the ease and joy of what I like to call the “breastfeeding lifestyle.”
Although everyone’s bodies are different, a few things I’ve enjoyed while nursing are:
- Clearer, softer, glowing skin
- Extremely deep sleep and vivid dreams
- Increased metabolism and appetite
- Constant flow of oxytocin, resulting in a state of calm, rested alertness (even when sleep deprived!)
- Priceless bonding with my babies - holding their soft hands and caressing their tiny heads…
- Peace of mind in knowing I’m doing everything I can for my baby’s immune system and nutritional development
- A budget-friendly and easy feeding solution, and
- Precious pockets of quiet, mental relaxation time to sit and think or read, throughout the day and night.
As your babies get older and are on the go, and as your world gets busier, you’ll miss the restful moments of serenity that breastfeeding brings.
So, whether you’re a brand new traveler on the journey of breastfeeding with sore, achy nipples, or you’re a veteran who thinks it may be easier to switch to an alternative feeding source, be patient! Things will get easier – and you will begin to look forward to feeding times as much as your baby does. Remember all the good things that come to you and your family because of your decision to engage in nature’s most primitive feeding ritual.
Let us revel in God’s gift to mothers and babies! Always remember that breastfeeding mothers are beautiful! Lactating mamas are lovely!
And life is good.
This article originally appeared on The Motherhood Center blog, a nurturing resource for Houston mothers.