* I've never made it through the whole Jurassic Park movie. I've probably seen most of it, in bits and pieces, but not all the way through.
Feeding babies is a hot topic. The breastfeed-until-they-start-kindergarten camp and the formula-is-the-best-thing-ever camp have been going at it for a long time, and most people fall somewhere in the middle- and are very adamant about their position. Most (all?) of my friends have had varying degrees of success breastfeeding, so I knew it's something I want to try.
I keep saying "try" because I know fewer moms who have breastfed and pumped after going back to work full time, so have fewer examples to point to. I'm being told by some that it isn't worth the hassle, and by others that I'll make it a year, if I'm determined to. And, I'm pretty determined. Why?
- The American Academy of Pediatrics and the World Health Organization recommend it. The AAP, in their statement on breastfeeding, say "Breastfeeding should be continued for at least the first year of life and beyond for as long as mutually desired by mother and child." The WHO states, "Exclusive breastfeeding is recommended up to 6 months of age, with continued breastfeeding along with appropriate complementary foods up to two years of age or beyond." It's not so common to see a nursing 1 or 2 year old, but I'm thankful my friends have made it that far with their babies, so I have good examples to follow.
- It's best for my baby's immediate needs and long-term health. Breastfeeding will lower his chances (PDF) of being overweight. He'll have fewer ear and respiratory infections, and a lower risk of allergies, diabetes, cancer, and SIDS. I'll miss less work, because my baby will be healthier.
- It will make me healthier, too. Breastfeeding will lower my risk of diabetes, breast & ovarian cancer, osteoporosis, and postpartum depression. After birth, immediate nursing will lower my risk of excessive bleeding, and I'll lose baby weight faster. [LLLI article]
- It's less expensive. Even with the cost of bottles, a high-quality breast pump, and milk storage, breastfeeding comes out ahead of formula. There's a good reason those cans of formula are kept behind the counter at some mega-stores- they're pricey! Infant formula is a big business, costing US parents $13 billion a year. As a bonus, the medical costs of a breastfed infant are about $200 less than a formula-fed infant for the first year. So, by breastfeeding, I'll save my own pocketbook, even if I'm not creating jobs for health care.
So, will I make it? I hope so. We're going to do what's best for our family, and I'm going to strive to breastfeed as long as we can. From what I've heard, getting started isn't easy, but once my boy & I get the hang of it, it will be so rewarding- and the bonding time will be extra-important, since we won't be together all day, every day. I'm thankful for all the support I'll have, and for the mom-friends I have that have gone before me. You ladies are awesome!