6 Selfish (and Positive) Reasons to Breastfeed
Post originally ran August 29, 2014.
I have been breastfeeding my fourth child for 8 months now; and this past month I developed mastitis, twice. It was brutal and I am still trying to recover from the two weeks on antibiotics, and things left on my to-do list from doing nothing but nursing, sleeping, and resting. I have never had mastitis before, even while nursing my other children, and now having experienced it, I can say it was worse than I anticipated it being.
Breastfeeding is not easy – it takes a while to get the hang of it when your baby is new, you have worries about supply, and then there are things like mastitis, blocked ducts, changing sizes, and leaking. I can admit that in those two weeks when I was lying in bed with what felt like a bowling ball on my chest, sweating out a high fever, and wanting nothing more than my breast to stop throbbing – I debated stopping breastfeeding altogether.
I am lucky that it was my first experience with mastitis and, for the most part, my son and I had already worked out a great system for breastfeeding. I thought long and hard because I had 8 months of breastfeeding experience behind me, on the benefits to me for breastfeeding. I know it's good for baby and health-wise, it has benefits for the mother as well, but I wanted to be selfish. I was, after all, dealing with a raging infection in my breast that was due to breastfeeding and I realized that I do get things out of this relationship as well.
1. I have an “out”
Well, it's not that I don't like to go out, but I am a true introvert and can only deal with crowds for short periods of time. Since I am breastfeeding, and baby needs to eat every few hours, I have an easy “out” for when I want to leave where I am.
2. Built in rest time
Kindergarten students have naptime every day, babies – no matter how they're fed – need naps too, and when you're breastfeeding, you get to rest as well. I lay down on the bed with my son to feed him to sleep for his naps and that means I get to rest too.
3. Enhances my looks
That makes me sound vain, but that's not really what I mean. Breastfeeding tends to melt weight off me, especially after 6 months of exclusive nursing and I can't complain about the full breasts either.
4. I can eat more than usual
I get an appetite like crazy when I am breastfeeding – probably because it takes a lot of calories. I am happy I can eat an extra cookie (okay, an extra three) or have an extra snack and not feel guilty about it or bad at all. Listening to my body on what it needs is what I try to do and when I breastfeed, my body asks for all.the.foods.
5. Diaper changes are easier
When you think of diapers, you probably think of awful smells. While that's totally true if your baby is eating real people food or is on a formula supplement, a breastfed baby's diaper changes are easier because they don't smell nearly as bad. I'm going to guess it's because breast milk is pretty easy to digest, but for me – it's a huge selfish perk.
6. Saving money
My first two children were only breastfed for a very short period and then we relied on formula to give them their nutrition. While I was very happy we had the option, there's no doubt formula for babies is expensive. Breastfeeding means I can save that money I would normally spend on formula – and who doesn't love saving money?
What selfish reasons do you have for breastfeeding or benefits for you that you've experienced?Read More