A few years ago, The Canadian Paediatric Society reviewed its position on the length of time healthy babies born at term should be breastfed. Until then, the CPS, like Health Canada, advised mothers to exclusively breastfeed their baby for “4 to 6 months”. These organisations now advise to breastfeed for a solid 6 months.
The benefits of breastfeeding keep accumulating and show that the longer a child is breastfed, the more he is protected from infections. Breast milk contains antibodies that prevent and fight diseases.
The Canadian Paediatric Society makes this recommendation because according to Statistics Canada, 85% of mothers breastfeed their newborn, but only 19% of them exclusively breastfeed until the child is six months old.
If you are still hesitating and are looking for arguments in favour of breastfeeding, here are a few:
1. Complete food
Formulas may satisfy the baby’s hunger, but they fail in comparison to breast milk. An easy way to check for yourself? Stools from a child who is being breastfed and one taking formula are different (in texture, colour and/or quantity) . The first child’s stools will be less abundant than the second because almost all of the mother’s milk is used by the baby’s body, so much so that there is almost nothing left to eliminate. With commercial formulas, its chemical composition is mostly rejected by the digestive system and ends up in the stools.
2. Healthy choice
Breast milk is known worldwide for its immune system benefits. It contains antibodies that strengthen the baby’s immune system, which is very weak at birth. This doesn’t mean that the child will never be sick, but he will probably be sick less often and not as long as a baby who hasn’t been breastfed.
3. Always ready
Breast milk is always fresh and at the right temperature. It has an ideal consistency, isn’t too thick or too runny and has the perfect amount of essential nutrients for the baby’s development. Whether you’re on the run or at home, you don’t have to look very far to feed your baby, which can be a good thing during night feedings.
4. Automatic process
You don’t have to do anything to produce milk. Right after delivery, the body starts making milk right from the first suckle. The more the frequent the feedings, the more the body makes milk. You’ll never run out!
5. Emotional connection
It’s also a known fact that mothers who breastfeed develop a very tight bond with their baby. It doesn’t mean that a mother who doesn’t breastfeed loves her child any less, but the skin on skin contact, the reaction of the mother’s body to every suckle and the fact that the mother and the child are in repetitive contact makes for a calm, emotional connection with a special bond.
6. Cheap food
You don’t breastfeed your child to save a few bucks. However, not buying formula is a considerable money saver!
7. Easier weight loss
Breastfeeding is great to loose weight because it draws from the fat accumulated during pregnancy. When breastfeeding, you have to consume an extra 500 calories a day because your body burns 940 calories for every litre of milk created. Your weight loss of about a kilo per month will be slow and constant.
8. Healthcare savings
Because breastfed babies have less ear infections, colics, respiratory and intestinal problems (since they have a stronger immune system), the health care savings are real. As a matter of fact, if 60 % of all babies were breastfed during their first 3 months of life, we could save up to 5 million dollars. Imagine the effect on our healthcare system if they were all breastfed for 6 months...
9. Worldwide impact
Specialists have concluded that the 8% augmentation of mothers who exclusively breastfeed their babies until they are 6 months old has led to a reduction in infant mortality by a million, reduced by 600,000 cases the number of fertility problems and allowed countries save billions of dollars on unnecessary maternal milk.
To be completely honest, we have to admit that breastfeeding comes with its load of sacrifices. The mother is constantly called upon since breast milk is easily digested (1h30) and the baby will drink a lot more often than one who is taking formula, who is fed on average every two to three hours.
The mother gets less sleep because the father can’t really help with the feedings. The mother can’t drink too much alcohol or coffee. And let’s not forget that breastfed children must take vitamin D supplements everyday until their diet provides the needed quantity.
Every woman is entitled to weigh the pros and cons and make the right decision for herself about how she will feed her baby and how long the adventure will last. If for any reason you can’t do it and feel stressed out, you will pass that stress on to your baby and he probably won’t collaborate. But rest assures that nothing is worth the breast milk you’ll give your child. No pills or formulas will ever come close!
Source: The Canadian Paediatric Society, Health Canada