1. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends it at least until the first year
2. Breast milk is the perfect food for your baby, at all stages of development in the first year and beyond
3. Breastfeeding lowers your risk of Breast Cancer
4. Once you get the hang of it, breastfeeding is easy!
5. No bottles to carry around or clean!
6. No formula to buy
7. Builds your baby's immune system
8. Lowers the risk of your baby getting asthma
9. It tastes better than formula and helps baby get used to different flavors by tasting some of the food you eat.
10. It builds a stronger bond between mom and baby. Now before you jump on me for that statement, let me explain.
I have said before that I had to feed my oldest, Kayden, formula. If you had asked me then if I was bonded with my firstborn I would have said ABSO-FREAKING-LUTLY! To say Kayden was the center of our universe is an understatement and I felt very connected to him. I still do. He is my sidekick and the one person on this earth that I interact with all.day.long, and I love it! I can't wait for him to wake up in the morning and greet me with his usual 'Buenos Dias Mommy'!
BUT somehow the connection I feel towards Liam is different. Part of that is because at this moment in his life, Liam needs me more than Kayden does. He needs more protecting(from his brother mostly) and assistance than Kayden. As much as I love Kayden's morning greeting, there is something about walking into Liam's room in the morning and seeing his happiness at the first glance of my bed head and smeared makeup that makes me feel a strong pull to him. His morning smile is the biggest as he kicks his feet and flails his arms in excitement. My mom used to tell me how I would sigh LOUDLY while nursing. Liam giggles. It is obvious that the act of nursing makes him happy. Kayden never giggled at the sight of a bottle coming toward him.
Another part of my connection to Liam and breastfeeding is I had to work very hard to make it work. I pumped for a month and a half, at every feeding. I used a nipple shield for another month, at every single feeding. We had countless appointments with lactation consultants and occupational therapists. Then, on the week of my 30th birthday, he finally latched. It was the same week Kayden finally became potty trained. Those were the best birthday presents ever and my life was all of the sudden so much easier! I have never had that strong of a sense of accomplishment.
So when I developed a strange rash, from head to toe I quickly made an appointment with my dermatologist to see what was up. I was pretty sure I had a case of strep induced psoriasis. I had come down with strep throat not once, but twice in the last month and the same thing had happened to my sister months before. Before the doctor came in the nurse told me that in order to get rid of the rash I would have to stop breastfeeding. I had a few short minutes to think it over before the doctor came into the room. She too is a young mom and understood my need to continue breastfeeding. She told me that she could give me a weaker prescription to take the edge off until I was ready to stop breastfeeding. She even called my midwife to make sure the dose she was giving me was okay. At first the cream did it's job and cleared up the areas most visible to people other than my husband. I guess though that my body has gotten used to this level of steroids and now the patches of dry, itchy, irritated skin are back worse than ever. My scalp is on fire and my torso is covered. My legs looks like I have a bad case of chicken pox and if I shave my legs I have to spend fifteen minutes cleaning up the blood from all of the nicks.
The blessing from this is I get to prepare for the end of breastfeeding. I am pumping every night before bed and soon I will be working organic formula into Liam's feeding schedule and pumping to build my freezer supply up even more. I plan to officially stop breastfeeding by June but have enough breast milk to do 50/50 feedings until Liam's first birthday. I wont have to stop cold turkey and deal with painful engorgement, I can slowly wean myself and Liam.
While I feel like I've been robbed of something I have worked very hard for, I am so happy I have been able to make breastfeeding work for us. I know Liam has benefited from it. I have benefited from it. And while I know one day he might get creeped out by the fact that he apparently enjoyed breastfeeding, I will always treasure the memory.