One of the most exciting and challenging times in a woman’s life is when she is expecting a baby. There are so many emotions and decisions to make during that time. One of the most important decisions is whether or not to breastfeed. Breastfeeding can be stressful but is also extremely rewarding.
I find counseling women on the benefits of breastfeeding and working with them through challenges they may encounter during their breastfeeding experience so rewarding. Breastfeeding shares antibodies that can protect baby from infection and can decrease risk for certain diseases such as asthma, SIDS, leukemia, obesity and type 2 diabetes. It also facilitates bonding between mother and baby. Mothers that breastfeed reap benefits as well. Breastfeeding decreases risk the risk of breast and ovarian cancer, aids in weight loss in the post-partum period and can decrease a mother’s risk for developing Type 2 diabetes.
Breastfeeding my daughter was one of my most rewarding and satisfying experiences. I cherished that time I shared with her and loved that my milk provided the nourishment she needed. As a working mother, I did face challenges, like pumping. I really despised pumping. I had to take time between patients to close myself in the storage closet and privately pump my breasts. I also struggled with engorgement on the weekends when I was not pumping as much. However, I worked through these issues.
The first 6 months is the most challenging when you are exclusively breastfeeding, as your world revolves around feeding times. I remember the first time I had enough milk stored that Daddy could take the 2 am feeding. It was life-changing! Finally, being able to sleep for 4 uninterrupted hours made me feel somewhat normal again.
Breastfeeding is a wonderful experience for mothers and babies. It is important to note that some women may not feel comfortable or have health issues that prevent them from breastfeeding. Sometimes babies may not be able to breastfeed, and so supplemental formula is needed. This is ok, of course. I do encourage new mothers to give breastfeeding a try. There are numerous resources available including lactation consultants at many hospitals and birthing centers. Information is also available online at the sites listed below.