Mommy’s Corner is a weekly series exploring our journey in becoming parents, our love for our ShuGar baby, and general topics related to mommyhood.
You ready? Let’s do this. Mr. ShuGar and I took a breastfeeding class last week and we both learned A TONS! You wonder how much we could actually learn about breasts in three hours? Well, apparently, a whole lot. I’ll share with you what we learned in our class below. Before I do so, I’d like to preface that I understand breastfeeding is a “controversial” topic for some, although I’m not really sure why. Additionally, I am aware that not every mother wants to or can breastfeed. This is a no judgment zone, so for purposes of this post, I will continue with sharing my discovery of the value of breastfeeding.
I’d like to begin by quoting my sweet bloggy friend, Kaitlin, from Hand Made Freedom. She tweeted me that “boobies are magic” and after taking this breastfeeding class, I concur. Up until this point, I never really saw my breasts as a functional part of my body. They are there just hanging out (not literally, not yet at least!) and I don’t think much of them. Now, I have seen a whole other function of my boobies and I am simply in awe of what they can do. Not only do they produce milk for my baby, but they provide so many benefits beyond the breastfeeding years.
The class began with a room full of expectant parents. There were boppy pillows throughout the room and a large mannequin with a breastfeeding cover (to be revealed later). Our teacher had us introduce ourselves, announce our expected due date, and list one benefit of breastfeeding. She started in the back so Mr. ShuGar and I were going to be last since we sat in the front! Darn! I thought there was a benefit to sitting in the front? I immediately started to sweat because I knew by the time they would get to us, all the good ideas would have already been said. I spent most of that time brainstorming what to say in front of everyone. And, then, it hit me! Two benefits of breastfeeding are:
- You can embrace your womanhood and do what your female body was built to do. It’s a quintessential female experience and I am honored to do it. It’s as if we are expressing this when we breastfeed, “I am woman. Hear me roar and watch me feed my baby.”
- I have read that if you don’t “express” your milk after you have a baby, your boobies get engorged. Super ouch!
Mr. ShuGar then followed up with his own take on the pros of breastfeeding. I quote, “It’s tax-free and made in America.” Oh, I forgot to tell you. My hubs has a wry sense of humor.
So, what’s the big deal with breastfeeding? I learned…
- Breastfeeding can deter children from developing allergies in their later years.
- Babies will naturally gravitate to your boob. We saw video! You just have to guide them a bit.
- Women who adopt can breast feed! That blew me away because I assumed you had to carry a child in order to produce milk.
- Just because breastfeeding is a natural part of the female body, it does not mean it is easy. Don’t beat yourself up if your baby doesn’t immediately latch on. It happens to many, many moms. There’s just shame associated with not being able to do your “mommy duty.”
- Another word for lactation consultants is lifesavers. They can walk you through any struggles you have in the breastfeeding process. Usually, it’s because you may be holding the baby wrong or the baby needs to be taught how to latch on properly. I found out that my insurance covers a lactation consultant so I would take the time to inquire on your end.
- It saves lots of money! Formula can be uber-expensive.
- The areola actually gets darker and bigger during pregnancy because it serves as a visual target to babies. How cool is that?
- In many other countries, breastfeeding in public is not a big deal. Women bust out with their boobs and no one thinks twice. I experienced this myself in Europe. In America, it’s a different conservative story.
- The composition of breast milk helps make your baby’s immunity super powerful. It has all sorts of essential nutrients the baby can’t get from formula.
- 87% of breast milk is water.
- Mommies should try to breastfeed soon after the baby is born. This gives the baby skin-to-skin contact, which helps support baby’s development in these first precious hours, not to mention it begins to solidify the relationship between mommy and baby.
- In the first few days, you don’t actually feed the baby milk. Instead, your breasts contain what’s known as colostrum, which is a substance that provides incredible protection for newborns as it has loads of antibodies and acts as laxative, helping the baby produce his first bowel movement.
- Breastfeeding with milk generally starts three days after the baby is born. In the first few days of the baby’s birth, they will only consume 1-1.5 oz of colostrum.
- If you do not breast feed or pump in the beginning stages, your body will produce less milk. The more you actually feed your baby, whether it be pump or boobie, the greater likelihood that your body will create more milk over a longer period of time. Inversely, if you give up on breastfeeding early, the greater the guarantee is that you will no longer have any milk to produce.
- On average, babies will be eating (you feeding) every three hours in the beginning of their lives.
- You CAN drink alcohol while breastfeeding. All you need to do is breastfeed your baby, drink a glass of your favorite alcoholic drink and then within 3-4 hours the alcohol leaves your body. You can then resume breastfeeding. (Confession: I got excited with this one – I can’t wait to drink some wine!)
- Drinking coffee is not recommended as it stays way much longer in your system. Shucks!
- If you plan on going back to work eventually, our teacher recommended we begin pumping at 2 1/2 weeks after delivery, then every morning after you feed baby. This will allow baby to get used to the bottle during week three and also give daddy some daddy and baby bonding time. This fresh milk can be frozen for up to five months!
- They recommended feeding the baby room temp milk or cold milk. They said the less heat, the better.
- Added bonus: Breastfeeding has been proven to help mommies lose weight over a few months time. Breastfeeding is not a miracle that causes you to drop the weight immediately, however, it does support long term weight loss. Yay! Note to self – Ignore all these celebrities who go back to their normal pre-baby bodies in a flash. Not reality!
- If you have to go back to work like me, they, along with several friends, recommend getting a high-quality, electric pump, along with this nifty breastfeeding bra. I know it looks crazy, but it’s better than holding the pumps in your hands for anywhere from fifteen to twenty-five minutes several times a day.
- Lastly, thanks to the new healthcare law, I actually received a great breast pump + hands free bra in the mail recently. Isn’t that amazing? These products can cost a couple of hundred dollars, so I am grateful for receiving the pump above entirely for free. Call your insurance to see if you qualify, but I believe every woman does.
- Oh, and sign up for a breastfeeding support group if you are looking for help, support, and/or new friends.
Thank you, friends, for reading all about boobies! I hope you were able to get some gems of info in any part I wrote about. I think it’s important to share any benefits we know about raising babies. Any little bit of support goes a very long way!
Did you breast feed your baby? How was it? Did you find it easy peasy or super hard to feed? If you are not a mommy, do you know if you were breast fed?
Photo credit: I Heart Boobs Logo, aditional photos Carmen Garcia-Shushtari