We have long known that breast milk is the best food for baby. Nothing can even compare. Breast milk is literally alive, and made specifically for your baby. It has your antibodies and it has specific hormones, proteins and enzymes that are made to support your baby's physiological development.
Not only that, but you have the absolutely perfect amount that baby needs! Your body will regulate to the amount needed based on how often baby eats, and will produce as much or as little as needed.
Now, when pumping because you need to go back to work and other things in life come
up, complexities are added and there can be production challenges that you may need to work through.
I just want you to know that *IT'S WORTH IT!*
Here is an excerpt from The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding by La Leche League that briefly introduces just why it's superior:
Human milk has long set the standard for infant feeding. After all, human breast milk is the only food uniquely designed by nature for the human baby. It contains all the nutrients babies need each day, plus many substances that help keep them healthy and promote optimal growth and development. Through the years, research has confirmed what common sense dictates: a mother's own milk is the best possible food for her infant. Artificial infant feeding products can't even come close to duplicating the rich mix of nutrients and biologically active substances manufactured in mothers' breasts.
Just consider what human milk feeding accomplishes in a newborn baby. The comment "My, how that baby has grown" is music to a nursing mother's ears. Your baby's rate of growth during the early months is far greater than at any other period of life. The human brain is one-third its adult size at birth and reaches the two-thirds mark by age one. Your baby's head grows about four and one-half inches (11.25 centimeters) during his first year to allow for the tremendous growth of his brain. Good muscle development and substantial increase in length are other significant signs of progress, along with baby's weight gain. Getting bigger is serious business for a baby, and mother's milk provides all that babies need to grow, until solids are started sometime in the middle of the first year. Even then, human milk remains baby's nutritional mainstay for most of his first year.
Human milk, custom-made for the human baby's digestive system, is more readily assimilated than artificial formulas. It also protects against disease and helps every system in baby's body develop in the way nature planned.
Your milk is uniquely suited to meet your baby's nutritional needs. No two mothers produce identical milk. Even the milk of an individual mother varies from day to day and during different times of the day - just as other fluids and systems in our bodies fluctuate. The colostrum your baby receives on the first day of his life is different from the colostrum on day two or three. The milk produced by mothers of premature babies is higher in certain nutrients to meet her baby's special needs. Even the taste of the milk changes with the diet of the mother. You could say that your milk is programming your baby's taste buds for the coming fare on the dinner table. One study showed that when mothers consumed garlic capsules, their milk had the odor of garlic, and their babies sucked more vigorously and took in more milk. During one feeding, your milk varies from skim to creamy, permitting your breastfed baby to enjoy a change of tastes that could be compared to a multi-course meal. Human milk will sustain, strengthen, protect, and fill out your baby's precious body, and put a recognizable bloom on his skin. Human milk is the food of choice for human infants; anything else is a distant second.
If you are a breastfeeding mom, or will be soon, make sure to come to Educated Mommy tomorrow evening (Thursday, 10/10/13) at 6:30 p.m. for our Breastfeeding Support Group! We are here to help you in all your breastfeeding needs, answer questions, and basically just be the support that you need to have a very successful breastfeeding relationship with your little one.
Also, if you are one of those mamas that will be heading back to work soon, or have just returned to work and need some support in anything - breast feeding, pumping, or just someone to talk about what you are going through when you are away from your baby for work, make sure to join our support group specifically for "Going Back to Work" this Saturday morning (10/12/13) at 9:00 a.m.
We hope to see you soon!
La Leche League International (1997). The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding, Sixth Revised Edition. New York: Penguin Group.