Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Breastfeeding: Nature's Gift

Hello again!

I apologize for being MIA since having my baby, but life got crazier than I had anticipated adding a third child to the mix.  I plan to post more often, but probably won't promise more than once a month.  Please stay along for the ride, as I hope to add more interesting and helpful ways to live green.

This week, I'd like to talk about breastfeeding.  I know there is a mommy battle out there about formula vs breastfeeding, and that not everyone is able or willing to nurse.  I'd just like to give you a little more insight on why it works for me, and why it's a little greener.

1.  It's free!!  Yes, ladies and gentlemen, there is such a thing as a free lunch, at least for your baby.  As long as you keep hydrated and eat right, you can provide your infant with enough nutrients to thrive without spending a dime.  Compared to formula that can cost quite a bit over the long haul, you can't beat the value!

2.  It's convenient:  No bottles to prepare and heat up, like in the middle of the night when you don't feel like doing anything but sleep.  All you have to do is find a discreet place to nurse.  So easy!  This is especially great when traveling or out of the house running errands.

3.  Bonding:  I know you can bond with a child by bottle feeding, even if you've adopted a child, but there's something about being able to provide your child with your milk that is special.  I melt just about every time I look at my child when he's nursing which just makes all the sleepless nights and poopie diapers worth it.

4.  The Best Weight-loss Method:  Did you know that you can burn 500 calories a day by breastfeeding?  I lost all of my baby weight (except 5 lbs) just by nursing?  My baby just turned 2 months, by the way.  If that's not an incentive to breastfeed, not sure what is.

5.  Less smelly poopie diapers:  Poop is poop and, of course, it'll smell a little, but not nearly as bad as formula fed poop.  This is a big plus in my book.

6.  Less pollution, waste, electricity used:  No method of feeding your child is more eco-friendly than breastfeeding.  Nothing was produced in a factory, there's no packages to produce or throw-out/recycle when you're done, and nothing had to be shipped to the store for you to drive to pick up.  Green all around.

7.  Better for baby's health:  The antibodies in breast milk are beneficial in SO many ways.  Packed with essential nutrients and vitamins, it boosts your baby's immunity to diseases, it can help with pink-eye, runny noses, less ear infections, the list goes on and on.  Check out this site for more ways you can use breast milk.

8.  More me-time:  While I'm nursing, I can catch up on my emails, DVR'd shows, and even Words With Friends.  Of course, it doesn't let me do much else except what's available at my fingertips, but at least I get something from that time.

There are, without a doubt, some DISadvantages to breastfeeding:
1.  Sleepless Nights:  The baby won't sleep through the night as soon as a formula fed baby since breast milk is digested quicker, so on average, the breast fed infant will nurse every 2-3 hours for a few months at least.

2.  Sole Provider:  Unless you're pumping the milk to put into bottles, you'll be the only one able to feed the baby, which means you'll be the one up all night.

3.  Engorgement and Mastitis (and other wonderful infections):  These can be painful and hopefully prevented, but sometimes they rear their ugly heads and are a beast to deal with.  

4.  Less Freedom:  You will be tied to a schedule and tied to your baby during this time that you are nursing, unless you can bottle the milk to let someone else feed.  Even then you can't go too long without pumping the milk out or you will run into #3 and be in major pain.

So, looking at this pros and cons list, if you are pregnant and wondering which is the best eco-friendly option for feeding your baby, consider these advantages and disadvantages in making your decision.

Thanks for reading!

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