Yes, yes, I know – this title probably seems a bit strange on my blog, as I'm not even married yet. However I very much hope to become a mother someday, and therefore I'm fascinated by what we're currently learning in Infant Nutrition course.
Our teacher, who has a lot of experience in the field, is very much pro-breastfeeding. He keeps stressing to us over and over again the health benefits of breastfeeding for both baby and mother. Mother's milk is the best, natural, balanced nutrition for a baby; breastfeeding has great benefits for the baby's immune system and helps create a strong and special bond between the mother and her child. If there are no specific reasons not to breastfeed (for example, if the mother takes certain medications), breastfeeding should always be the preferred option.
Did you know that…
… Formula babies grow faster than breastfed babies? This is often a source of concern for breastfeeding mothers, but in fact this is because when giving formula, it is more difficult to monitor how much the baby actually needs, and signals of satiety don't appear as strongly as when breastfeeding. In other words, breastfed babies get exactly what they need while formula babies are often overfed! Eventually the size difference between the two groups disappears.
… Babies might be allergic to formula? That's because most of the brands contain cow milk protein. If this is the case, they are often transferred to soy based formulas, and we know those contain phytoestrogens!
… The recommendations about how long the baby should be breastfed vary, but currently no source states a period shorter than 6 months? According to American Association of Pediatrics, the recommendations are to breastfeed exclusively until 6 months, and then, while introducing other foods, continue breastfeeding until 1 year.
… There's no need to introduce solid foods too early? Even when the baby is growing well and seems interested in eating solid foods, waiting is safer than rushing. Mother's milk is designed to supply all of the baby's needs, and we don't want to cause food allergies while the baby's immune system isn't fully mature. This is especially true for cereals, which may trigger an outburst of children's celiac; this may cause a delay in growth and development. In addition, the baby's digestive system isn't mature enough either, and there may well be not enough amylase for successful digestion of complex carbohydrates. Because of that, now it's suggested that the first solid foods should be fruits and veggies rather than cereals. However, many doctors aren't aware of the dangers in starting solid foods too early.
… When introducing a new sort of food, it's better to give one thing at a time and wait for a couple of days? This will help you notice which food is a source of allergy.
Of course, those of you who are already mothers probably know most of this stuff; I'm so happy I have the opportunity to learn! Now more than ever I'm convinced I'm going to breastfeed if God blesses me with children.