Over thirty years ago, at 29 yrs.,10 months of age, I gave birth to my first child, after a normal pregnancy, much of which was spent digging into the latest research into prenatal care, and in gathering the advice of family, friends, my doctor, and even well-meaning strangers in checkout lines!
I took great care of myself, eating four (yes, four) balanced meals a day, exercised daily by walking and swimming, and even reduced my smoking down to five cigarettes a day, because I had read that that low level did not cause pre-cancerous cells to advance toward the more advanced and deadly stages*. (However, I cannot recommend any smoking during pregnancy, for my daughter was a somewhat low-birthweight full-term baby of 6 lbs., 0 oz. ).
Of all the information I gathered, one of the most significant things I discovered was a book on breastfeeding. But, apparently, it wasn’t in vogue in the late 70’s and early 80’s, because no one, including my mother, had even mentioned that option to me, assuming I would opt for baby formula. When I asked her, my mother said she had only breastfed for a week or so, with each of her first five children, opting for formula for numbers seven and eight.
(Note: Studies show that even such a short length of time provides enormous benefits to your infant, by supplying colostrum, which aids in digestion and gives vital boosts to the immunity and other bodily systems of your infant.)
If you choose this option, however, I strongly advise that you not switch to a soy-based formula, if you must switch from breastfeeding. These have been shown to significantly raise hormone levels with often devastating effects.
Mothers also may benefit from the natural progression of changes in hormonal levels, experienced during the transition from colostrum to the production of milk, which may possibly reduce the instance or severity of post-partum depression.
In addition, studies have shown that breastfeeding for a minimum of 10 months can significantly reduce the mother’s risk of cardiovascular illnesses, various uterine & breast cancers, and sometimes has even reduced the need for as much insulin by diabetic mothers.
In contrast, the skyrocketing profits of baby formula companies has been accompanied by ever-increasing numbers of children developing AD/HD, ADD, and other psychological disorders, increases in respiratory and skin problems, childhood cancers and growing levels of childhood obesity and diabetes. These, and perhaps many other illnesses, I believe, are simply the body’s reaction to the synthetic and over-processed ingredients found in many of the foods today, including baby formula. Our bodies simply cannot metabolize these invaders, and thus, begin to break down. It just makes sense!
Well, I had experienced the beginnings of a weight problem in my twenties, splitting out my size 12 pants on a regular basis! So, back then I began what turned out to be a forty-plus year study of nutrition and natural supplements, in an effort to develop proper cooking and eating habits.
I had read a book called The Enzyme-Catalyst Diet, by Carlson Wade. (Today, it’s available as The New Enzyme-Catalyst Diet: Amazing Way to Quick, Permanent Weight Loss, also by Carlson Wade.) In this book, I learned that raw and frozen foods contain active nutrients and enzymes that your body can recognize and readily use (metabolize), to aid in both weight loss and in building up your vital bodily systems. So, I had basically stopped buying canned and bottled foods and juices long ago, and opted for fresh or frozen. A good rule of thumb is: wash your fruits & vegetables thoroughly, but cook them lightly, slowly, or not at all!
So, when it came time to consider how I would nourish my precious, newly-arrived baby daughter, I of course, made a firm decision to give her only the best and the healthiest nutrition available to me. Even though conveniently supplied by the hospital, I could not bring myself to even consider giving her the chemicals and artificial ingredients found in those shiny, attractive cans.
And when I got home, I was so glad I had read the book on breastfeeding, because I knew just what to expect, and just what to do. Here are a couple of basics:
1. At first, it’s not only how long your baby nurses that increases the quantity of your milk production, but how often you feed your little one as well. I think I may have started with every 2 hrs. (It’s ok to wake your baby to feed and change him or her!)
2. Let your infant nurse from each breast at each feeding.
3. Drinking water or juice while you nurse helps your body “let down” your milk. You have to stay well-hydrated! And, an occasional (once a day) feeding of water for your baby helps to prevent or alleviate jaundice, a condition which shows up as a noticeable yellowing of the skin or eyes. This common condition, can be of several varieties, some rare cases with potentially serious consequences. So, every baby should be examined by a pediatrician for jaundice within a few days of birth.
4. Purchase breast comfort pads! (They do provide comfort!)
5. You’ll probably want to invest in (or receive at your baby shower) a good breast pump. I was able to go back to work after the birth of my child, leaving the refrigerated milk with the babysitter. (Milk also freezes well.)
I wish you the best of success! (And take good care of yourself, too. Eat well, and nap when your infant naps—but not in the same bed!)
For a related blog by a current breastfeeding mom:
For additional information:
Legal Disclaimer: I am not a medical practitioner of any kind. Always consult your doctor for specific medical advice. And don’t be afraid to do some research on your own!