Saturday 20 June marks the start of National Breastfeeding Week , a week-long campaign by Unicef which aims to create awareness of the health benefits of breastfeeding, increase public acceptance and promote support for breastfeeding mother's across the UK. Now more than ever breastfeeding is being thrust into the public limelight. What was once seen as a private act of motherhood to be done at home, is now populating our Instagram feeds, has a huge presence on Pinterest and even has its own hashtag - #Brelfie (a.k.a breastfeeding selfie...) Celebrities such as Kourtney Kardashian, Gisele and Tamara Ecclestone are empowering mothers to feel comfortable breastfeeding their babies in public and I applaud them as there's so many benefits for both Mum and baby when it comes to breastfeeding. We know not everyone can breastfeed and others choose not to, but for those that do, there are benefits for both you and your child.
How breastfeeding is good for you and your baby:
- The psychological bonding process between Mum and baby is hugely rewarding. Breastfeeding is such an intimate moment and once you've mastered the skill it's a time in the day where you can just relax and feel close with your new bundle of joy without distractions! This bond is just as important for Mum as it is for baby.
- Breastfeeding is a very good way of encouraging Mums to eat healthily themselves as they know that their baby needs nourishment and as many good nutrients as they can get!
- Breastfeeding increases the immunity of your baby which will help later on in their life with fighting and preventing any allergies and illnesses.
- If you follow the latest stats and research, there's a recent study which suggests children who are breast-fed for longer go on to have a higher IQ and become more successful adults... (Believe this if you wish...!)
- Mothers often experience unnecessary guilt if they haven't conceived naturally or given birth without drugs/surgical intervention so breastfeeding is a way of putting them back in control and gaining confidence in their ability again.
- No chemicals are added to breast milk, it's all natural substances created by your body - which to a new Mum can be very important.
- It's not just the chemicals in the milk, overall it's better for the environment as there are less plastic bottles and teats being used and produced. Less electricity is used for sterilisation and for warming bottles. Less energy is needed to produce the formula and there isn't any manufacturing like there is with substitute. Overall there is less wastage -and it's free!!
Breastfeeding doesn't come naturally for everyone but there are a few key things to get you started:
- Latching is the key to success - once you've got a good latch you'll find breastfeeding much more comfortable. Without a good latch your baby may get distracted and you may feel that your breasts are still full at the end which can be painful.
- Be persistent as the first few weeks of breastfeeding can be really tough on a new Mum. Don't be afraid to ask for help around the house from family members as breastfeeding tends to dominate your day-to-day to do list, especially in the early stages when you're still learning.
- Once you've got the hang of it you'll find that feeding time is actually an excellent moment to take some time for yourself and catch up on some e-mails, read a book or even file your nails!