What I love about breastfeeding – #KBBF2013

It’s the start of National Breastfeeding week, and that means the start of the Keep Britain Breastfeeding Scavenger Hunt! You can find out more about the hunt in general and where to find more posts from participating bloggers on the main hunt website. The idea is that you read blog posts to find out more about breastfeeding, and there you will also find ways to enter individual competitions as well as the main prize draw in which you can win lots of breastfeeding-related and general baby goodies.

For my first post I’m writing on the theme of the ‘benefits’ of breastfeeding, or, as I prefer to think of it, simply what I love about breastfeeding. Breast milk from mum is the normal food that human babies are biologically designed to eat for the first months of their life, so it makes sense to think of this as the norm and instead what might be the ‘disadvantages’ of formula milk which comes from a cow (or soya bean).

For those of you who haven’t followed my breastfeeding journey until now (there are plenty of older posts on the blog in the ‘bump and breastfeeding bits’ if you’d like to read about it), I have actually had to supplement my own milk with formula milk for both my boys as babies, more for my first (Andrew, 28 months) than my second (Joel, 7 months). This is because I have hypoplasia or insufficient glandular tissue (IGT) in my breasts to make enough milk for a baby before they eat solid food. This was diagnosed my a Lactation Consultant, and is not just to do with size but rather shape of breast too. I have still managed to breastfeed though, mainly with the help of an at-breast supplementer (the SNS) – Joel, although he has had a fair amount of formula over the past 7 months, refuses to take a bottle (like many exclusively breastfed babies) and has had all his intake of milk directly at the breast.Β I’ve written about this before in various posts (if you search ‘SNS’ on the blog they will come up).

First time........ Second time

There are many things I love about breastfeeding, all of which have encouraged me to carry on in the face of struggles with IGT and the faff of having to supplement. Before I had Andrew, I only thought of breastfeeding as a way to feed a baby, to get calories into them so that they grow. Of course this is a part of it, but for me the things I love about breastfeeding are the non-nutritive bits!

As I sit here and type, I have a baby snuggled up to me, half asleep, half sucking, all cosy and content. This is a lovely feeling, and I feel as though I have a very close bond with my two boys which has been formed over time whilst feeding them. Even when I was struggling, I couldn’t imagine not having a baby sucking fro me for much of the day (it’s a great excuse to rest on the sofa when you’re shattered!) My toddler still doesn’t think he is too old for Mummy milk, and I love the time that he takes to snuggle up to me before bedtime because we can reconnect after a busy day during which he is very independent. Even though I spent a lot of time feeding his newborn brother in the early months, the fact that he could still have some Mummy milk meant that neither he nor I missed out on some quality time together when there was a new person in the mix. And I’m sure that tandem feeding (not often at exactly the same time) has helped build a bond between the two brothers so far.

One thing I didn’t expect to get through having kids was better quality sleep. For most of my adult life before children, I wasn’t the best sleeper – it only took a small (or big) amount of stress such as worrying about my studies, exams or work and I would have sleepless nights, lying in bed awake for ages and not finding it at all easy to drop off. Of course my boys have had me up in the night many times, but the difference is that when my head does hit the pillow I’m out for the count until I’m next woken up. We know that the hormones released when a mum breastfeeds help her to get off to sleep, and I am convinced that this has been responsible for such a big shift in my sleep.

Well done! You've found another hunt logo - you can enter the competition again at the bottim of this post.
Well done! You’ve found another hunt logo – you can enter the competition again at the bottim of this post.

It is noticeable how little my boys have been ill. They’ve had minor colds like we all do, but they’ve rarely had temperatures – I think we’re only on our second bottle of paracetamol and ibuprofen suspensions in nearly 2 and a half years of having children. We’ve hardly ever needed to go to the doctor with them, and when we did it was more to be cautious with little ones and they didn’t feel there was much they could do. We do mix with lots of other children as we go to lots of groups, and Andrew went to a childminder for 11 months when I went back to work part-time before having Joel. Breast milk has antibodies which I as mum produce that then get passed on to them as they feed. These help their own developing immune systems to fight infections quickly and effectively. No matter what claims formula milks make about what they contain, they cannot contain this living stuff! The way I look at our situation is that I’m providing the immunological help and the formula is providing the extra calories that I cannot physically produce enough of.

There are also some longer term reasons why breastfeeding is good for both me and my boys, which are nice to think of even if they aren’t tangible on a daily basis. The more I breastfeed, the lower my risk of developing breast and cervical cancers. Breastfed babies tend to have higher IQs than formula fed babies, are less likely to develop allergies, and are less likely to become obese. Of course this is a generalisation over a whole population – my husband Tom was bottle fed and has always been a tall beanpole despite having a large appetite, probably because he is very active and as a family we are very active too, which will no doubt influence our boys’ weights.

These are the main reasons why I love breastfeeding. There are others that I can think of, but the fact that I’ve had to supplement with formula means that I haven’t been able to enjoy all of them. For example, breastfeeding is convenient as there is no faff of sterilising and making up milk and getting it to the right temperature – you just latch baby on and away you go, which means it’s easy to go out without having to think about how much milk to take.

I’ll be back with another post on Tuesday, but for now I’ll leave you to read some posts by others and have a go at entering the main competition below.Β Don’t forget you can also still be in with a chance of winning a Breastvest here.

Life with Pink Princesses

In the Playroom

My Thoughts on Things

The Secret Life of Kate

Life, Love and Living with Boys

Pixie Pants Cloth Nappies

a Rafflecopter giveaway

96 thoughts on “What I love about breastfeeding – #KBBF2013”

    1. Definitely Laura, we are doing the best we can for our babies, you can’t ask for more than that!

  1. Favourite Breastfeeding Benefit: I do not have to worry about sterilising, buying formula and we can just get up, pack a few nappies and go. Not to mention the health benefits for both Bubba and me

    1. Yes I wish I had that advantage, but unfortunately I don’t, though now he’s bigger and on solids it’s less of an issue.

  2. i really enjoyed reading this! This Breastfeeding hunt is giving me plenty to read while i feed my daughter πŸ™‚ Love it!

  3. I loved this! I’ve always considered myself lucky in that breast feeding has been quite straightforward for us, we’ve been going strong for 13 months now and my favourite part has to be when my daughter is nursing to sleep on a night and she’s fresh from a bath, she snuggles in close and we drift off to sleep together….Of course there’s the flip side of the coin and as anyone who has nursed a toddler knows….They get very…. “energetic”. Many times I’ve ended up with a toe up my nose or a bottom perched on my chin whilst she’s fancied nursing upside down…I still wouldn’t change it for the world though. I love it!

    1. Ha yes, the positions they get into are amazing! I found it particularly interesting feeding whilst pregnant – my toddler would jump all over bump if he had his way πŸ˜‰

    1. The health benefits are amazing, and I know what it’s like to enjoy feeding (though I know some mums who haven’t enjoyed it unfortunately due to problems)

  4. As you pointed out, I love breastfeeding because it is the normal source of food, drink, and comfort for my human daughter, so I’m not stealing any milk from calves to feed her!

    1. I agree that bfing is normal, though unfortunately I have had to steal some cows milk too, I’m not a normal mum πŸ˜‰ I hope the dairy calves will forgive me!

  5. Too many benefits to mention! Free, easy, best for both, bonding, couldn’t do without breastfeeding!

  6. There are so many – how to pivk just one?!
    I suppose it would have to be the protection breastfeeding gives. We are a highly allergic family. My first son was bottle fed and has asthma, eczema and hay fever. My other 3 have been breast fed and have no allergies. I really believe the bf made all the difference.

    1. That;s interesting. In my husband’s family it seems to be the other way round, but on a national average it’s true that bfing makes a difference in many cases like this.

  7. My favourite breastfeeding benefit is that my breastmilk is protecting and decreasing the risk of illnesses for my little guy.
    This is my 3rd breastfeeding journey, I know each journey was the best decision.

  8. Lovely post. I suffer from a lot of allergies along with asthma and eczema, so I love the fact that by breastfeeding my little girl I can hopefully protect her from suffering the same. Plus who doesn’t enjoy the lovely snuggly cuddles you get πŸ™‚ x

  9. I love the closeness that breastfeeding brings and feel that it’s really helped me to overcome PND.

  10. I think for me the biggest benefit is the money we’ve saved and can spend on other things, we’ve had big period of unemployment and being able to feed the baby and not worry about whether we can afford to has been very reassuring

    1. That is fantastic to be able to think of bfing like that. I really wish we didn’t have to buy formula (or could get it on prescription for my IGT, or donor milk for that matter) as it’s so expensive and the companies who make it are unethical.

  11. My favourite Breastfeeding benefit is that it’s free! Although its all the health benefits that keep me going with my 22 month and 2 month old, I don’t mind admitting that I’m pretty thrifty and love a bargain πŸ™‚

    This is my first time reading your blog and I must say I find your journey, and your passion to Breastfeed absolutely inspiring.

    1. Thanks Clare! I am passionate aboute bfing, I love it πŸ™‚ We have a similar age gap between our tandem nurslings too

  12. Quiet time, cuddles. Daily I revel in how amazing our bodies are. I’m lucky to have suffered few issues and am just embarking on my second bf journey. Can’t wait x

    1. I know, I find the human body, both mum and baby and how it all fits together, absolutely amazing. Just wish mine worked like it should πŸ˜‰

  13. I just love his face and contentment after a feed and knowing that I did that and no one else. It gives me a great sense of pride and achievement πŸ™‚

  14. Hi, like you I have had to supplement with some formula due to health problems (Crohn’s Disease) but I’m still feeding at 11 months and I love that this still means we have an incredible bond, especially when those ‘bumps and falls’ happen! Reading your post has made me feel pleased all over again that I have breastfed, sometimes I forget quite how many benefits there are, thanks for making me feel good on a monday morning!! Nicola

    1. Glad to make you feel better on a Monday – you’ve helped me too, I always like to hear from others who have had problems, to know I’m not alone! Any breastfeeding is breastfeeding, and we’ve had a tough time with our own conditions that make it harder to feed our little ones as we would like to.

  15. Like you, I loved how little my daughter was ill. I co-slept/fed through swine flu when she was a little over a year and she didnt catch it. i was amazed! Same with a few tummy bugs.

    1. Wow that is amazing! I was convinced my toddler would pick something up at the ciildminder’s as she had school kids too, but he didn’t in a whole year that he was there part-time πŸ™‚

  16. I love the fact that Breastfeeding is the one thing in the world that nobody else can do for my baby but me!! It’s so special knowing that only I can provide breast milk for my baby and that it will form a closeness and a bond like no other. I find the whole experience so amazing – it blows my mind sometimes πŸ™‚

    1. Yes I love that too – I think there is quite a push for equality these days, that Dad should be able to have the option to feed baby too. But I’m glad it’s just me, even when things are tiring, because I love it so much, and I would far rather sit on sofa and feed than do the washing up or other boring jobs πŸ˜‰

  17. My favourite benefit, in addition to knowing that I am giving my children the best start of course, is the convenience.. I can feed whenever and wherever I like

  18. I’m totally disorganised so my favourite benefit is that I don’t have to remember it! I don’t have to remember to buy it at the supermarket, I don’t have to remember to pack it when we go out for the day and I don’t have to remember how to serve or prepare it. It’s natures best fast food for babies!
    At 17 months we have thrush for the first time though. It’s a killer but there’s no way I’m stopping yet.

    1. The organisation was one of the hardest things I’ve had with supplementing, so I really appreciate this part of breastfeeding. Ouch thrush doesn’t sound good – we’ve not had it yet, but I’ve heard it can be nasty. Hope it clears up soon πŸ™‚

  19. I love the convenience of breast feeding – its so easy and requires no preparation from me!

  20. Not a ring to worry about how much milk you will need to take out with you, just pack up your boobs and your on your way x

  21. I love the closeness that breastfeeding provides and thankfully, you’ve been able to have that even with the way you’ve supplemented. I always love seeing your SNS photos. Thank you for continuing to share your journey with breastfeeding and hypoplasia. x

  22. There are so many benefits I can’t choose a favourite! I love that I can feed, satisfy, nurture and comfort my baby at the same time.

  23. Hurrah for the better sleep. And for snuggly feeding cuddles. Thank you for sharing your experiences – I’m training as a breastfeeding counsellor and love hearing breastfeeding success stories πŸ™‚

  24. I love the fact the breastfeeding calms down a tired and emotional baby. I always say that the only reason I breastfeed is cos I’m actually useless at the mummy thing of comforting and calming my babies down!

  25. There is a lot to love about breastfeeding, but for me what tops it off is the closeness….just watching those lovely little eyes while they feed. such a beautiful thing! i’m laughing reading some of the responses here!! i cant wait to see what positions my bubba will get herself into while feeding when she gets older!!

    1. Hehe, yeah it starts off all lovely and cute and then descends into toddler mayhem! They can still be cute though, my 2 year old has cute times and crazy times feeding πŸ˜‰

  26. Having at least one hand free and if you have planned it well you may sometimes get both hands free a plus when you have another little one who wants you to do something for them!

    1. That’s a great point! I’ve spend many a day and night feed writing blog posts and entertaining my toddler if he’s up πŸ™‚

  27. It was a real struggle for me to begin with but my son is 2.5 years old and now have a 3 month old too. Both are still feeding and apart from giving birth to them breastfeeding is one of my proudest achievements!

    1. Lovely to hear from another tandem breastfeeding mum. Breastfeeding (followed by giving birth, like you say!) is definitely the hardest but best thing I’ve achieved in my life (hence the title of the first breastfeeding blog post that I ever wrote)

  28. Lovely to read! Somes up the wonderful feeling of closeness got through boobie feeding, I am so pleased to be blessed with oversupply!! πŸ˜‰

    1. Great! I have a friend who ultimately gave up due to the pain of massive oversupply, blocked ducts, mastitis etc. and I always thought it was so unfair that she had this and I have my experience. If we lived closer maybe we could have shared milk!

  29. I love the time with my boy. After a shock pregnancy and being induced at 34 weeks, it felt as though I need the quiet time with my lad to get my head around it!

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