5 Reasons To Love Your Boobs During Pregnancy
Congratulations on your pregnancy!
Now that you are in the second trimester it may all be starting to feel very “real” as there are so many changes happening both physically and emotionally. There is a lot to learn and many decisions to make, one of which is how you are going to feed your baby.
When it comes to breastfeeding, the saying “breast is best” is the one thing you hear over and over again, and as a slogan, it has its uses. But to be honest, I think it oversimplifies breastfeeding and makes it easy to gloss over what breastfeeding really does for your baby.
So, I want to explain why breast is best, why it is so important for both of you, and why your boobs are getting ready to do something amazing during your pregnancy. I am going to provide you with key information about breastfeeding to help you make an informed decision about whether or not you want to breastfeed your baby.
1. Breast Milk Helps Your Baby Grow and Thrive
Breastfeeding has a big job to do, because even though our babies look seriously cute and perfect on the outside when they are born, on the inside there is still a lot of growing to be done! At birth, a baby’s intestinal system, immune system, and brain are quite immature and underdeveloped with the majority of the maturing process happening during the first 12 months of life. Breastfeeding is key to the success of this maturation process which basically means that a newborn baby’s body is expecting to receive breast milk in order to grow and thrive. During your pregnancy, your body is working hard to get your boobs ready for breastfeeding.
2. Your Breast Milk Is Unique And Made Specifically For Your Baby
Breast milk is actually a highly complex, dynamic and adaptable substance that is made from your blood specifically for your baby; your baby and your body have the amazing ability to communicate with each other which means the components in breast milk change from day to day to make sure that your baby is receiving exactly the perfect nutrients, vitamins and minerals that your baby needs at that specific age and stage of growth.
3. Your Breast Milk Protects Your Baby
The breast milk that your amazing boobs and body create will make specific antibodies to protect your baby from all the various bacteria and viruses that he or she will be exposed to, in essence, breast milk acts as an immune system until the baby’s immune system is up and running.
4. Your Breast Milk Helps Your Baby’s Brain Develop
Breast milk also has growth hormones and other nutrients that facilitate intestinal and brain maturation. It is the combination of this dynamic adaptability and the perfect nutrients that make breastfeeding invaluable to your baby’s lifelong health. It is important to note that artificial baby milks (formula) doesn’t have either of these characteristics and so when we look at the outcomes of breastfeeding research we can understand why babies are healthier when breastfed.
5. Your Breast Milk Protects Your Baby’s Future Health
If all of the above isn’t amazing enough, the milk that your body creates will also help to decrease your baby’s risk of all of the following:
- upper and lower chest infections
- Crohn’s disease
- ulcerative colitis
- childhood obesity
- high blood pressure in later life
- ear infections
- common childhood infections
- rheumatoid arthritis
- tooth decay
- childhood leukaemia
- Hodgkin’s disease
As you can see, the research findings are profound, going far beyond the simple “breast is best” slogan. With this deeper knowledge, you can now make a truly informed choice as to how you are going to feed your baby. It is exciting and empowering to realise that you can provide all of these benefits to your baby, and although you might feel a bit overwhelmed at the thought of breastfeeding, I want to reassure you that it is entirely possible to breastfeed successfully and that for most women it is an absolute pleasure and a joy to do.
If you are interested and want to learn more, go to my website breastfeedingconsultant.ie for more information.
Written by Clare Boyle, Midwife & Breastfeeding Consultant, for eumom.ie