MANILA, Philippines – (Updated) Breastfeeding, according to the National Health Service (NHS) of the UK, is the healthiest way to feed your baby. It’s available wherever and whenever the baby needs to feed, it comes in the right temperature and it fosters a stronger bond between the mother and child.
But while the usual image of a nursing mother is that of a woman lovingly cradling a peaceful looking child, a lot of breastfeeding mothers can attest that reality can paint a starkly different picture. Engorgement – when your breasts are flooded with milk, which makes the breast tissues swell – can be quite painful and can even lead to a fever. If not done correctly, the mother can get swollen or cracked nipples from breastfeeding.
Jemps Gallegos Yuvienco writes, “When you’re pregnant, for all the unsolicited advice you get, no one tells you how painful and isolating nursing can be.”
These are just some of the realities of breastfeeding. But in the same token, breastfeeding can feel like an incredible achievement.
Breastfeeding boosts the child’s immune system, and makes them more resilient against respiratory illnesses and diarrhea. The physical closeness, the constant skin-to-skin contact makes the baby feel more secure and calm. You can see with your own eyes how your baby is growing and developing thanks to the sustenance that comes only from you.
If you’ve heard that breastfeeding mothers tend to shed the pregnancy pounds faster, it’s true. Nursing releases oxytocin, which helps the uterus shrink back to its original size. It also minimizes the mother’s risk of developing ovarian cancer and osteoporosis.
Abi Alcaide-Catapang, first time mom to 13-month old Arella Jean, feels very blessed to have been able to breastfeed for almost a year. She credits her close friends who are also breastfeeding mothers as her support group and believes that breastfeeding is the best gift that God has given to mothers.
How about you, are you breastfeeding your child or thinking of doing so? If you’re already breastfeeding, how has it been for you so far? Do you have tips for other mothers who want to breastfeed?
Women (and some men, too) joined us last November 14, 2015 for an engaging Twitter conversation on breastfeeding. With the hashtag #FeelFreeToFeed, here are some of the highlights. – Rappler.com