I was fed formula when I was a baby, and I turned out just fine, if I do say so myself. My brothers and sisters were all formula fed, too, and nothing went wrong with them either.
I planned to carry on the tradition of formula feeding when I was pregnant with my first child. I figured nine months of carrying around my baby was enough of a sacrifice – I wanted my body back, and I was intimidated by the rules and horror stories I heard about breastfeeding.
My friends would tell me they couldn’t eat certain things before they breastfed their babies, and they complained about their cracked, painful nipples. I was sure breastfeeding wasn’t for me. I didn’t want to be stared at by people when I attempted to breastfeed my baby in public.
My mind was made up, until one day when I was surfing the internet, and I found the website www.notmilk.com. That’s when it hit me – my feelings didn’t matter. The only thing that mattered was giving my baby the best, healthiest start I could. If you’re on the fence about breastfeeding or you’ve decided not to do it, let me share with you some of the things I learned that changed my mind.
Part 6: Protections for Mom
Using our breasts helps protect them from cancer. Breastfeeding offers a benefit to moms—it protects our chest from breast cancer.
Nursing a baby might kick endometrial cancer to the curb. Lactation may ward off endometrial cancer. Knowledge is power, and it just might save your life.
It’s hard to swallow, but breastfeeding can even protect the esophagus. It seems strange that breastfeeding can protect you from getting cancer of the esophagus, but that’s what this study found.
I’d feel like a real boob if I got Hodgkin’s disease unnecessarily. Cancer is way scarier than a baby occasionally biting my nipple. I’ll do whatever I can to ward it off.
Ovarian cancer is to be avoided at all costs. Ovarian cancer can sneak up on you without showing many symptoms. I don’t want that to happen to me.
Using the lumps on your chest might help you avoid lumps in your neck. Breastfeeding lessens thyroid cancer risk.
I want to be there for my child’s milestones, and uterine cancer could cut that short. Uterine cancer is another cancer risk that can be decreased by breastfeeding.
I don’t want a ticker that keeps getting sicker because I didn’t breastfeed. I only have one heart, so I need it to be in tip-top condition. Breastfeeding makes me less likely to have cardiovascular disease, according to this study.
Breastfeeding may keep systemic lupus at bay, and that makes me a happy camper. Lupus isn’t on my bucket list, and I’d like to keep it that way.
UTIs are a nasty surprise, but breastfeeding may stop them from happening. Urinary tract infections are painful. Breastfeeding might prevent them in mothers.
I don’t want postpartum depression; I want to enjoy my baby. The only emotion I want to feel when I look at my baby is intense love. Sadness isn’t on the menu. If I breastfeed, I might get my wish for a blissful post-birth experience.
Breastfeeding could be a force field against diabetes. I’m a carboholic—I love bread, popcorn, and potatoes. I don’t want to count carbs and give myself injections. Breastfeeding might help me dodge that.
I can fit into my skinny jeans sooner than I thought if I breastfeed. This isn’t an earth-shattering reason to breastfeed, but it’s OK to be selfish once in a while. The sooner I can shed my pregnancy weight, the happier I’ll be.
Arthritis would cramp my style, so I’ll breastfeed now to help my older self later. I’m not a wimp when it comes to pain, but I don’t want to test my limits with arthritis.
Make no bones about it—breastfeeding is good for your skeleton. I don’t want my bones to give out before my body does. I want to stay active as long as I can, and breastfeeding may help me do that.
I don’t want to live my life like I’m one of the characters on “A Nightmare on Elm Street.” I need my sleep—always have, always will. I don’t want to spend all my time being awake. I won’t be able to function. This study says that “breastfed babies have better sleep patterns.”
Breastfeeding may put the pause in menopause for mothers. Hot flashes don’t appeal to me, so I’m good with putting the brakes on menopause.
Moms who quit smoking might keep cigarettes from butting back into their lives. Moms who quit smoking during pregnancy may have a decreased risk of picking up that bad habit again if they breastfeed.
Check back tomorrow for Part 7 of “The 111 Benefits of Breastfeeding.” Or catch up on Part 1 here, Part 2 here, Part 3 here, Part 4 here and Part 5 here.