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 7: Save the Planet and Money, Too
- Breastfeeding may protect babies from mistreatment by their own mothers. It’s hard to believe anyone would ever want to hurt a helpless innocent baby, but, sadly, it happens. It might happen less frequently if more mothers breastfed.
- I want my baby to be an astronaut, but that doesn’t mean they should be eating rocket fuel. In the past, baby formula has been notorious for being contaminated with all kinds of dangerous chemicals. Perchlorate, a rocket fuel component, was reported as being found in 87 percent of the U.S. powdered formula market.
- Not having your babies too close together in age may help them all survive and thrive. Breastfeeding helps with the spacing factor, according to this study.
- Breasts don’t pollute landfills. With breastfeeding, all you need are your boobs and a baby. There are no formula containers to throw away. I don’t always do everything I can to help the environment, but breastfeeding is one thing I can handle.
- Breathe easier knowing that the future generation will, too. This might sound crazy, but animal agriculture (such as the dairy cows needed to create baby formula) are one of the largest contributors to global warming, air pollution, ocean dead zones, rain forest destruction and much, much more.
- Experts recommend it, and they’re the ones with a medical degree. They are experts for a reason: They’ve studied hard and earned their degrees. They know the ins and outs of why things work and why they don’t. If they tell me breast milk is best for my baby, I believe them.
- Challenge a social taboo by using your boobs. The fact that some people think women shouldn’t breastfeed in public is enough reason to make me want to do it. I want to help out all my sisters who are facing that struggle now and those who will benefit from our efforts in the future.
- It will give him a head start on his college fund. If you decide to breastfeed and you take all the money you’d be spending on formula and put it in a bank account, you’ll easily have over $1,000 saved for your baby by the time he reaches his first birthday. Not to mention all the difficult-to-resist gadgets like bottle sterilizers, warmers and brushes, which can quickly add up to a small fortune.
- Breastfeeding cuts down on medical expenses for everyone. Because breastfeeding can prevent illnesses and diseases, there are less medical expenses involved for families that do it. That translates into the greater good with reduced health-care costs (up to $17.4 billion) as a result of optimal breastfeeding for the first year.
- Nobody likes scalding their mouth, especially your baby. Moms who are in a rush to feed a crying baby are often tempted to pop their bottle in the microwave, which if done incorrectly can cause severe burns to babies mouths. Breast milk, on the other hand, is always the perfect temperature.
- Because I love my country. Breastfeeding is associated with higher productivity and lower workplace absenteeism for mothers and their children, which can only lead to a stronger economy and a better country.
- 1,300,000 lives could be saved each year. UNICEF has stated that breastfeeding is the perfect way to provide nutrition to your baby. If every baby were breastfed for at least the first six months, an estimated 1.3 million lives could be saved each year.