It has come to my attention that last week…well, nearly two weeks ago, now…was World Breastfeeding Week, brought to you by the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action. *Sheepish* I feel like I should have been on top of that one, but somehow let it slip through my fingers (it was, to put it mildly, a busy week for me). Anyway, the point is rather moot, since EVERY week should be world breastfeeding week. Breastfeeding is the healthiest food you can possibly feed your baby! It’s an organic, living mix of antibodies, brain-cell promoting cream, nutrients, minerals, immunoglobulins…basically, EVERYTHING your baby needs to stay healthy and grow strong. And it’s constantly changing. Can you believe that? If your baby needs more of one kind of nutrient over another, or a higher fat content, or is dehydrated and needs more water, the quality of your breastmilk will actually change to meet these needs. Breastfeeding is a complete meal for the baby: at any given feeding, the first 60% of the milk suckled (called the foremilk) is like skim-milk, hydrating and watery; the next 25% is whole milk, full of protein and antibodies, and the final 5%—called the hindmilk—is pure cream, full of fat for growing brains, and taaaaaaassty (it’s dessert). Babies who breastfeed have fewer allergies, tend to grow bigger and get sick less often, have a much lower incidence of asthma, and studies have even linked breastfeeding to higher intelligence. And that’s just the physical stuff! Don’t forget about the improved bonding and nurturing your baby receives, teaching him or her that the world is a safe, secure place, and that he or she can trust. That’s a mighty strong foundation upon which to lay your baby’s future emotional growth. So, in conclusion, breastfeed! And encourage your friends to breastfeed. And support the breastfeeding women in your life!
To honor World Breastfeeding Week (and since this site is desperately begging for some art), I’ve culled the internet for some kick-ass images of breastfeeding, mostly courtesy of Breastfeeding.com. (Credits have been given when I could find someone to credit.)
How love blossoms between you and your child
For Jen Harrington of South Riding, Virginia, having a baby was a revelation. As much as she looked forward to meeting her son and as much as she wanted to be a mother, she was completely unprepared for the big moment. People had warned her that she wa…