Thursday, August 5, 2010

Breastfeeding as a Teen

Boobies. Tits. Funbags. Ta-ta’s. BREASTS.

Breastfeeding myths and misconceptions are abundant in today’s society. Our grandmother’s raised children around the time formula became mainstream and everyone used it. I once asked my grandma about her breastfeeding and using formula. She told me that women were essentially “brainwashed” and told that “formula was just as good as breastmilk”.

Wrong! Formula is derived from cow’s milk (and sometimes soy), not human milk. Cow’s milk is to be given to baby cows to help them grow into 1,000lb+ animals and not meant for human babies. Then chemicals and synthetic enzymes are added to the formula, some iron (which can cause constipation), and the potentially dangerous algae-derived DHA. It does not contain the same proteins, antibodies, or chemicals found in breastmilk.

Breastmilk is truly amazing. It is easily digested food, which reduces the chance of stomach upsets, gas, and constipation. Breastfed baby poop smells a whole lot better than formula-fed baby poop (that stuff could clear a room!). It is easier to clean up, and is water-soluble, so it is less likely to stain. It contains a pain reliever and sleep inducer. You can use it on your baby’s eczema to help clear it up. It’s fantastic.

On top of that, babies breastfed for 6 months or more have higher IQ’s when they are older, and less psychological problems in adulthood. A recent study showed if all American mothers breastfed for 6 months, it could save the lives of almost 1,000 infants and save $13 billion.

So why should YOU breastfeed? If you don’t care about any of the above (which I certainly hope you would), then continue reading.

You will get back in to shape faster. Breastfeeding releases oxytocin, a chemical present during an orgasm or labor. It will contract your uterus (with some discomfort) and help it return to its former size more quickly.

It burns up to 500 calories a day. Most mothers who breastfeed weigh less at 6 months postpartum than formula feeding mothers. However, this weight loss will not be long term unless you breastfeed for a MINIMUM of 3 months.

It’s easier in the long term. Getting up, making a bottle, feeding baby, burping, and then having to wash the bottles sucks, plain and simple. Why not just lift up your shirt, latch baby, and go back to what you were doing? I am typing this WHILE breastfeeding.

It’s cheap. Yeah, you might have to pump on occasion and feed a bottle if you attend school/work, but a good manual pump is $40 and a few bottles can cost up to $20. $60 one time sounds better than $150+ monthly.

It helps with postpartum depression. There are still quite a few hormones in your body while breastfeeding, and every time you breastfeed, oxytocin is released. This has been called the “love hormone”. It relaxes you, lifts your mood, and promotes bonding with your baby.

Now, onto the issues of teen breastfeeding.

Breasts as something that isn’t sexual is odd to most teens. We are conditioned that breasts are sexually appealing and for our pleasure and men’s pleasure. While the breast can be a sexual spot, it serves first and foremost as nutrition for your baby. That is what they are there for! Breastfeeding will not stimulate you sexually, and no, it will not make your breasts sag. Pregnancy makes your breasts sag (if they do), not breastfeeding. However, the stretching your skin will do while drying up milk…now that might make them sag.

Meddling mothers and grandmothers. This was an issue for me. A baby will want to eat, eat, eat, and eat some more in the first 6 weeks. It’s hard, it’s tiring, and at times you feel like something is wrong. Your family might say that the baby isn’t getting enough to eat, you’re not doing it right, that formula is easier. Then ask them, how many of them breastfed? Formula fed babies sleep longer and don’t eat as often because it is difficult to digest, unlike breastmilk. It’s like eating a whole lot of carbs and a turkey dinner, all you want to do is sleep. Stick with it, and if you are concerned, consult a lactation consultant or your local La Leche League.

Breastfeeding is gross, why would you want a baby sucking on your tit all day?” Hold on, I might slam my head into the keyboard as a response to this. Breasts are for babies, there is a reason you make the milk. They are not there to please your boyfriend. They are not there for other men to oogle. They are to feed your baby. Before formula, all babies were breastfed by their mothers or wetnurses. The idea that babies are meant to drink from bottles is a recent movement in popular culture. There is nothing gross about breastfeeding, it is natural and beautiful.

Do not be ashamed of wanting to breastfeed, do not be pressured into formula feeding by your peers. You wouldn’t let your mom or best friend bully you into giving away your baby or giving it soda in a bottle. Stand up and fight for your child. Breastfeeding is the food meant for our children, and everything else is substandard and could be dangerous. Do not gamble with the health of your child.

1 comment:

  1. Yeah, we'll all take advice from a knocked up teen on breastfeeding.