Op-Ed: Breastfeeding is Super!

Disclaimer Alert: This was a mandatory pro-breastfeeding assignment for my Nutrition & Public Health course. We were supposed to have fun with this one, so don’t get your diaper in a bunch. 😛

Be sure to check out part two of the assignment – a 60 second pro-breastfeeding PSA!

Mother’s Day is quickly approaching!

As a new mom, May is your month to shine!

We know that being a mom is basically being a superhero. After all, you are your baby’s hero! A superhero will do anything for her local city and the wellbeing of its citizens. 

Just like a superhero, you want to do everything in your power to make sure your baby grows up healthy and strong.

You might be wondering what your special superpower is? (Besides being a fierce role model who saves the day, every day!)

Your special superpower – your secret weapon is… breastmilk! 

Breastmilk?! 

You heard that right! Breastmilk not only empowers YOU to be a supermom, but passes on your superhero-greatness to your baby! 

Breastmilk contains antibodies that can protect your baby from all sorts of illnesses. 

Imagine common illnesses such as diarrhea and pneumonia threatening your baby. These illnesses are, after all, leading causes of newborn mortalities worldwide. 

You can sleep well at night (baby permitting!) knowing that with a pump of your breastmilk, your little one is strongly protected against these health threats.

Breast milk has a major advantage over infant formula, which falls short in comparison. Commercial formula may feed your baby, but it lacks the super nutrients (antibodies) to protect them from serious health threats. 

Breastfeeding is especially crucial within the first 6 months of birth. Breastfeeding your newborn promotes optimal growth and development throughout the young adult lifespan. 

According to the World Health Organization, breastfeeding should be part of your baby’s feeding regimen for upwards of 2 years.

2 years may seem like a long time, but, consider this: A mere 2 years of breastfeeding carries lifelong health benefits for you and your child. Adolescents and adults who received breastmilk as babies are reported to have a decreased risk of weight problems, type 2 diabetes, and even score higher on intelligence tests compared to their formula-fed counterparts!

To think, you can enable your child to be valedictorian simply by breastfeeding them as an infant! 

What’s more – The health benefits extend far beyond the health of your child! 

Mothers who breastfeed can expect reduced risks of breast and ovarian cancers as well as decreased incidence of type 2 diabetes and even postpartum depression. 

Breastfeeding can even get you back into that itsy bitsy teenie weenie yellow polka-dot bikini! (Hey, even superheroes should take a well-deserved vacation from time to time!)

Mothers who breastfeed report an earlier return to their pre-pregnancy weight. That’s because breastfeeding alone can burn an extra 300-500 calories a day! 

Still not convinced breastfeeding is the way to go? What if I pointed out that breastfeeding saves an estimated $1200-$1500 in the first year?! (New shoes, anyone?) 

Lastly, don’t fear if you need a little bit of help! Every superhero needs a good sidekick! Your sidekick? A Breastfeeding counselor, formally known as a Lactation Specialist. 

Lactation Specialists are board-certified health professionals who can support you every step of the way and troubleshoot any issues you may encounter. 

Even with all of the compelling reasons to breastfeed, some new moms may be eager to return to work. You can take a sigh of relief knowing that your breastmilk can be pumped well ahead of schedule and stored in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Even better – your breastmilk can last in the freezer for 6-12 months, giving you all the time you need to fight off crime.

We understand you are a superhero and a boss lady! Thankfully, you can still do both! Passing on your powers does not have to mean sacrificing your career as a superhero! 

Breastfeeding empowers you to be super, well, super

Resources for Moms/Moms-To-Be:

  1. World Health Organization
  2. Women’s Health. How Many Calories does Breastfeeding Really Burn? April 2014
  3. Happy Family Organics

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