In honor of Breastfeeding Awareness month, I think it’s important to remind ourselves why we breastfeed and all of the rights we have as breastfeeding mothers. Whether you nurse directly, pump and bottle feed, substitute with formula, or strictly formula feed you are doing it right! You can’t deny that fed is best, but for the purpose of this post and this month I want to point out a lot of rights that we have as nursing mothers and why you should educate others on your rights.
- It’s extremely healthy for you, the mother! That’s right it’s healthy for you. Nursing can burn hundreds of calories a day, which helps you get rid of some of that pregnancy weight. It lowers your chances of breast cancer by up to 30%. It also releases a hormone called oxytocin, which makes you happy and reduces your chances of post partum depression.
- It’s healthy for the baby! Well duh, everyone knows it’s healthy for the baby. It has over 300 more nutrients than formula, and it changes depending on the types of germs that you touch. If you or anyone around you is sick, the breastmilk will adapt to produce more antibodies, enzymes, and white blood cells to protect the baby against the same sickness. It’s seriously amazing what our bodies can do.
- Nursing babies are less likely to be picky. They can taste subtle hints of the foods you eat in your milk. So eat up those carrots and broccoli because it might encourage your baby to like those same foods.
- Breastfeeding can provide up to a 97% form of contraceptive. Now this isn’t always true and if you aren’t trying to get pregnant you should still use another form of birth control. But for the first six months after the baby is born, if you are strictly breastfeeding, your chances of getting pregnant are significantly lower.
- Nursing mothers are protected by law. Thats right, in all of the United States nursing mothers are legally allowed to nurse anywhere that the mother can legally be. No one can force you to cover up or leave unless it is their private residence. In California it’s under civil code 43.3 and this has been an effective law since 1997.
- The United States is one of the only countries in the entire world who does not see breastfeeding as normal. In almost every other country it’s perfectly normal to see a mother breastfeeding their children even at ages up to 7.
- Its free! How could we possibly forget, you can save thousands of dollars just by breastfeeding. If your body makes enough milk to exclusively breastfeed, you don’t need to worry about the high cost of formula, on top of the cost of diapers, wipes, and clothes. Babies can be expensive and this is just one way to save a little money.
- It reduces the risk of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome). That’s a huge bonus, especially when so many of us moms do nothing except worry about our babies and what could potentially happen to them outside of our control.
- It gives you and the baby a stronger bond. Bottle fed babies form a great bond with their parents as well, but studies show a breastfed baby gets more skin to skin contact which creates a deeper connection between mother and baby.
- Breastfeeding mothers are shown to get, on average, 45 minutes more sleep than mothers who don’t breastfeed. It might not feel like it, but it’s true! As a mother of three girls I need all the sleep I can get!!
The United States has sexualized breasts and women’s bodies so much that they’re not even considered natural anymore. We need to change this and #normalizebreastfeeding. It’s a natural part of the human body for women to create milk for their children. Personally, I don’t understand why this is so hard for people to understand. My breasts were created for my baby, not for you to stare at. What my baby and I do is none of your business, if you don’t want to see my baby eating then you shouldn’t look. My baby should not eat in a bathroom and neither should you.
I should not have to cover up, especially in this 100 degree SD weather. So stand up for yourself and your baby, mama, because you are amazing, you are strong, and all you’re doing is feeding your baby the most natural way you can. And next time someone gives you a dirty look, or tells you to cover up, just smile and kill them with kindness, and keep these facts in your back pocket just in case.
You got this mom and your baby thanks you.