I absolutely love breastfeeding. It started off a little rough, but once Katie & I got into the swing of things (by about 8 weeks), nursing became one of the highlights of this mama's day. Mama's milk is the absolute best nourishment for my little girl as it provides her with valuable antibodies to keep her from getting sick (and, true enough, she has only been sick for a total of about 4 days so far) and lots of fat and cholesterol for her growing brain! And, being "forced" to snuggle with my baby several times a day is a definite perk. I sure do love it! An additional benefit to breastfeeding is the huge savings. Formula feeding your baby can cost around $2,000 per year. Breastfeeding is absolutely free (aside from the extra food mama consumes ;).
I know there are certain circumstances that make breastfeeding impossible, but I think every mom should make an effort to give her baby breast milk for at least a year, if not longer. Since Katie's birth, I have become somewhat of a breastfeeding advocate. I love to see other moms have success with breastfeeding their babies.
With my love of breastfeeding has also come a disdain for most formulas. I know there are some more expensive, high quality organic ones, but even those don't compare to breastmilk. And, most formulas (even the "best" you can buy at a typical retail store) are far from quality nourishment. In fact, I recently received a sample in the mail of a popular formula and the first three ingredients were nonfat milk powder, vegetable oil, and corn syrup solids. Honestly? I think it's outrageous for companies to sell products intended for babies with those ingredients and I know they could do better.
So, what's a mom to do when she has to be away from her baby when the baby would normally nurse? This is why I love my breast pump!
I was given this model, made by Medela, for Christmas a couple months before Katie was born, and I have been able to use it quite a bit over the past 11 months. It has a two-phase expression technology, designed to mimic baby's nursing patterns. The first phase is the "Stimulation phase", designed to get milk flowing, and the second phase is the "Expression phase", which causes milk to come out in higher quantities faster. And it really works. I also love that the bottles I received along with my pump are BPA free and dishwasher safe! And, they come with slow-flow nipples to use early on to prevent any nipple confusion. :)
Over the past semester, Ben and I were taking two classes on Tuesday nights at our church and Katie was staying with my in-laws. As soon as I got home from class each week, I would pump for about 15 to 20 minutes and have a bottle full of my milk in the freezer for her to drink the following week. When we lived in Florida, I did the same thing so I could go to the lady's Bible study on Wednesday nights and leave Katie with Ben. While I much prefer nursing Katie myself, I love knowing she can get the best quality nourishment available even when I'm away from her!
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