Breastfeeding can be a magical experience, a sacred time that only you and your beloved little share together. I often found as a working mother, that the time was sacred because it allowed me to escape the world of busyness and demands, and be present with my infant. The maternal benefits of breastfeeding are like a natural high that you cannot get enough of once you are in the rhythm of you and your sweet babe.
What about the magic that awaits your infant? Of course as we progress and advance we learn so many things about the wonders of breast milk and the protection it offers to our prized little one. I find it fascinating that providing mother’s milk reduces the risk that a child will develop several autoimmune conditions such as asthma, digestive disorders like Crohn’s and Ulcerative Colitis, Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes. It is also known that breast milk expands an infant’s palate, so it is no wonder that breast milk reduces the risk of childhood obesity. Your child may actually grow to love and crave vegetables! My children who were breastfed now eat an incredible variety of foods and vegetables, including sushi, guacamole, fresh peppers, broccoli, mushrooms, mixed greens fresh and without any added dressing! I must credit some of this to the breast milk that nourished their tiny bodies for many moons.
Breast milk also lays down the foundation of your child’s gastrointestinal tract, which benefits will continue even after the breastfeeding season is completed. Your gastrointestinal tract is partly responsible in the future for a balanced immune system.
During this season of colds, respiratory infections, and the dreaded Covid-19 means that the power of breast milk can be such armor for your little. I must also point out that breastfed infants are sick less often. Meaning that working parents in turn miss less work—that is a game-changer in the winter season for infants that spend time in a childcare setting. Even partial breastfeeding can reduce the risk of upper respiratory infections such as influenza, RSV, and Covid-19. How can we forget that your milk will pass on antibodies to your babe in a powerful and protective way? This can either be from natural immunity or vaccination. In this season of sickness during the long winter months, recognize that you are providing your child with a superpower through your milk, and that should be encouraged and praised. Mommas out there hustling at home, on the job, and putting your baby to breast as often as life allows, keep up the incredible work! You are providing vital protection that no purchasable product can offer! Stay strong Moms, and keep that liquid gold pumping!
Written by: Cara Schagemann (HNP, MSN, RN), Women's Health Nurse Practitioner, Masters of Science in Nursing, Registered Nurse,