Breastfeeding: The Original White Milk

This particular subject is one of the main reasons I started this blog… 

My Breastfeeding story...

When Ayden was born in 2006, I was almost 22. I was young, uneducated and very impressionable. I am not sure if the information was front and center for me and I didn't pay attention or if it was no where to be found. I tried to breastfed Ayden and was successful for about 2 weeks. I was a waitress at the time and started back to work (a few shifts at a time) about 2 weeks postpartum. I remember thinking "How in the world am I going to continue to breastfed." I had a pump but could not figure out how I was going to make a freezer stash to send with Ayden and once I pumped, there was no way there was still milk in there because he wanted to nurse all the time. I did not trust my body and had no one to tell me to do so. I never researched breastfeeding before Ayden was born and I felt like it was a lost cause. So I gave up. We started formula and never looked back… I cherish this one picture I have of us during our short lived nursing journey.

Ayden Michael Beggs
July 13th 2006
Days old. And yes, my boob is bigger than his head!

Once we started trying for Ramsey I was determined to nurse him. I started researching and researching.. and if you have read my fertility blog post you know that I was researching for a long time. ( click here to read that post) I read different articles, asked friends (especially the super mom of 4 and lactation consultant friend, Wendy) and read all the different post and question on parenting/breastfeeding forums on the What to Expect when Expecting iPhone app. That is where I learned the majority of my information from. Once Ramsey was born, I was determined. It was hard. It took dedication. It took patience. We had to learn together, Ramsey and I. It took a lot of time and I felt like he was constantly on my boob. Which he was. All. The. Time. I was his food source, his comfort, his happy place. And I was happy to be his world. There were times that I knew formula would be easier, especially in the beginning. For the first few weeks they are constantly nursing. You are establishing your milk supply that works on a supply and demand basis. I learned and experienced that I am always making milk, around the clock. I told myself time and time again that it would get better, things would get easier. I reminded myself that this is what my body was made for, to nourish this little being. Also for a long long time, THIS is all they had. No formula, just breast milk. It would help me get through tough times by knowing and trusting it would get easier.. and you know what? It did. We fell into a routine, as much as you can for nursing on demand. It became second nature. When he would wake up at night I would pull him into the bed with me and nurse him back to sleep. No bottles, no formula, no crying baby.. just me and him. When we would go out I didn't have to worry about bottles, water, formula… just me and him. Even when I went back to work… pumping was easy-peasy. (If anyone is interested in our routine shoot me an email and I would be glad to tell you what worked for us)

Ramsey Delano Beggs
October 22nd 2013
He is less than 24 hours old in this picture. 


Normalize Breastfeeding

Having support from your husband/Significant other, parents, parents in law, friends and other family members help a ton. What I have noticed is that people have very strong opinions about breastfeeding, the good and the bad. Most of the older generations experience with breastfeeding is one that equals low class living. Back in the day, formula was for the high class families and you were labeled as "poor" if you breastfed. Breastfeeding is not popular and it has been sexualized, oddly enough. Even though this was the main food source for human existence since, well, humans have existed. The only reason formula was created was because infants, who's birth mother passed during birth, were perishing from gastrointestinal tract infections and bacterial infections from the use of animal milk and other food sources. The lower income families couldn't afford a "wet nurse", which was another breastfeeding mother. Once formula was created, breastfeeding number decreased and have fluctuated since.

Somehow it has made breastfeeding a taboo. A nursing mother can not nurse in public without receiving dirty looks and maybe even a rude comment… WHY? It is natural. It is sustaining a life. I am a proud nursing mother. I have nursed in public, a ton. I speak about it often. I nurse in front of Ayden and even his 2 older brothers because it is NATURAL. I don't make a huge production about it and usually no one is even aware of whats going on. However, I will make it normal, especially in my house. I will raise my boys to not judge, especially something that is deemed not "socially acceptable".

What are the benefits of Breastfeeding? 
Well, I am glad you asked...

Benefits of Breastfeeding

Why is breastfeeding best?

With the upcoming arrival of your new baby, there are many decisions to be made.  None more important than deciding which form of nutrition is best for you and your baby.  Numerous government and private industry associations today recognize and promote the importance of exclusively providing breastmilk to babies in the first twelve months of life.

Following are compelling, research-based facts about the importance of breastmilk that may help you to make an informed choice:

Best for Baby:
  • Research shows that breastfed infants have fewer and shorter episodes of illness.
  • Breastfeeding is the most natural and nutritious way to encourage your baby’s optimal development.
  • Colostrum (the first milk) is a gentle, natural laxative that helps clear baby’s intestine, decreasing the chance for jaundice to occur.
  • The superior nutrition provided by breastmilk benefits your baby’s IQ.
  • Breastfeeding is a gentle way for newborns to transition to the world outside the womb.
  • The skin-to-skin contact encouraged by breastfeeding offers babies greater emotional security and enhances bonding.
  • The activity of sucking at the breast enhances development of baby’s oral muscles, facial bones, and aids in optimal dental development.
  • Breastfeeding appears to reduce the risk of obesity and hypertension.
  • Breastfeeding delays the onset of hereditary allergic disease, and lowers the risk of developing allergic disease.
  • Breastfeeding helps the baby’s immune system mature, protecting the baby in the meantime from viral, bacteria, and parasitic infections.
  • Breastfeeding increases the effectiveness of immunizations, increasing the protection against polio, tetanus, and diphtheria vaccines.
  • Breastfeeding protects against developing chronic diseases such as: celiac disease, inflammatory bowel disease, asthma, and childhood cancers.
The benefits of breastfeeding appear to last even after the baby has been weaned.

Lack of Breastfeeding Increases the Risk to the Infant of:
  • Ear infections
  • Childhood diabetes
  • Obesity
  • Gastrointestinal and diarrheal infections
  • Childhood cancers
  • SIDS
  • Respiratory infections
  • Allergies
  • NEC (necrotizing enterocolitis)
Best for Mother:
  • Research shows that breastfeeding benefits the health of mothers.
  • Breastmilk is always fresh, perfectly clean, just the right temperature, and is the healthy choice at the least cost!
  • Increased levels of oxytocin stimulate postpartum uterine contractions, minimizing blood loss and encouraging rapid uterine toning.
  • From 3 months to 12 months postpartum, breastfeeding increases the rate of weight loss in most nursing mothers.
  • Breastfeeding offers some protection against the early return of fertility.
  • Because breastfed babies are healthier, their mothers miss less work and spend less time and money on pediatric care.
  • Breastfeeding women report psychological benefits such as increased self-confidence and a stronger sense of connection with their babies.
Lack of Breastfeeding Increases the Risk to the Mother of:
  • Urinary tract infection
  • Pre-and post-menopausal breast cancer
  • Ovarian cancer
  • Osteoporosis

Thanks to my new found passion, I am an aspiring lactation consultant. BJ and I have been talking about this course for me since last summer and I finally found a week long course in Atlanta in the fall this year. I am so very excited about this new chapter in my life and can't believe the drive and passion I have for this subject. I have helped numerous people in the beginning of their breastfeeding journey and I tell each of them that I only know what has worked for me and what I have read but I am in no way educated on every aspect of breastfeeding… now, there is a time limit on that statement.

 The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding by 3 Le Leche Leaders. I recommend it for anyone that is pregnant, planning to breastfed or looking into further your education on the subject. 

Disclaimer: I am in NO WAY shining negative light on formula fed babies, whether the choice was yours to make or not. Remember, Ayden was formula fed. He is a very healthy, smart and athletic 8 year old boy! Breast is best? Formula is best? No, A fed baby is best. My mission statement would be to help educate people on the benefits of breastfeeding...nutritionally, emotionally, mentally and financially. I want to help others that don't know how to nurse or how to even get started. I want to encourage people to not give up, we can find a solution. I want to share my story and inspire others to trust their body. I want to help the ones that don't even know who to ask or where to find information…. because that was me at one time.
And if you think I'm weird, let me just throw this out there… I promote and practice a little from every "labelled" parenting style...  gentle parenting (Don't even get me started on the negative effects of letting a baby Cry It out!), attachment parenting, crunchy mama, baby wearing, extended rear facing past 1 year and obviously, breastfeeding… So take that you closed-minded turd!

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~Mika Beggs

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