Of my 3 girls, I breastfed Cass, my youngest daughter for the longest period. Over 3 years of blissful bonding between the two of us seemed long yet too short! It was the 3 most cherished years that I had with Cass, my last baby.
When I was pregnant with Cass, I told myself that I would have no other ways of feeding her except to breastfeed her exclusively for as long as I could. Well, I wanted to save money on expensive baby formula and most of all, I wanted the best for her. And I was lazy too - lazy to prepare formula milk at ungodly hours, lazy to sterilize bottles and I did not want to waste money spending on expensive baby bottles.
Above: Chubby Cass at slightly over a month old in May 2008. She was breastfed on demand exclusively.
That was the best decision I made for Cass. I successfully breastfed her for over 3 years - direct feeding, sans any milk bottle. It was so convenient and I did not lose any sleep as we co-slept. For over 3 years, Cass slept under my armpit and I breastfed her on demand. She slept very well and so did I. When she was hungry in the middle of the night, my boops were readily available for her :) When she was in pain, my boops were there to soothe her. There was not a single time that I denied her of my boops, except the time when she was in the hospital before and after her surgeries. We have saved so much money on baby formula, baby bottles and even on sanitary pads for 3 years! For 3 years, I was on 'menopausal mode' with no menstruation as I was breastfeeding.
It’s never too early to start thinking about how you're going to feed your baby. Today, many women are choosing to breastfeed their babies. The benefits of breastfeeding your baby are manifold.
Benefits of breastfeeding your baby:
Breast milk is the only natural food designed for your baby.
Breastfeeding protects your baby from infections and diseases.
It’s available whenever and wherever your baby needs a feed.
Breast milk is non-toxic and not contaminated.
Breast milk is full of vitamins, minerals and precious anti-bodies to protect baby from a wide range of diseases and ailments like diarrhea, respiratory infections, allergies and much more.
Breast milk is easily digestible.
Breast milk is always at the right temperature.
Encourages brain development.
It can build a strong physical and emotional bond between mother and baby.
It can give you a great sense of achievement.
Why breastfeeding is good for mommies?
Reduces chances of getting breast cancer
Burns calories (up to 600 calories per day) and helps you to get back into shape at a faster pace.
When I was still breastfeeding Cass, the news on the hundreds of babies and toddlers in China who died and left in critical condition due to ingestion of baby formula adulterated with poison left me heartbroken. I felt the pain of the mothers who lost their babies. With mother's milk, you will have no doubts on the milk that your baby drinks.
When Cass was just a few months old, both Alycia and Sherilyn were down with chicken pox. I was worried sick that Cass would be infected by the chicken pox virus too. And there was no way that I could leave them and seek refuge with Cass some where else while they recuperated from chicken pox at home. I had to care for 2 sick kids and nurse an infant. Thankfully, Cass was spared from the chicken pox virus, all thanks to my anti-bodies that she ingested from the breast milk as I have had chicken pox before!
Breastfeeding is the healthiest way to feed your baby. Exclusive breastfeeding (giving your baby breast milk only) is recommended for around the first six months (26 weeks) of your baby's life. After that, giving your baby breast milk alongside other food will help them continue to grow and develop healthily.
The Ministry of Health of Malaysia is strongly encouraging all new mothers to breastfeed their babies. The Ministry is also encouraging spouses to support their wives in this area.
Whether you nurse your baby for days, weeks, months, or years, you will both benefit. If you are a new mother and are still hesitant to begin breastfeeding your baby, it's always worth giving breastfeeding a try. Even if it doesn’t work out, you can always stop nursing at any point. Take it one day at a time and remember than even one feeding at the breast provides important benefits to both you and your baby.