By Yuki Hayashi
Adapted from the print edition, Everything Baby Guide Fall 2011
We know that breastfeeding doesn’t come easy to many moms. In fact, of the 78 percent of Canadian moms who initiated breastfeeding in 2009, only 22 percent were still doing it six months later. And there are lots of reasons for this: concerns around milk supply, painful nipples and a steep learning curve all contribute to opting out of breastfeeding early on.
But, one of the most common refrains we hear from breastfeeding moms is: “Breastfeeding is one of the most challenging things I’ve ever done—but also one of the most rewarding.” So, how can the process be made smoother so that more new moms can make it past the many land mines of the first couple of months?
One tip: Keep your eye on the prize. Make a list of the health benefits breastfeeding provides to your baby, now and for the long term. Here are just a few:
• Reduces infant gastrointestinal illness by up to 82%
• Reduces respiratory illness by up to 30%
• Reduces the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) by up to 500%
• Reduces the risk of ear infections by up to 300%
• Lowers the risk of childhood obesity by up to 35% and diabetes by up to 40%
• Protects against chronic diseases like Celiac disease, inflammatory bowel disease, asthma and childhood cancer
• Improves neural development by up to 10%
Post your list where you can see it every day. Breastfeeding isn’t the only option out there, but it’s the gold standard for infant nutrition. For every week you breastfeed, you confer health benefits to your child.