Why I chose to breastfeed

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One of the main reasons I chose to breastfeed Audrey was because of the bond that it would help us create. Because we live so far away from family, we already knew that she would be all that we had for at least a few years. I wanted to her to feel secure and know that we would always be here for her. I knew that breastfeeding was the first step to building our mother-daughter connection. 

Another reason I decided to breastfeed included the health benefits that it not only provided for her, but also for me. 

Breast feeding can have a very controversial aspect – particularly when it comes to breastfeeding in public. Before you were pregnant, you may have looked at other moms who breastfed in public a little strangely. You likely asked yourself why they would do something so personal out in the open, but now that you're going to be a mom you may be seeing this action with a new set of eyes. 

Take Karlesha Thurman, for example. She drew a lot of criticism and media attention when she chose to breastfeed during her college graduation. Some questioned why she would do such a thing in front of so many people, but she said during an interview with MAM USA that she didn't want her child to have to sit through the ceremony without eating. 

"If your child is hungry, don't be embarrassed or ashamed to feed them, no matter where you are, covered or not," she said. "Don't let anyone stop you from being the best mom you can be." 

The benefits of breastfeeding

As a soon-to-be mom, you've probably been asked a million times whether your plan to breast or bottle feed your baby. 

There's a lot of information in the baby world about the benefits of breastfeeding. The American Academy of Pediatrics and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists strongly recommend breastfeeding, but it is a personal matter that will draw all sorts of opinions from family and friends. 

One of the benefits of breastfeeding is that you're providing your baby with the perfect combination of nutrients such as protein, fat and vitamins. Breast milk is also digested much easier than formula and contains the antibodies your baby needs to establish an immune system. 

According to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), breast milk can lead to a lower risk of asthma, childhood leukemia, obesity, ear infections, sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) and respiratory infections. 

There are some instances when bottle feeding your baby with formula is actually better. This includes the rare cases when babies have a milk allergy. If this happens with your baby, there's dairy-free, lactose-free and hypoallergenic formula available. 

Moms can also benefit from breastfeeding. The HHS said that mothers can have a lower risk of type 2 diabetes, certain types of breast cancers and ovarian cancer when they breastfeed. Breastfeeding also makes life easier because you don't have to get up in the middle of the night to make a bottle, you simply just have to get baby out of his or her crib or co-sleeper and have them latch on. There's no sterilizing of bottles and nipples or measuring out formula. Breastfeeding is also much more cost-efficient and can save you hundreds of dollars down the road. 

As a first-time mom, you may find it a little more difficult to bounce back to your pre-baby self. It's really nothing like what you see on television and I still find it amazing how actresses and models can get back into shape so quickly. Then I remind myself that they make a living by always looking camera-ready and if I had a personal trainer come to my house I'd probably look really good too. Breastfeeding can help you lose weight and get back to your old self a more quickly. However, there hasn't been much research on this connection, as experts are still looking at the effects of weight loss and breastfeeding. 

Of course, you're the ultimate deciding factor in what you choose to feed your baby. You'll soon discover what works best for the both of you. 

Do you plan to breast or bottle feed? Join in the discussion below! 

 Why I chose to breastfeed

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