When I had my son in the mid-1980’s, I was bound and determined to nurse him as opposed to bottle feeding. As a child of the 1960’s, I had been raised with most of the ‘natural’ ideas about child-rearing — natural childbirth, cloth diapers and most of all, nursing. Besides the culture and mindset I was exposed to, there were a couple of motivational factors behind my desire to nurse my child (possible then for selfish reasons):
Convenience. I wasn’t sure if I would be blessed with a child that would sleep through the night or not, but it just seemed to make more sense to be able to nurse at 3:00 a.m. then to have to prepare a bottle. Luckily for me, quite the opposite was true — my son proceeded to be one of the babies that wanted to be nursed every 1 1/2 to 2 hours, literally around the clock. Not only did I not have to prepare a bottle, nursing him gave me the ability to literally roll over half asleep and be confident that my child was getting healthy nutrients at the perfect body temperature.
Getting back in shape. The first time I nursed my baby, I was surprised that my abdomen actually began to hurt, similar to period cramps. I quickly figured out this was nature’s perfect plan! This is due to the oxytocin hormone that is released when a baby suckles and the lactation process begins. And yes … the pain was a sign that the hormone was helping the uterus to go back to its pre-pregnancy state. Yay skinny jeans! I also didn’t realize with nursing how many calories my child would be consuming, and the impact that would have on my figure … but I could literally eat ANYTHING and still lose weight. In fact, at 24 years old, I was leaner than ever before, probably in better shape than when I was in high school.
Nutritional Value. It just seemed to make perfect sense. As I researched more, I learned that there were numerous benefits to nursing, including boosting the baby’s immune system, helping their digestive system to develop properly, and possibly even a higher IQ – check out the Baby Center.
I was such an advocate of nursing at a young age that my mother and a few of her friends (along with the influence of the helpful nurses in the hospital that helped me get comfortable with nursing) recommended I get involved with La Leche League. I remember attending a few meetings. There were women there that were still nursing their children, some of them up to the age of 5 years old. (I thought that was a little extreme for my taste). I nursed my son until he was 11 months old, and my daughter for 7 months. As a full-time working mother of two, this was no easy feat!
Now … there is a Nursing App! Welcome to the new millennium, a time when just about everything is digital. The nursing App is offered through UpSpringBaby.com. (Their website also offers a multitude of great resources for nursing mothers). The App offers mothers the ability to have a personalized consultation with an Upspring Lactation Consultant and can do so from a Smartphone, computer or tablet! The App is free at: http://www.doctorondemand.com/lactation