The actual act of breastfeeding is so important for moms and babies. From the moment your baby comes into the world, they leave the comfort and perfect environment inside of you and are thrust, quite literally, into this loud, cold, bright world. You are their home. Every time you place your baby on you skin to skin, they are comforted by being close to "home". Every time your baby suckles at the breast, there is an actual exchange of information that happens inside your breast tissue. Your brain begins to place receptors in your tissue that will function throughout your breastfeeding career.
* These receptors are what make antibodies you will pass to your baby if you are exposed to an illness.
* These same receptors are going to tell your brain to reformulate the milk you make every time your baby grows. Your milk changes for what is growing in your baby's body.
* You make different milk for every stage of growth and for every baby you breastfeed.
Not to mention the perks of breastfeeding - your baby's brain develops through motion, touch and sound. All of those happen during the act of breastfeeding. The way you interact with your child during the feeding helps your child form their first close relationship and experience love, touch and belonging. Breastfeeding helps you release oxytocin which is the hormone that makes us feel love. It also calms you, makes you sleepy and very happy.
It is possible to breastfeed and bottle feed, it does not have to be all or none!! We will talk about that next time....