Breast feeding can be is challenging. If you throw pumping breast milk into the mix, it becomes an even nobler feat.
I am currently nursing my second child who just happens to have reached that notorious 5 month mark. It’s the time when several facets come together to make breast feeding even more challenging. Lower supply, refusing to nurse, growth spurts, emerging teeth, and plus you near that imaginary time of 6 months when it’s “okay” to stop (please note the WHO and AAP recommends breastfeeding until at least the age of 12 months).
I’ve found myself there, in the pit of the 5 month drag. I found myself thinking, “This is much more challenging then I remember from my first child”. Not only am I working full time, but I’m pumping full time as well to increase the supply.
pump, nurse, pump, pump, nurse, pump, nurse, rest of the night nurse, nurse, nurse! (Don’t forget the 25 glasses of water throughout the day to stay hydrated.)
My supply has gone back up dramatically because of the extra effort and time I put in – but I wonder how quickly (and easily) I would declare defeat if I didn’t think to myself: “There is no other alternative”. Because to me, there is none. I’ll pull out every trick in the damn book if I have to – and I have pulled a lot of tricks out due to this 5 month old slump.
So, in honor of all the other mothers (and supportive fathers) that are trudging through this hard time, here are some well known and not so well known reasons why breast milk kicks ass.
· Breast feeding increases gut acidity, helping to stop harmful bacteria from growing and encourages positive bacteria to thrive which aids digestion. Formula contains milk proteins which strip the gut of its flora. 
· Breast and formula fed infants differ in growth and in cognitive, emotional and social development.   
· Breast feeding provides protection from SIDS, eczema, juvenile onset diabetes, gastrointestinal, urinary and respiratory infections, childhood asthma, leukaemia and obesity.   
· Breast milk flushes viruses, bacteria, dirt and other undesirable microbes from the GI tract, whilst lining it to protect against allergens and infections.   
· Bifidobacteria is higher in breastfed babies which is protects against diarrhea. E coli, streptococci, clostridia and bactericides are increased in formula fed babies and therefore the gut flora more closely mimics an adults’ composition.  
· The dynamic composition of breast milk cannot ever be replicated and it has many immunological components such as prebiotic oligosaccharides and probiotics.  
· The temperature, consistency and composition of breast milk are always optimal. 
· Breast feeding reduces risks of breast and ovarian cancer later in life, helps women return to their pre-pregnancy weight faster, and lowers rates of obesity. 
· Adults who were breastfed as babies often have lower blood pressure and lower cholesterol, as well as lower rates type-2 diabetes. 
· There is evidence that people who were breastfed perform better in intelligence tests. 
· Infant formula does not contain the antibodies found in breast milk and is linked to some risks, such as water-borne diseases that arise from mixing powdered formula with unsafe water. Malnutrition can result from over-diluting formula. 
· Research shows a relationship between breastfeeding and weight control later in life. Breastfed infants self-regulate their intake; breastfed infants have lower plasma insulin levels, which “stimulate greater adipose tissue deposition; and breastfed infants have an increased level of leptin, a protein hormone in human milk. Leptin is thought to be a key regulator of appetite and body fatness.” 
· Breastfeeding is protective against SIDS. This is because the protective effect of “IgA on bacterial toxins, the presence of long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids, faster development of the central nervous system, and the benefit of tactile stimulation during night feeds.” 
· Breast milk provides long-term cognitive benefits. Breastfeeding for eight months or more resulted in a significant increase in the verbal and performance IQ scores in children at 7-8 years. 
· Breastfeeding for at least 16 months substantially reduced their risk of premenopausal breast cancer.
· When breastfeeding you burn up to an extra 500 calories per day.
· The average amount of openings in the nipple is 9, with some even up to 18. Something completely random, but I had to add since I thought this was totally interesting.
· Breastfeeding exposes a baby to many different tastes and smells. Early exposure to different flavors influences a child
's acceptance of food later in life.   
· Breast feeding is energy efficient and there is less waste associated with it. 
· Breast milk is made as required to suit your baby. Formulas are made to suit every baby. 
· Breast feeding enhances maternal behavior through increased oxytocin release. 
· Breast feeding is a natural birth control as it naturally suppresses ovulation. 
· Breast milk aids in more protection against ear infections, respiratory illnesses, pneumonia, bronchitis, kidney infections, meningitis, botulism, childhood lymphoma, crohn
's disease and ulcerative entercolits. 
· Breast milk is free.
· Moms miss less time off from work due to child related illnesses.  
· Nursing promotes facial structure development, enhanced speech, straighter teeth and enhances vision. 
· The cells, hormones, and antibodies in breast milk provide a unique protection from illnesses.
This post is intended to support mothers that breastfeed. It’s not to blame, criticize, or fault mothers who use other forms of nutrition. Whether we breastfeed, formula feed or do both – we are all mothers who occasionally need support and encouragement. Please use discretion when commenting on this post, as I will not allow defamatory, hurtful comments.
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