Pia Mattix Davis
Five days ago, my nineteen month old son and I celebrated our nineteen month breastfeeding anniversary. Yay us! According to the Centers for Disease Control, fewer than 8% of 18 month olds living in the US were still being breastfed. The majority of nursing mothers ceased the practice after 9 months of age, which according to World Health Organization, and the American Academy of Pediatrics , is too early to quit.
Our Journey, while it has been wonderful, has encountered many complications. Sore nipples, seemingly nonstop nursing during growth spurts and the need to pump three times a day since I work full time have tested my resolve, but I am so proud that we persevered.
I must admit that even though breastfeeding provides optimal supplementary nourishment for my son, my desire to continue to breastfeeding is mostly selfish in origin.
1. Breastfeeding is free - Some moms might require nipple shields for a short period of time, but for us mom and baby were all that is required. Formula is no more expensive than regular food, but it is money that my hsuabnd and I did not have to spend.
2. Nursing reduces the rate of breast cancer - According to Yale School of Medicine researcher Tongzhang Zheng, breastfeeding reduced the risk of developing breast cancer by 50% among women in China. I am all about improving my health outcome, so why would I cease nursing.
3.Nursing burns calories - The average women burns 20 calories for every ounce of breastmilk created. The average child under the age of 12 consumes 24 to 36 ounces of breastmilk per day, that is 480 to 720 calories a day burned without ever stepping foot on a treadmill.
4. Nursing relieves stress - Oxytocin, known as the love hormone, which is released during nursing sessions, lowers the stress response compared to non-nursing mothers. At the end of the day, coming in an nursing my son instantly relaxes me and removes any stress that I might have accumulated during the day.
5. My son is still a baby - I have no desire to turn my son into a big boy. In time he will develop an extensive vocabulary and use a potty, but for now we are content to sit in the glider and nurse.