Breastfeeding is FEEDING and so much more!
When breastfeeding isn’t working, it is FEEDING, that isn’t working... and so much more! Breastfeeding: • Is the cornerstone of all development. It optimizes ALL other areas of development promoting optimal development and health across the lifespan
• Is probably THE earliest form of communication between mother and child, promoting eye contact and nuanced communication and expression. • Is one of the earliest and enduring co-occupations in history, and one of the first co-occupations a mother and child will engage in together. It is also one of the most calming, regulating and organizing sources of sensory input available to mother and child. Sensory feeding wise, it promotes less picky eating due to its ever changing taste. • Promotes total body symmetry, neck and trunk strength, optimizes use of many reflexes, and requires body symmetry and reflexes to function optimally. It is a whole body activity. (Torticollis and tortisoma can really negatively impact it.) • It promotes bonding of mother and child, dampens risk/symptoms of postpartum depression (producing feel good hormones... conversely when breastfeeding isn’t going well, it increases mother’s risk), and optimizes baby’s emotional development. • Breastmilk is a “brain grower”. Breastfed babies’ brains grow bigger and better, providing lifelong benefits. It also protects babies against colds, respiratory and GI illnesses, keeping babies healthier during crucial years of development. • It optimally seeds the gut, to promote maximal gut health, and research is proving it dampens the risk of autism, autoimmune disorders, diabetes, obesity, etc. • Is both a reflexive activity and a learned one. It is TEACHABLE and COACHABLE. In fact, many studies have shown that the vast majority of mothers learn best if you can coach them through it while modeling (with a babydoll and breast models), so that they work it out on their own. It is best to keep your hands OFF. Birth and breastfeeding helpers often call this “sitting on your hands”. • Is the biological norm. It is species specific, baby specific, made by human mothers, tailored specifically to the needs of her individual child. It is a dynamic, always changing fluid, changing in composition throughout each feed, throughout the day, throughout the months and years, and responding to the environment (such as warding off illness). It has thousands of different bioactive components, including stem cells, immune cells and healthy bacteria, and is more similar to blood than food! (It is nicknamed the “White Blood”.) These components and benefits don’t disappear at 12 months. Breastmilk continues to be a superfood for toddlers too. Oh, and it’s a form of feeding too! ... it is how humans were designed to feed as infants, providing not only nutrition and health benefits, but also maximizing jaw growth, palate growth, oral motor skills and facial symmetry- which are all, in turn, vital for airway functioning, sleep and mental health. *** Breastfeeding is a social justice issue too. Those with lower success rates tend to have a great deal more societal and historical barriers to success, and would stand to benefit the most from successful breastfeeding.