Sunday, April 27, 2008

how long to breastfeed?

Thumper is 7 months old today and I finally got some chance to research how to feed her. This led me to researching breastfeeding.

Lots of people say breastfeeding is good because:
  1. Babies need the antibodies the first 6 months.
  2. The World Health Organization recommends up to 2 years and longer if baby wants to!
  3. supposedly it helps them not get sick as often
  4. supposedly it cuts down on ear infections
  5. supposedly babies can get what they need nutritionally all from breastmilk for 1st year and 25%-50% second year.
  6. You save on the cost of formula.
Kelly Mom has a whole section on why breastfeeding long term is good.

But I've always wondered about this long term feeding recommendation though. It makes sense for the WHO to recommend 2 years or beyond because a lot of people in this world live in countries where they have poor nutrition. It's conceivable that people feed up to 4-5 years because it helps make the baby feel full when solid food isn't available or enough. It makes sense to think breastmilk would have more nutrition than what the child would eat if they didn't breastfeed. But what about in Western countries where we eat fairly well to begin with and if we try, we can eat really well nutritionally too? Do we then really need to breastfeed that long?

In my search, I came across two articles that I thought were really interesting. The first one is titled Successful Breastfeeding....and successful alternatives. It talks about how nutritionally, breastmilk isn't necessarily as good as people tout it to be, as it DOES depend on the mother's diet. That the Western diet has a lot of transfat in it (pre-packaged food, fast food), which is bad for the baby.

The second article is titled Diet for Nursing and Pregnant Mothers The diet recommendation was an eye opener, much better than the normal "take prenatal vitamins, eat balanced, nutritions meals".

I think I'm going to continue to breastfeed past 1 year, as it's very cost effective to do so. But I need to make more changes to my diet. No more fried food (transfat), no more nitrites/nitrates filled food (hotdog, salami, etc). Back to drinking whole milk and more fish, eggs, and bone soup Fat is very important to baby's diet as it aids brain development.

Yikes! more cooking!

1 comment:

Les said...

Thanks for getting back to me on the breech thing. Fortunately, so far the baby has turned back--I sitll worry a little that she'll do it again, but so far so good! Now just to get her out of me!!!! (7 days and counting til due date...)