Did you know the average age that women stop breastfeeding in the U.S. is 3 months? Before I get into this post, I want to say that I know there are a number of circumstances that prevent a mother from nursing. I get it, I think you’re still a great mom if you choose not to breastfeed. With that said, there are milk banks all around the country where mothers donate or sell their breast milk, so formula isn’t the only option if you can’t nurse yourself. The suppliers go through blood tests and screenings so that you know the milk you receive will still benefit your baby and be free of drugs, alcohol, disease, etc..This isn’t all that new either, since many people had wet nurses centuries ago who breastfed babies other than their own. A baby’s body is designed to only drink breast milk in those first few months of life. Some moms claim it’s just too hard, others lose their milk supply, and if the mom doesn’t continue or isn’t able to pump throughout the day, formula is often used as it’s replacement. But did you know that most popular formula brands contain GMOs? This means that the ingredients going in your baby’s bottle of formula are artificially made with foreign genes that come from bacteria, viruses, insects, animals or sometimes even humans. Additionally, most of the crops, like soy, found in most baby formula’s are grown with pesticides that have been shown to be carcinogenic and causes infertility in lab rats. Another scary fact is that formula feeding has doubled infant deaths in America. This can be due to the fact that formula doesn’t provide immunity like breast milk does. Aside from breast milk being the best method for feeding your little one, breastfeeding plays a bigger role than you think, so if you have the option to choose a bottle or boob, choose the boob! Even if it’s just once or twice a day, and then a bottle of pumped milk the other times, it can do wonders for your baby. This is huge because while it helps the baby and mother bond and can reduce postpartum depression, when a baby is sick, their saliva sends a message to the mother’s body that they need extra antibodies! How amazing is that? It’s a mom’s superpower. You could say I’m a bit of a breastfeeding advocate.
Roen will be 20 months next week, which means we’re only 4 months away from making it to 2 solid years of nursing. It’s actually shocking to me how many people comment on it. The most common response I get is “you’re still nursing?” Yes, I’m still nursing, because my son isn’t ready to wean yet, and although it can be a bother at times, I’m not ready for him to be done either. I get double the cuddle time, it’s an instant comfort for when he gets hurt or is sick, and above all, he is still receiving the extra antibodies. In fact, breastfed children will continue to receive antibodies and nutrients for as long as they nurse. The World Health Organization and UNICEF strongly encourage breastfeeding through toddlerhood: “Breastmilk is an important source of energy and protein, and helps to protect against disease during the child’s second year of life.” While in the U.S. the breastfeeding rate is low, the worldwide average age of weaning is age 4! Maybe that’s why our country has seen a spike in so many health issues among our children. So next time you see another mom breastfeeding past 12 months, give her a high-five, because they are doing the best thing for their baby!