I would first like to extend my thanks to Hana for allowing me to be a guest blogger tonight. Secondly I would like to introduce myself. My name is Danielle Gregory, and I am a SAHM (stay at home mom) with twin boys, Joshua and James, who will celebrate their first birthday tomorrow!
I had decided early on that I was going to breastfeed no matter what, but some people discouraged me saying that it would be too hard on me, and that I would never be able to do it. I was a little put off by the discouraging comments, but I decided to take on this challenge. I knew it was the BEST thing I could do for my babies, even if it was just for a few months. Breastfeeding was something that made so much sense to me for sooo many reasons. First of all, (and most importantly) breast milk is the best thing you can give your child; even the formula companies tell you that! There is no question about it, “The Breast is Best,” that’s how God designed it. He designed the woman’s body to carry a baby (or in my case two), and then produce the milk for him/her (or them). You don’t have to do anything, it just happens! And it is supply and demand, so the more you nurse the more milk you make, this is how I am able to nurse two babies. It is an amazing thing. I have to eat well to keep my body nourished, which is why I also take a nutritional product called Reliv (which I used as a prenatal as well). And just think, “No bottle prep!”
After having the babies, I had many looong nights trying to learn how to nurse properly as a first time mom, and the babies were learning as well. I had read all of this wonderful information about breastfeeding, but it was still SO HARD! I wanted to give up many times, but I would lay back in bed and say, “It will get easier,” and guess what? IT DID!! After two (tiring) months of nursing them separately, with the guidance of a lactation consultant, and a double Boppy pillow, I started nursing them at the same time. It made everything so much easier! Yes, it CAN be done. I had a great sense of accomplishment being able to nurse my babies, and provide for them the best nourishment I could. They will be one year old tomorrow and I have been exclusively nursing them this whole year! We started them on organic baby food at six months, and now they eat mostly what we have for dinner, as well as me nursing them.
I did some research, and according to Kathleen Huggins, registered nurse and lactation consultant, “the AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics) came out with a strong statement encouraging breastfeeding for at least the first year of life — and beyond.” (http://www.babycenter.com/404_i-still-breastfeed-my-18-month-old-son-my-mom-thinks-this-is_8879.bc )-11/14/09
She goes on to say:
What benefits are there to continued nursing after the first birthday? In December 1997 the AAP reported that at 12 months, a baby's immune system is about 60 percent developed. Breast milk, which even after a year is still loaded with protective antibodies, is a nutritious, healthy snack for toddlers— especially if she's a picky eater. (reference same as above)
Also, the WHO (World Health Organization) states that:
“Exclusive breastfeeding is recommended up to 6 months of age, with continued breastfeeding along with appropriate complementary foods up to two years of age or beyond.” (http://www.who.int/topics/breastfeeding/en/ )-11/14/09
As I read these recommendations I knew that nursing was not only what I wanted to do, but needed to do. You might be thinking -TWO YEARS, that is a really LONG TIME! Yes it does seem to be, but in the grand scheme of things, it’s not, and breastfeeding does so much good for your child. There is a TON of information about the benefits breastfeeding beyond a year, just Google it and check it out, you might just change your mind on two years being crazy.
Another reason I chose to nurse was money, or lack thereof. I was having two babies, and baby stuff is not cheap! Especially formula! I can only imagine how much money we would have thrown down the drain had we decide to use formula. It is something I won’t even think about!
Speaking of costs; my husband and I were also looking to cut back on the enormous expense of diapers. Holy cow are they expensive! And with us, we multiply everything by two. We started off using disposables because my babies were very little when they were born, and no cloth diaper that we had fit them yet! So for the first two months we used disposables, and I did not like it much. Every time I would throw one away I would think, “This will be another thing thrown in the ground that will always be there!” I did not even think about, or even know much about all of the awful things that were in them that my children were being exposed to! So despite the initial cost of purchasing them, we started using cloth diapers around three months, and the money we saved on not buying disposables far exceeded the cost of cloth. Granted, cloth diapers aren’t as easy, but there so much better for their little bottoms! Do we still use a disposable every once and a while? Yes. There are some times I am busy (a mom of twins, can you imagine!), and I run out of cloth diapers because we didn’t purchase enough for both babies, unless I do laundry ALL the time. With that said, the babies wear cloth about 85%of the time, and my goal is to make the next size cloth diapers we buy the last diapers we buy period. Hana has written a lot about diapers that really convicted me about how much better cloth are, and I am happy that I can do the best that I can for my babies little bottoms AND the environment.
Thank you for letting me share a little of my heart,