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Commentary: Why I Chose To Breastfeed

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Breastfeeding is saving my baby's life. According to the Pediatrics journal released today, breastfeeding could be saving yours and thousands of other babies too. The report says "the United States incurs $13 billion in excess costs annually and suffers 911 preventable deaths per year because our breastfeeding rates fall far below medical recommendations." The journal also states if families would make longer commitments to breastfeed, beyond three months, costs and preventable infant deaths would decrease. For me, a new breastfeeding mom, I've made a personal commitment to do so until my daughter is one. But I didn't need the Pediatrics journal as motivation. I long heard breastfeeding was the absolute best source of nutrition for babies. Breast milk may help protect against: obesity, allergies, childhood leukemia, type 1 diabetes, colic, ear infections, respiratory problems and SIDS. Not to mention it may boost a child's IQ. If a mother is able, why wouldn't she want the best for her baby? I will admit I doubted my decision to breastfeed after my daughter's birth last January. Although I took a breastfeeding workshop weeks before I delivered, the first hours, then days, then weeks of breastfeeding were painful and confusing. In the hospital, every other nurse had a different view on breastfeeding. One warned me of cracked nipples and bleeding and wondered why I'd want that pain. Another chastised me for succumbing to formula when I couldn't get my baby to latch on successfully. In the wee hours of afterbirth, I only wanted my daughter comforted as quickly as possible. But what I really needed was a 24/7 lactation consultant. Lucky for me I received the help (finally!) of a compassionate nurse and pediatrician. Through them I found the determination and confidence to make the full commitment. They walked me through proper positioning and confirmed that yes, it hurts, but as my nipples toughened, it would get better. And it did. I'm proud to say since my daughter was three days old she's been exclusively breastfed.   This is not to say breastfeeding has been blissful. I haven't quite figured out how to gracefully feed her in public. Taking time to pump eats (pun intended) into my work day. Nursing bras and tank tops are just not sexy. The older women in my family make sly comments that my milk isn't enough and I need to supplement with formula. My wardrobe solely consists of button-down shirts, wrap tops and plunging necklines (which isn't too bad given my new breast size). But these setbacks are minor compared to the benefits it brings my daughter. TELL US WHAT YOU THINK: Why or why didn't you breastfeed? Do you believe in the benefits of breastfeeding? Click Here to read more with Cori Murray.

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