I was going to blog yesterday but then I got pretty sick... thankfully with the help of some essential oils, vitamin C, apple cider vinegar and honey, tylenol and sleep, I am feeling much better today. :) Colds are something that I throw everything at and wrestle to the ground with a vengeance. You have to jump on them as soon as they come or else they ruin your life.
Well, today I wanted to talk about something near and dear to my heart: breastfeeding. I know I talked about it last time and how to get your supply up and everything, but today I want to convince you of the beauty of this gift God has given us in how we feed our babies. :)
Some of the benefits of breastfeeding are:
-Immunities for your baby. Your baby is born with no immunities because they haven't been exposed to all the crap you have been. These immunities are passed on to the baby through your breast milk. This is especially important in the early phases 0-3 months because they are so small and their bodies are not very strong. Eventually they will need to develop their own immune system, but while they are still growing and developing it's very good for them to borrow yours.
-More intelligent children. Levi's pediatrician said that the way the baby has to get milk out of the breast makes their brains have to work harder and then creates smarter babies over bottle fed. (He knew of some study, but I don't know all the details)
-Extra calories burned for mama. ... Okay, I'm going to sort of explain this a little better. I got a comment on my last post about this one and so I've been mulling it over for a few days. Like I said in the beginning, everyone is different, metabolisms are different, bodies are different. I'm going to speak from personal experience, what I've heard from a majority of women and what I have researched. Maybe this will make things clearer.
When you breastfeed your body supposedly burns an extra 500 calories a day. I'm sure this varies from woman to woman depending on her metabolism and maybe how much/often she breastfeeds. Okay, so let's think about that, 500 calories ... it's kind of like going for a 5 mile run except you just get to sit and hold your baby instead. :) (Okay, I know not exactly like a huge run because that exercise is doing something to make your metabolism higher in general, so maybe more like a 3 or 4 mile run). Now think about the fact that 3500 calories burned is a pound of fat and so you have 7 days a week, that would be about a pound a week. It's not anything huge and drastic or miraculous, but it is something. I added on walks with Levi and I lost about 60 pounds in a year. Granted, some of that was baby. It was a slow, gradual process but it happened.
Now I'm going to write about my experience of breastfeeding along with regular moderate exercise. I breastfed a lot. We probably had about 8-10 feedings a day. If you are a new mom and that terrifies you, don't worry, your baby will become much more efficient in the feeding process. Honestly, during that year I remember telling Ben that I felt like I had the metabolism of a teenage boy. That sounds weird, I know. But I was hungry all the time. I was hungry when I should not have been hungry, like an hour after eating a meal or in the middle of the night. The good thing is that I could live with that kind of hunger, pregnancy hunger is way worse to try to live with. Pregnancy hunger is like, if I don't have something right now I'm going to faint or puke or something like that, this kind of hunger was just the regular stuff. My other confession: I ate a lot. Now, I didn't go on any binges, I also didn't eat huge meals all the time, but I definitely still ate ice cream (in moderation of course), I kind of lived off of peanut butter in the afternoons when I was busy cleaning the house and getting ready to fix dinner and Levi was at my feet. I could just grab a spoonful and it would help for a little while until we got to dinner. I was always surprised when I stepped on a scale because I didn't expect myself to lose the weight because of how much I was eating.
My main goal for weight loss was to just keep nursing, drink plenty of water, eat a variety of fruits and veggies, exercise 3-5 days a week, try to just move more by cleaning the house or playing with Levi or doing laundry, don't feel guilty about eating sweets, don't watch much TV (it's way more fun to keep TV and movies "special" that you would just watch with your husband.) ... and I think that's about it.
Another thing that I think effected how well I lost weight was my age. I'm just going to say this for all the girls out there who got pregnant in their twenties: you're going to have an easier time losing weight than if you waited. I am 27 years old, so I don't know this from experience but from what I have heard your metabolism changes around the age of 30. No, I'm not saying it plummets like a rock, but I have heard that it's more difficult to lose pregnancy weight after the age of 30. What does that mean? If you are in your 20's then be thankful for your higher metabolism and don't mess around, lose it while you can. If you are in your 30's it just means you will need to be a little more careful.
I think the problem with saying that breastfeeding makes the pounds just FALL off is that it can be misleading. No, you can't eat yourself into oblivion and lose all the weight, (in most cases) but it is a helpful tool in losing weight. It's just one more thing to raise the metabolism.
One more note to new first time moms: if you are struggling with breastfeeding, you are not alone. If you are struggling, know that it will not always be like this. For some reason when your newborn baby comes out they can be terrible at breastfeeding. They can't hold their heads up, they can barely see, they don't know where the breast is, they are not in control of their little arms so they will knock your boob away without knowing what they are doing. It's not easy. Plus, your nipples are sore, you are exhausted because they want to feed ALL night long, they take forever to burp and you are just not sure about this whole process.
Trust me, it gets better. Hang on for at least 6-8 weeks. Keep putting on that lanolin gel the lactation consultant gave you every chance you get and just persevere. Learn how to nurse while lying down in bed. (I like to have a pillow between my legs and one behind my back to help support. You can pretty much sleep while your little one just nurses away). At first the feedings will last 20-30 minutes on each side, but after a while they will be down to 10-15 minutes. You will eventually be able to nurse in the dark and it will be the easiest, most natural thing in the world.
If you really want to be a nurser I would suggest getting some good, comfortable nursing bras, a nursing cover and a good pump if you are going to work, or a decent pump if you are staying home.
here is THE BEST nursing bra, so comfy and underwires, no way jose. :)
here is an awesome place to get a good nursing cover.
The best brand to get a breast pump in is Medela
Gotta go, Aria is calling. :)