Breastfeeding has been proven to be the safest, best food for babies- human milk for human babies. After all the formula companies have always tried to pattern their products after breastmilk and they are always finding more things in breastmilk that they did not know existed. The following are some of the hundreds of reasons why mothers choose to nurse a “normal” developing child:
-perfect balance of nutrients
-antibodies that protect against infection
-mothering hormones that are released
-reduced risk of getting allergies
-reduced risk of getting childhood lukimia
-reduced risk of childhood obesity
-reduced risk of breast cancer for mom and daughter
-reduced ear infections
While the follow benefits of breastfeeding are also very beneficial for normal developing children they are even more important for a child with special need.
-even eye, ear, brain development from being fed on both sides
-development of facial muscles needed for tooth alignment and eating solids
-helps with head shape-they have to turn sideways to breastfeed
-every nursing session is a therapy session for touch, feel, tongue placement, feeding, etc
-more money for other therapies
I found while I was nursing Melissa so many more reasons why nursing a child with special needs is so important. I do not feel that Melissa would be where she is today if she had not been nursed. We were told that there is a good chance that Melissa would be on a feeding tube if she had not had that constant stimulation she got from nursing. In the first few months of her life she slept for long periods of time because I was nursing her my body told me to nurse her. Then when she did nurse she nursed for hours a day. I knew this was not lack of breastmilk. Actually, Melissa wanted to suck constantly when she was awake. If she wasn’t nursing she was sucking on a pacifier, which usually had to be held in her mouth. This is what she needed. I am very grateful that I did not follow a feeding schedule with her! I made nursing her hours a day work by using slings and wraps to hold her while I did my work or shopping (see babywearing). Not only did Melissa not have an issue with touch she also has had a beautiful head which I contribute partially to wearing her on me for hours a day and being fed on both sides even when laying down. A nursing baby has to turn their head and body sideways to nurse at the breast.
For more information about breastfeeding check out the following websites:
information about all kinds of parenting issues from Dr Sears and his wife Martha who is an RN. They have 8 grown children.
Kelly is a LaLeche League Leader. She has a great website dedicated to answering questions about breastfeeding.
LaLeche League International is a non-profit organization established in the 50’s and is dedicated to educating the public about the benefits of Breastfeeding. They also have worldwide breastfeeding support groups that meet at least one time a month. LaLeche League keeps records of mothers who have successfully breastfed children with special circumstances that are willing to talk with other mothers like you.