Originally Posted by Lauren Kinghorn on Happy Human Pacifier on 9 February 2016
We met Dr. Ilana Joubert by happy accident...
We were out for tea and a playdate one morning, when Benjamin was about 20 months old. There was a bicycle leaning against a wall. Naturally, Ben had to investigate. I spotted what he was up to seconds too late, just in time to witness him pulling the bicycle on top of himself. He landed up with a bad gash just above his eye, which of course meant lots of blood spurting out. What a shock! I rushed him to the closest emergency room (Parklands Intercare), to see if he needed stitches.
Enter – Dr. Ilana Joubert. I asked the Doctor if I could nurse Benjamin, as that was the only thing calming him down. It was too awkward while Dr. Joubert was patching Benjamin up, but she was happy for me to feed him before and after. We were both upset and in shock, Ben was screaming, and were all grateful for the magical calm that descended as Ben fed.
Dr. Joubert commented to the nurse assisting her: “you see how valuable breastfeeding is in these cases.” She went on to explain that her 3rd child was also still feeding, with no sign of letting up, and she was 2 years old. That was the moment I decided Dr. Joubert would become our new family Doctor.
I was just as thrilled when Dr. Joubert agreed to write this article… enjoy!
Did I intend to breastfeed for a total of 7 years? No!! Was it worth every second in the end? Absolutely!
“I’m totally in love with breastfeeding”
Its most certainly the best thing I ever did, I’m totally in love with breast feeding and would never understand that a mother of a newborn wouldn’t even want to give it a try!!
People are prepared to spend thousands to conceive, seeing specialists, in vitro fertilisation, or natural pregnancy. Then they spend more money on decor for the baby room, special unnecessary baby monitors and breathing pads, expensive prams etc. But heaven forbid spending a second of my own time on this special new little person I have wanted so badly and planned for so long!!
I believe this is one of the biggest reasons why new mothers do not want to engage in breastfeeding or don’t last even a few months. Selfishness is so part of our very nature, and of society today. It’s all about me, my time, my body, my freedom… breastfeeding sadly ends up at the bottom of the priority list for many!!
I’m prepared to pay lots of money for lots of gadgets, as long as it doesn’t involve me spending my time, sacrificing one year of my life to feed and be close to my new baby most hours of the day!! People can’t wait to ship baby off to their own room, do sleep training and get baby on formula milk, so they can resume their lives as per usual. As if the biggest life changing event in your life, and relationship hasn’t happened!!
“As a career driven Medical Doctor, I of course, had it all planned out…”
Have I made these mistakes myself? I have indeed. As a career driven Medical Doctor, I of course, had it all planned out. I will breastfeed for 4 months (I wanted to try at least), and will then, put baby in a nursery and wean them onto formula, so I can resume my life, my career, my social “responsibilities”, my gym training etc.!!
But because my “ difficult” baby refused a pacifier, any plastic bottle “boob replacements” and only slept peacefully in my arms or in my bed, I engaged in a war that went against all grains of nature and one I certainly didn’t win!!
But after about 9 months I started to surrender to what she needed and wanted. I realised “this too shall pass”. I reasoned, what is 1 year of my entire life, to go slower, slow enough to incorporate my breastfeeding baby in all aspects of my life in order to accommodate for what she needed at the time.
And all she needed was…ME!!
As soon as I stopped forcing my baby into a stupid sleeping routine and feeding routine generically designed by other people who have never even met her or know what she likes and dislikes, there suddenly was no war any longer!!
“I started feeding on demand…moved baby into my bed… she was content, in baby heaven!!”
I started feeding on demand, introduced solids as per protocol (never forcefully though), moved baby into my bed. I can appreciate that co-sleeping is not for everyone, but since that day, me and baby and the rest of the house could have sound nights of good sleep, with baby sneakingly taking little night-caps as and when she needed, while I never even had to really wake up, or get out of bed, or rock my little girl to sleep. She was content, in baby heaven!!
That led to me waking up refreshed in the morning, being able to go to work, not tired and grumpy, and able to cope much better on a day to day basis.
Yes, I didn’t sleep away from baby for the first year. Yes, I had to feed in public behind bookshelves and clothing rails on the floor, or underneath a blanket in restaurants. My social life certainly wasn’t what it was before!!
But guess what, I discovered it’s not forever. And it’s such a small price to pay for one of the best investments you can ever make for your child!!
And today, after having fed 3 little super healthy/content/intelligent/ emotionally secure little girls for 2.5 years each, I am free to go out again as much as ever, pursue a busy career, train 5 days a week, and have a life as good as ever before kids!!
Benefits? Endless… here are a few, off the top of my head…
- Cheap, easy, accessible at any time or place
- Very rarely sick, no need for added vitamins
- Well-nourished baby, no constipation
- Hours of sweet cuddles and love
- Happy, content, never crying little infants
- Breast milk contains antibodies that help your baby fight off viruses and bacteria
- Breastfeeding lowers your baby’s risk of having asthma or allergies
- Co-sleeping and breastfeeding significantly lowers the rate of SIDS(sudden infant death syndrome or cot death) by 50%
- Exclusively breastfed babies also have a lower incidence of ear infections, respiratory illnesses and diarrhoea!!
- Breastfed babies also have a reduced risk of long term conditions such as type 1 Diabetes, celiac disease and Crohn’s disease and even some childhood cancers (lymphoma)!!
- Breastfed babies also have a better antibody response to vaccines than formula-fed babies!!
- Breastfeeding acts like a natural tranquilliser for baby…breast milk contain chemicals that seem to work like “knock out drops” for tired babies.
- Even if baby doesn’t fall asleep, he will certainly calm down and become more agreeable
- If you choose to breastfeed into toddlerhood you may find that the “terrible twos “ never materialise!!
- Breastfed babies were shown to have better cognitive development
- The psychomotor and social development of breastfed babies clearly differs from that of bottle fed ones and leads at the age of 12 months to significant advantages of the psychomotor and social capabilities
- Breastfed children are protected against mental health problems and addictions
- Breastfed children tend to be higher in intelligence and more emotionally secure than children who were not breastfed!!
- Breast milk contains 200 fatty acid chains, including DHA/ARA that the brain needs for development.
- It provides growth factors, enzymes, minerals, vitamins, fat, carbohydrates, protein and water
- Breast milk changes composition throughout the day, from feeding to feeding, from mother to mother, to adapt to the needs of the child!!
So after a mouth full, though far from everything that could possibly said about breastfeeding, I can say from personal experience that “while breastfeeding may not seem the right choice for every parent, it most certainly is the best choice for every baby-“ Amy Spangler
A newborn baby has only three demands. They are:
- warmth in the arms of its mother
- food from her breasts, and
- security in the knowledge of her presence.
Breastfeeding satisfies all three!