Practically every night, for the last 7+ years, I have sat on the couch and breastfed a baby to sleep. At some point during those evenings, I usually decide I'd like a cup of tea. The problem is that since I'm trapped under a sleeping baby, I can't get up and make said cup. So my wonderful, amazing, husband has done it for me. Every night. For 7+ years.
I asked him to put the kettle on the other day and it occurred to me, that although as much as I love that he does this for me, and I'm sure he doesn't hate it, it is not likely something that he would do so consistently if I wasn't nursing.
That got me thinking, there has to be some other benefits of breastfeeding that aren't listed on traditional channels. Things that are happy outcomes that nursing mothers can take advantage of, but not benefits doctors or health care providers would promote.
So here you go - My list of 11 Secret Benefits of Breastfeeding
2. Remember that whole 'eating for two' that happens during pregnancy? In order to maintain pre-pregnancy weight while breastfeeding the recommendation is that you continue to eat an extra 300-500 calories each day. That's basically an extra meal.
Now, you can certainly choose to be health conscious, make good choices all that. Or.....you can eat those calories in cookies and fancy coffee. Totally your choice.
Just for reference, there are 45 calories in an Oreo cookie. You know, for reference.
5. No one likes wiping bums. It's something we all do, because we have to, and if we didn't, things would smell. But lets be honest, right from that first meconium poop, this is NOT something you're looking forward to.
Guess what? It's really hard to wipe a bum when you're trapped under a nursing baby. It's tricky to do for an older child still in diapers but also for one who is older and just not interested in doing it themselves yet. Plus, you're doing all that work feeding the baby. Your partner needs to help in some way!
7. Math. Or lack of math. I am NOT a math person. Never was, never will be. I need a calculator to figure out basic equations. Know what needs math? Formula. You need to figure out how much to water and formula you need for each bottle. You need to plan how much to take when you're leaving the house. You need to think! Postpartum, I'm often lucky if I remember to put on pants, so just leaving the house with my baby is pretty much all I can handle.
9. One of my favorite things about breastfeeding is doing it lying down. It's so comfortable. I don't need to hold anything, baby is happy, I'm comfortable. And I'm lying down. Lying down often leads to sleeping. Sleeping is good. Extra sleeping (especially when you're up all night?) AWESOME!
10. Ask any parent, I'm pretty sure we all agree. The worst time of the day? Bedtime.
Until your kids come and give you a kiss and tuck themselves into bed, bedtime SUCKS. They want a story, and a glass of water and an extra trip to the bathroom and another cuddle, and can you just stay? Will you lie with me until I fall asleep? That story wasn't long enough. Can I have another one? He got a longer story than I did! That's not fair.
And on and on and on it goes.
When you're breastfeeding though, you're often doing that while all of this is happening.
You can maybe read a story, but tucking in? Getting a drink? That's up to someone else to do. You're off the hook!
So that's it - my list of 11 secret benefits of breastfeeding.
Are there others I forgot? Comment and let me know! I'd love to know your thoughts!