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Ten Reasons to Breastfeed
(and Ten Reasons Why Most Women Don't)

Virgin and Child

"Feeding synthetic human milk is not a neutral lifestyle choice. It is a critical maternal-infant health decision with monumental implications." -- Katie Allison Granju

Ten Reasons to Breastfeed

  1. That's what breasts are for. Unfortunately, many societies have sexualized the breast to the point where mothers don't feel comfortable breastfeeding. Trust your body. We have breasts for a very important reason - to feed our young.
  2. Breastfeeding helps promote the bond between mother and child. When a woman breastfeeds, hormones are produced in her body that help her relax and bond with her baby.
  3. Breastmilk contains immunities that are passed to your child. Breastfed children get sick less often. Breastfed children get fewer ear infections, childhood lymphomas, and diabetes.
  4. Breastmilk composition changes from week to week, from day to day, from hour to hour, and during a feeding. It is always the perfect food for your child.
  5. Breastfeeding raises children's IQs.
  6. Breastfeeding reduces your chance of getting breast cancer and your daughter's chance of getting it as an adult.
  7. Breastfeeding is great for the environment. The production and consumption on formula uses a great deal of resources and produces a huge amount of waste.
  8. Breastfeeding lowers the risk of SIDS.
  9. Breastmilk tastes great. Have you tasted formula? It's awful. Try drinking an 8 ounce glass of it before you give it to your baby.
  10. Breastmilk is free, always available, always at the right temperature, and never goes bad.

Ten Reasons Why Women Don't Breastfeed*

  1. "I was raised on formula and I'm just fine."

  2. Chances are the formula you were given is no longer considered a fit food for infants. Do you want to take the same chance with your child?
  3. "I want my husband to bond with the baby too."

  4. There are many ways to bond with a baby, including holding, playing, and changing diapers. You will find that your baby keeps you both very busy, and any time spent with a baby is time for bonding.
  5. "I don't want to ruin my figure."

  6. Contrary to popular opinion, breastfeeding will not make your breasts sag. Sagging is mostly caused by heredity.
  7. "It's just not me."

  8. Your baby doesn't know that. She thinks it's perfect for her. Try it for 6 weeks. You might find out having a baby changes you and it really is you. Or if you don't like it, you can switch to formula and your baby will have gotten some invaluable health benefits.
  9. "I have to go back to work."

  10. There are many ways to combine employment and breastfeeding. For more information (and a sample letter you can use to request that your employer set up a space for pumping), visit this site.
  11. "I don't want to be tied down."

  12. Breastfed children are very portable! It is much easier to go out without all the paraphernalia you need for formula feeding.
  13. "My breasts are too small (or large)."

  14. Breast size has nothing to do with the underlying milk producing structures.
  15. "It hurts."

  16. If it hurts, then you most likely do not have the baby positioned correctly. Contact La Leche League or a lactation consultant for help. Breastfeeding is a learned skill. It takes a little time for the breastfeeding pair to get good at it.
  17. "Well, if you only need to do it for 6 weeks why should I start?"

  18. Breastfeeding provides benefits to the mother and child for as long as you do it. The American Academy of Pediatrics breastfeeding policy statement recommends exclusive breastfeeding (no water, glucose water, formula, etc.) starting as soon as possible after birth and for the first 6 months of life, and continued breastfeeding for at least the first year of life and thereafter for as long as mutually desired. The World Health Organization recommends breastfeeding for at least two years. Around the world it is not unusual to find children breastfed for several years or more.
  19. "I don't want to do it in public."

  20. Feeding your child is the most natural thing in the world. It is terrible that we are asked to hide when we breastfeed. Every time you breastfeed in public, you are helping to change this. If discretion is important to you, there are products that can help you nurse discretely.

Women should not feel guilty if they are unable to breastfeed, but they *should* feel guilty if they are unwilling to do so, and they should be intellectually honest enough to know the difference.


Breastfeeding information: Breastfeeding products:
"[Breastfeeding] is such a spectacular survival strategy that we call ourselves, after the mammary gland, mammals . . . animals that suckle their young." -- Gabrielle Palmer, The Politics of Breastfeeding