We all want what is best for our babies, for this reason many parents choose to breastfeed their new additions. Breastfeeding is the healthiest (in most cases), most natural option for your newborn.
Breastfeeding strengthens the immune system; studies have shown that breastfeeding helps reduce the chances of your child suffering from allergies, asthma, and other future ailments and diseases. It also helps to lower the risk of SIDS by as much as 50%. Studies also show that those who were breastfed as babies tend to be more intelligent later in life.
For these reasons I breastfed all three of my sons, in fact I chose to nurse them until after their first birthday. So I can say, from experience, that breastfeeding is not always easy!
My first son was born at 34 weeks and his sucking reflex was not fully developed so we had difficulty, but with help from a lactation consultant and a lot of determination we were able to persevere.
Once you have mastered latching on, your milk comes in. For me this was extremely painful. I am not a large chested woman (at 30 years old I proudly wear a 32A), so when my chest swelled to a 36DD over night I was not at all comfortable! Imagine having electrically charged bowling balls implanted into your chest. Yep, it was that bad!
At this point I really thought about switching to a bottle. Then I'd take a look at my little (5 pound) baby and the pain became worth it. Plus, your body gets used to lugging these new beauties around pretty quickly (the pain was tolerable within just a couple of days).
The next obstacle I had to overcome was sore nipples. I have tried to warn any new mother I know about this. Your nipples may crack and bleed, they may scab and they will at the very least get really sore. Nipple cream saved my life! When I received it at my baby shower I laughed, but when I pulled it out of my bathroom drawer at 2am I found it was the best shower gift of all.
With all of these challenges I still chose to nurse my second and third babies. I highly recommend breastfeeding to any and every mother. The bond you feel with your baby is amazing. For myself, I have never felt closer to another person as I did while nursing my boys. It is a bond, that once created, can never be broken and a love so strong at times it can overwhelm you. I know that all mothers love their children beyond belief; I feel that breastfeeding simply lifts this bond to another level.