Talking to MomBoss About Breastfeeding
by lisa derringer.
The World Health Organization recommends that mothers, regardless of whether they are working or staying-at-home, breastfeed their baby for the first 6 months of their life. Breastfeeding is considered the ideal when it comes to how and what a mother should feed their baby.
Like most topics in the mommy world, the discussion of breastfeeding versus formula feeding can create some strong opinions and much debate. This debate is typically among mothers, but those of us in the childcare field, specifically nannies, may have learned to form our own opinion on this topic. Some mothers may look with frustration at a nanny who is talking about how and what to feed a baby that is not their own. What these mothers may not know is that nannies have a unique opportunity to work with multiple children and see the ins and outs of feedings. The nanny may not have previously breastfed, but they can speak to how it has affected a child they have cared for. If as a nanny you work closely with a mother who is preparing for the arrival of another little one, you may find yourself in the midst of a discussion on breastfeeding versus formula feeding. If you have the opportunity to openly talk with your MomBoss about whether or not she plans to breastfeed, here are some all-around benefits for both baby and mom that you can educate her on.
1. Breast milk has significant health benefits for the baby. Tara White, a birthing Doula with Silly Stork Birth Services, says some of the health benefits include, “protection from illness, lower risk of respiratory infections, asthma, obesity, type 1 and type 2 diabetes, and childhood leukemia.” On top of the possible long term health benefits for baby, there are also some more immediate benefits. White adds that, “breast milk is also much easier to digest than formula, extremely rich in nutrients and changes as the baby grows to meet his/her changing caloric needs.”
2. While health benefits for the baby are first priority, Mom experiences a number of wellness perks as well. Some moms may say it is too hard or too time consuming, but the possible personal health benefits may change Mom’s mind. “Mothers who breastfeed are at lower risk for type 2 diabetes, breast cancer, ovarian cancer and postpartum depression,” White comments. “Some studies suggest that it also aids in losing the pregnancy weight.” Along with some of the health and weight related benefits, White mentions that breastfeeding is, “also 98% effective as a form of pregnancy prevention for the first six months after the birth of the baby.”
3. There is also an emotional benefit to breastfeeding as the health and well-being of both mom and baby can be negatively impacted if emotional elements are missing from their relationship. A bond between a mother and baby is precious, and if a mother works outside the home, those mother and baby bonding moments are even more precious. Breastfeeding is a moment that only a mother can share with her child. Skin-to-skin time helps create that bond and boosts emotional well-being. White says, “The time spent skin to skin, cuddling, while breastfeeding increases the oxytocin levels in both mom and baby. Oxytocin is often referred to as the love hormone because it produces the warm, fuzzy feelings and facilitates bonding.” A nanny can feed baby a bottle, bathe baby, and even change baby’s diapers, but at the end of the day a mother is the one that provides baby with that special skin to skin contact time a baby can only receive through time spent breastfeeding.
4. One must not forget the financial and time-saving benefits not to be missed in making the decision to breastfeed. “Breast milk is also free!” White says. “Formula is really expensive and a lot more time consuming when you have to get up in the middle of the night to mix and heat bottles.” Less mess during those early, middle-of-the-night feedings means hopefully more sleep for Momma.
Ultimately, however, each mother needs to make the final decision as to where they stand in the breastfeeding versus formula discussion. There are a variety of reasons why a mother may choose not to breastfeed her child and it is not our job as a nanny to judge that decision. Instead, it is our job to be educated on the topic so that if asked, we can offer up information as a professional resource for a mom in need. Anything more and a nanny risks not only insulting a mother’s judgment, but also ruining her relationship with her MomBoss. Regardless of what the mother chooses, she will not be making this decision at the cost of her baby.
If you or someone you know is on the fence about breastfeeding and looking for more advice, there are plenty of valid resources to be found. The World Health Organization has facts and figures on breastfeeding from before the baby is born until they are ready to wean. The La Leche League is another wonderful source for all things breastfeeding. There are local groups all around the world, with knowledgeable and dedicated leaders that can give not only information about breastfeeding, but also physical and emotional support if you and/or your baby are struggling to make breastfeeding work. Don’t be afraid to reach out if you or a mother you know are in need!