Something I wanted to record before I forget – what breastmilk does, other than feeding your baby.
Well, the obvious – for the first 6 months, it boosts your baby’s immune system. While I did get a cold or two, Timothy never picked them from me, getting all the antibodies for my cold in my milk.
But there is more!
Breastmilk is sort of a painkiller. Your baby stops crying not only because the closeness and warmness soothes him – it actually helps! One of the best advice I got was to nurse my son during an immunization shot. It a) distracts and b) helps alleviate the pain. I breastfed him each and every time he got his shots (at 2, 4, 6, and 9 months) – and he barely ever cried. Sometimes he didn’t even notice the shot – he just went on eating as if nothing happened. Sometimes he would let go of the breast for 3-5 seconds to cry out in indignation – and then clamp back on. It was awesome!
I don’t know whether that is connected, but he never had a fever following a shot. Cranky – sure. Especially after the 4-month shot (and I heard from other moms the 4-month one was the toughest). Timothy was cranky for a whole week after that one. But never fever, never anything really bad. I loved it!
Breastmilk’s immunization superpowers make it the best to put on baby acne, baby scratches, into baby’s eye with a clogged duct (Timothy had a blocked duct for the first 3.5 months of his life), etc., etc. And on your cracked nipples. And your sores, too. Milk is awesome!
And then when you think about it… nursing a baby means holding him in your arms for an average 8 hours a day in those first months. That’s a lot of love and nurture, if you ask me. I never co-slept, I always tried to put Timothy down as soon as he would stop eating, getting him used to sleep and nap on his own – but he still spent at least 8 hours a day in my arms.