Lately, our almost-seven-year-old daughter has taken to nursing her baby doll at the dinner table. “She’s hungry,” our daughter proclaims. “I can feed her even while I’m eating!”
Oh, how many evening meals I spent doing the very same thing. Good thing I’m ambidextrous when it comes to eating.
Of course the meaning behind this is much more profound: Ellie witnessed her two younger brothers being breastfed as infants and, I assume, there’s some sort of cellular memory of her own breastfeeding days from her infancy. She has clearly embedded these experiences into her concept of “normalcy” and is now acting this out with her dolls. The hope, of course, is that she will grow up to be a breastfeeding mama if, and when, her life takes her down the road of motherhood.
Anyway, you’d have to oblivious as a doorstop in this day and age if you haven’t come to understand the various benefits of breastfeeding for the child: decreased ear infections; decreased risk of developing: diabetes, asthma, eczema, allergies, obesity…the list goes on and on. (As a side note, two of our three breast-fed kids have asthma and eczema, respectively. The breastfeeding protection isn’t necessarily fool proof–likely because there’s a heck of a lot of STUFF in our environment that predisposes kids to things like allergies and asthma.)
Two of the latest findings regarding benefits of breastfeeding for the woman are protection against breast cancer and heart disease–metabolic syndrome, to be exact. Check out this article on EmpowHer.com. It does a great job reviewing a study started in 1985 that included 1,400 women and revealed a HUGE drop in heart disease-related illness in the moms who breast fed for greater than nine months. (The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends breastfeeding a child for a minimum of one year. The World Health Organizations recommends at least two years.)
Some estimates suggest that nearly 1 in five Americans have metabolic syndrome–or the precursors to it– and, at last count (per the National Cancer Institute) there were 192,370 new cases of breast cancer diagnosed this year…accompanied by over 40,000 deaths by the same disease. Knowing these statistics, wouldn’t you make any choice you possibly could to lower your risk of these entities?
Thankfully, there are LOTS of folks out there researching, raising money and awareness for things like breast cancer and heart disease-related illnesses. One such group, in Portland, Oregon, did their part by creating the following video. Enjoy.