By The Welcome Baby Care Doulas
Of course, we support all feeding choices. We are doulas. We are cheerleaders. We support many families and a wide variety of parenting styles. Your baby, after all.
We are not insanely anti-formula, but—as you would expect—would prefer to help a mother breastfeed if she wants to and is able.
Most are able.
We all know the benefits of breastfeeding—antibody transfer for baby, brain development, tailor-made nutrition, bonding, lower breast cancer rates for mom, quicker baby-weight loss. It’s good stuff.
As postpartum caregivers, one of our favorite benefits of breastfeeding is the positive effect on Mom’s mood. Breastfeeding demands a lengthy rest—feet up, snack and water at hand, perhaps a favorite TV show, skin on skin with the baby. It slows Mom down and allows an enjoyment of the simple pleasures. It allows time to enjoy her baby!
Pregnancy, postpartum, and nursing are guided by hormone fluctuations—for better or worse. The hormones involved in breastfeeding are the best! Prolactin relaxes the mother. It’s like an injection of mild chamomile tea. The stress-hormones in breastfeeding mothers are lower. And of course with nursing comes oxytocin—the love hormone. Oxytocin is that sigh of relief—that softening—as you hug a dearly missed loved one after a long separation. It is holding hands in the movie theater as a teenager. It is your honeymoon. It is your new baby.
The hormones of breastfeeding make moms happy. It’s that simple.
We are most interested with this positive effect because we see too many moms struggling with depression. We see too many moms who take on too much and forget to take a break.
Of course, breastfeeding mothers deal with depression too. Breastfeeding is not a vaccine for mood disorders. However, breastfeeding can expedite the recovery from postpartum depression and it can lessen the baby blues. This is one of the many reasons we work so hard to help new moms get it right. We are—above all—passionate about keeping moms happy!
As with all things baby, every little thing helps. The neighbor’s casserole, the talk with a friend, a grandmother’s visit. Breastfeeding helps new moms feel better.
Maybe nursing isn’t for everyone. We’re completely OK with that. Given the mood boost it gives the new mother, we just ask that you think long and hard about weaning before actually starting the process. You can always move to bottle feeding, at any time. It’s hard to find your way back to breastfeeding once it’s gone. Just as there is a bliss that comes from the nursing mother’s happy hormone party, there can be a significant sadness in letting go…