Jonathan is now six weeks old. He was born 4 weeks premature and breastfeeding, at first, was challenging. He was just too tired to latch on and suck for very long. The first couple days at the hospital, we supplemented my colostrum with formula.
benefits of breastfeeding
Days and nights we stayed up in the bracken pile, curled around one another, while I gave suck and licked and settled squabbles. They fed and slept and fed and squabbled, and I watched their small, sleek bodies plumping up with milk. Their eyes were shut, their small heads pushed into my flank, muzzles butting, jaws working hard in the rhythm of life, which is, at first, no more than suck and swallow.
From Fire, Bed & Bone, Henrietta Branford, Candlewick Press, 1998
Human milk is produced and delivered to the consumer without any pollution, unnecessary packaging or waste. Most of the focus on the environmental effect of newborns is concentrated on the debate between cloth vs. disposable diapers, but the environmental consequences of formula feeding have far greater impact.
Human milk contains carbohydrates, proteins, fats, minerals, vitamins and trace elements. So does infant formula. But the bioavailability (the amount of a nutrient that the body can actually absorb) of the nutrients in each fluid differs markedly.
Much rhetoric that exists stating that a newborn instinctively knows how to eat. That's bull! While you are learning to nurse your baby, he's learning the process of nursing. You both will have a learning curve that will be roughest the first initial days and nights of nursing- but you both are still learning.
Niesha, a young mother in Arizona, was nursing her three-week-old son in the baby department of a large discount store when the manager politely asked her to nurse in the bathroom because there were male customers who were their with their wives.
When my son was a six month-old, we had a big flood and lost power for two or three days. Trees were down so you couldn't get anywhere and none of the stores were open because they didn't have power.