Today the Miami Herald printed some news which doesn't surprise me. Findings published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, from research done by the University of Minnesota Cancer Center, confirms that breast-fed babies are 30 percent less likely to develop some forms of childhood leukemia, compared to babies that were bottle fed.
The longer babies were breast fed, the lower the risk and greater their protection. Even breast feeding for at least a month reduced the leukemia risk by 21 percent.
This is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg as far as breast feeding is concerned. Other benefits reported elsewhere include less tendency to have ear infections, less allergies later in life, and a stronger immune system. It is altogether the most important thing you can do for your baby. Yes, you can learn to breast feed. If you are pregnant or planning to have a baby soon, find one or more women that have breast fed and use them as a resource. Best, find one that is currently breast feeding and persuade her to let you watch a few times. This is a learned behavior and greatly psychological. Otherwise, if you haven't been around anyone who breast feeds, you may have a problem accomplishing this natural way of nourishing your baby.
Inquire ahead of time if your obstetrician and/or hospital provides trained assistance in learning to breast feed. Some are very offhand about it and will discourage you.
Another great resource is La Leche League, especially if you cannot find a good mentor or two among your friends, relatives and acquaintances who will coach you through the first few weeks.
Don't kick yourself later; make the effort. You'll be really glad you did later on.
Tell us your experiences; what helped you breast feed?