Through my nursing journey, I researched the scientifically proven benefits to nursing, and it truly is amazing for mom and baby! However, I came across some of my own unexpected and sometimes comical benefits by chance, and they are oh so worth sharing. Here they are:
1. You always have clean bras. I know what you’re thinking, how is that possible when milk leaks out and babies are messy eaters and such? Well, that’s all true, but when your choices are smell like sour milk or wear wash repeat, you’re likely to launder much more frequently.
2. Breast milk is the cure for everything, maybe even cancer. Scrapes, sores, rashes, I’ve even heard pink eye. Spray that stuff on anything and it heals in record time. When Aspen came down with this horrible drawn out rash last December, I started using breast milk on it and it was gone within 2 days, markedly better within hours. For larger jobs, it’s probably better to pump ;)
3. You can get out of doing dishes. Or pretty much anything else when it’s time to nurse. Dishes are best because by the time you cook and eat dinner, chances are it has been long enough that baby needs to eat so you get a break. Enjoy it.
4. You get to go to church in a recliner. At least, at our church, the nursing room is equipped with big fluffy rocking chairs, a monitor to watch the sermon, and a changing table.
5. You can make a game out of nursing in public, especially if you have an Ergo. Sometimes I walked around Target with my nursing cover on totally conspicuous and making people uncomfortable, and sometimes I had Aspen secretly nursing in the Ergo and would see if anyone seemed to notice or react. I even nursed walking around Chinatown SF.
6. You can be lazy. I mean for being a parent anyway. There’s nothing to wash, hardly anything to pack in your diaper bag (maybe you don’t even need one!), it’s readily available, doesn’t need heated up, and when baby is in your room, you can just roll over and let them eat then roll back when they are done. Seriously, I don’t like washing things or losing sleep.
7. You can’t forget it at home! My sister lives way out of town ( it’s really only 25 miles away) and I remember her driving home one day with all 3 of her young children and calling me to run a bottle of water out to her car because her newborn was inconsolable and she was out of water to mix his bottle. It was so sad, and while this can very possibly happen to a nursing mom in the car too, I have absolutely crawled in the backseat and nursed on the side of the road more than once.
8. Excuse my language, but your body is a freaking wonderland. I’m not sure this is what good ole John had in mind with his song, but it would come to me all the time as my body performed amazing feats during pregnancy, childbirth and nursing. I mean, your body provides 100% of the nourishment for this tiny human for 40+ weeks (41 for me) during pregnancy and then another solid 6 months before starting solids. As my fifth month of nursing came to a close and I knew food was imminent, I would look at Aspen and reflect, telling my husband “everything about her, every hair and roll and squishy piece is there because my body provided it for her.” If you want to feel empowered and love your body for the miracle it is, nurse!
[another friend named Jessica. Baby Avery clearly shares my sentiments on nursing]
9. It doesn’t stink! I know I made the comment about sour milk before, but really, breast milk is mostly quite pleasant. Have you ever smelled formula? We had to in our Bradley method class, and it was disgusting.
10. You can’t prop it up and walk away. My most favorite of all the unexpected benefits is having a built in 15 minute break throughout the day when I’d have to stop, snuggle Aspen in and devote all my attention to her sweet face. I can’t imagine all the love and bonding we would have missed out on if she could have held her own bottle or if I was otherwise removed from her feeding times.