The breast-feeding experience varies from woman to woman and child to child. My first son spent his first week of life in the NICU, where he often received formula, but I also breast-fed him. I never would have made it breast-feeding that first week if it weren’t for the help of the NICU nurse and the lactation consultants at the hospital. I highly recommend moms taking advantage of their services, especially first-time moms.

Now my son is 3 years old and I have 4 month old baby boy, who nurses almost exclusively and you can tell looking at him. This second time around has been much easier. He latched on immediately and didn’t taste formula until he was two weeks old. However, I still remember all the pumping and frequent visits from the nurses and lactation specialists while I was in the hospital with my oldest.

Did you know that many health insurance carriers will cover some of your lactation needs? Those oh-so important lactation consultations and even breast pump purchases or rentals may be covered under your insurance. So don’t give up on breast-feeding because your baby isn’t latching on properly and it hurts or because you have to go back to work, you may be able afford the help you need now. Check with your agency or insurance company to find out exactly what they cover.

Here are a few reasons why so many moms are choosing to breast-feed:

  1. Breast-feeding reduces the risk of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome).
  2. It can reduce the risk of infections (in the ear, respiratory, gastrointestinal and urinary tracts).
  3. It helps protect baby from diabetes, allergies and obesity.
  4. Breast-fed babies have a lower risk of developing asthma.
  5. Breast-feeding also helps mom’s uterus contract back down to its original size.
  6. It can also help protect women from postpartum depression and massive uterine bleeding.
  7. It can also help reduce the risk of mother’s developing breast, uterus or ovarian cancer.

To find out more about the benefits of breast-feeding, check out La Leche League and WebMD.

Alistair, my bean pole and Wesley, my little meatball.