10 (Mildly Shallow) Reasons To Breastfeed


Reasons To Breastfeed

I breastfeed my kids. I’m passionate about it. I’m righteous about it. But I’m not entirely honest about it.

I advertise that I do it for the heartfelt and health-related reasons we’ve all heard from other moms and pediatricians a bazillion times. But come on. If there weren’t also some hardcore mama-centric reasons to let my kid nibble on my nips for a year, I’d never be able to endure the insane commitment. These are the reasons that see me through the worst breastfeeding days and get me to hang in there when I want to bail. They’re pretty damn shallow, but whatever. They get the job done. Need some reasons to breastfeed, too?

1. Milk boobs are awesome. Have you seen milk boobs? The new-mom, my-milk-just-came-in(!!) boobs? They’re glorious. They’re porn star glorious except they’re REAL. They’ll make even the staunchest feminist reconsider her rabid stance on breast augmentation. These fabulous tits were a fabulous surprise after my first child, and a highly anticipated perk (for both my husband and me) after my second.

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2. I don’t have to work out. My baby weight lost itself because breastfeeding burns 500-800 calories A DAY. Even my best workout when I was in my twenties and maintaining a hot college body to bring the boys to the yard didn’t burn 800 calories. How crazy would I be to opt out of something that burns a shitload of calories while I sit on my ass, snuggling my baby, in my thirties?

3. I don’t feel remotely guilty about what I eat. I need to replace the calories nursing burns otherwise my milk production decreases dramatically. So heeeelllllloooo, Smashburger. Thank you for contributing to the cause of better infantile nutrition. And yes, I would like a salted-caramel shake with that. It’s all in the name of milk production.

4. I can’t forget my breasts when I leave the house. I’ve forgotten diapers, clothes, blankets, binkies, the stroller, the entire diaper bag after spending 20 minutes packing it, and even the friggen baby, but I’ve never forgotten milk. If you don’t have kids, having one less thing to remember as you herd your family out the door may not seem significant. If you do have kids, you know how significant it is.

5. I get guaranteed breaks during crappy social functions. It is completely acceptable to excuse yourself from a party to nurse your child in private. Even though I don’t really care about privacy, I sometimes take advantage of this understanding to avoid awkward acquaintances and annoying relatives and go play Angry Birds or check Facebook for awhile.

6. Aunt Flo goes on sabbatical. Thanks to breastfeeding, I made it 50 weeks sans Aunt Flo after my daughter was born. My son just turned one and I’m still waiting for her return. If you count her absence during my pregnancy, I haven’t seen her in nearly 2 years. TWO YEARS. I don’t miss that bitch at all.

7. I can instantly comfort my screaming baby without having to troubleshoot the actual problem. Sometimes I’m too tired or busy to try to figure out what the baby is crying about, so I just nurse him. Nine times out of 10, shoving a boob in his mouth calms him down immediately. Note: This also works with his father.

8. I can have unprotected sex for 6 months. When done correctly, breastfeeding can be a (somewhat?) effective form of birth control up to the baby’s 6-month birthday. You have to do it right, though, or you end up with Irish twins. like my parents did. D’oh!

9. Breast milk poop smells a hell of a lot better than formula poop. I have to change a lot of disgusting poopy diapers, so if anything can make them less disgusting, I’m in. Breast milk poop smells, but it doesn’t stink. Not like formula shit. I found this out firsthand when changing a friend’s formula-fed baby. I thought something died in her diaper. I almost called Animal Control.

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10. When my kids have kids, I can hold it over their heads that when they were babies, I did everything right and know everything. The extreme commitment and effort of breastfeeding lends a lot of credibility to the future backseat parenting of my grandchildren.

Related post: 15 Things They Don’t Tell You About Breastfeeding


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    • Rachel says

      I agree with these reason except the last one makes people who couldn’t breast feed like me feel bad for not doing it for not doing the right thing. Except not breastfeeding my twins was the right thing at the time God knows I did try. There is nothing wrong with NOT breast feeding although I truly hope I will be able to breast feed next time.

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      • Amelia says

        There’s nothing wrong with not breastfeeding, but I do think there is something wrong with not trying to breastfeed. You did that! That’s what’s important.

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      • Fi says

        I used to feel that guilt having not been able to breastfeed my twins. But, I still tried. Having had three children since, I breast-fed them for 3 years, 3 years one month, and currently at 8 months with my youngest (baby #5). Though (re: #8), my body seems to always think I need more babies, and I most definitely do not. Also, weight loss like crazy. I’m now back to being pre-baby weight, and struggle to keep it on.

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      • Amanda says

        Dido. My first baby was a premie with multiple congenital abnormalities, so latching on never worked for us, but I did get the benefits of breast feeding from pumping while he was in the NICU. Pleasant surprises like DD’s and effortlessly dropping down to my high school weight. My daughter is 4 months old now and along with these, my number one reason for sticking it out and continuing to breast feed is money. Formula cost a shit-ton; breast milk is free.

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      • twinwithtwins says

        Rachel, I agree. I tried my last two pregnancies — twins and then a singleton — and didn’t produce enough milk for both. I’d rather feed my babies healthy formula than listen to their hungry cries. Good luck with your next baby.

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      • katie says

        Breastfeeding is best but its OK to give formula, they grow up the same and will have a normal life like those who were breastfed. I only breastfeed my baby but my husband wasnt breastfed when he was a baby and today he is a very inteligent handsome doctor, hehe!

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      • Tracina says

        Hi Rachel, my name is Tracina and I too have twins. They are 5 weeks old right now n it’s difficult to breastfeed especially since I have no help during the day, my husband goes to work n all my family is in another city. I’ve tried and I’m still trying to breastfeed them, I don’t breastfeed them all the time because it hurts (latching problems). I was wondering if you have any tips that you might have for me that might of helped you during the time you tried to breastfeed.

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    • Cynthia says

      OMG! FOFLOL! Yes, these are all fantastic reasons! Then you add in the other benefits and perks of being the “one” for your baby and it makes everything even sweeter! Thank you Laleche league for all the classes! When mine decided, at 7 mo, to stop breastfeeding I was devastated! I was not ready for her to be so independent! I really cried about it, several times!

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      • MommaCarrier says

        Concerned “Concerned Clinician” is thinking to relate themselves anywhere near the medical field that advocates 6 months of exclusive breastfeeding and continued breastfeeding through at least 1 year. The momma said her baby was 7 months. Clinicians like you piss me the heck off to no end and give the medical field a bad name.

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      • CPreston says

        Wow! someone thinks good parenting is all about KEEPING your kids at home for the rest of their lives! Parenting is about loving and giving your kids the skills to run their own lives by the time they leave home. Parenting is also about teaching your children how to live together in mutual respect, to problem solve, balance a check book, read a book and if they have a disability to work with and past their disability. Parenting is a life long learning program. Few people are instinctive parents and even instinctive parents screw up. So sorry you feel negotiating breastfeeding the balance between meeting the needs of babies and mom is somehow selfish. So what kind of parenting do YOU espouse to be non-selfish? Every child is different every FAMILY is different. However certain patterns of response and behaviour aid in the development of healthy mature interdependent Adults which was my goal. If yours was something different well I hope you are all happy with each other. I am sure happy enough with mine.

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    • Miakoda says

      I breastfed my first daughter for nine months. Got my period 2 weeks after my post-baby bleeding stopped, so that didn’t really help me. Same thing with my second daughter who I breast fed for three months (wanted to go longer, but she had some health issues and I wasn’t able to). So that’s not always true the whole no period thing. My sister went 18 months, lucky girl. I wasn’t lucky though. 2 week break and then I started again on a regular basis. Which also gets rid of the whole no pregnancy for 6 months thing.

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      • CPreston says

        There is a whole range of variations into how soon any given mum resumes ovulation and thus their menstrual cycle. It may be a reflection of how healthy you are ie you may have more successfully maintained healthy levels of all the vitamins and minerals etc during and after your pregnancy and birth. It may be genetics, it may be how often your baby nurses and how long none of which we as mums control excepting for stress levels, and support.
        Often It takes having a couple of kids before we know roughly whether we are going to be early re-starters or late re-starters depending on how long we nurse our babies. These days however most modern mums only want one or two babies, we just have to go with the flow and take necessary precautions to reasonably space our babies. We know things like maternal health, whether the cord was cut immediately after birth or allowed to stop pulsating before it is cut can affect the amount of iron in our blood, the risk of post-partum depression, whether our babies stay with us or are set off to the nursery soon after birth, and the babies condition and health at birth can effect how soon or successfully babies nurse…then again we can do everything “right” and baby take weeks and weeks to grasp how to nurse leading to all kinds of pain and inconviences , infects etc. and sometime we just don’t know why some mother mums never get their milk in and why some mother baby pairs just click , yet the next child nothing seems to go right without considerable amount of persistence on mums part. Every mum has to decide for herself what is right for her and her baby without compromising eithers health and safety. NO ONE has the right to judge and condemn or second guess those decisions. We are fortunate to live in an age and society were we HAVE those choices.

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        • alice says

          well to be honest ive just had someone silently judge me for not breastfeeding its my business as to why i couldnt and even if someone decided not to try i dont think its wrong as someone quite ignorantly put it in the second comment jesus who have breastfeeding mothers a fucking blue peter badge , just do it but dont make others feel inadequate that they couldnt or didnt , , as ive said before no one ever thinks about the fact that 1000,s of years ago in tribes they were woman who couldnt feed their babies and other women did it for them , so u judgement women who think i cant raise a healthy and fulfilled child because they werent breastfed can politely fuck off…..

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          • Kris says

            I love Alice. If breastfeeding moms want to try to make me feel bad for not, you’re right….they can fuck off with a smile. I had someone ask me if my daughter was BF (which was weird since she hardly knew me well enough to have that information) and when I said “no” she said “but she looks so healthy”! “well yes ma’am, they don’t put arsenic and glass shards in it anymore.”

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          • Adrian says


            If you’re referring to the author for some reason I don’t believe she was “silently judging you”. For example, she herself said that “she’ would never be able to endure the insane commitment” if it weren’t for her shallow reasons to breast feed. So, kindly fuck off with the pity wagon that you feel for not being able to breast feed your children. Get over it. Move on. Don’t get pissy when other people can and talk about their shallow benefits from it. Mostly, get over yourself.

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          • Cat says

            I have never commented on one of these before, but…

            Alice, thank you! I am currently pregnant with my 1st, and am in the process of deciding what to do. Breastfeeding may not be the right choice for my baby, myself and my family for a multitude of reasons that are no one’s business but mine and my husbands’s.

            Also, Adrian, in pt #10 the author refers to breastfeeding as what is “right”, so yeah, she kind of is.

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    • Peggy Reimer says

      I salute you!! Just the ‘porn tits were worth it…lol! (OMG!!! F+ cups!!!) Went from DD’s to F+ back to ‘just D’s’ lol! My first I had at 33 and breastfed until she was closer to three than two and a half. Had my second at 42 and she breastfed until she self-weaned at one. Just the ‘dieting aspect’ was worth it. I ran a boarding barn for horses when my second one was small and had abs of steel by the time she was a year old AND was back to my pre-baby weight of 125 lbs. when she was a year old!! (at 43 years old, no less!!) Breastfeeding Rocks!!!

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    • EmmysMomma says

      Like 90% of this isn’t true and is very case to case. DO NOT DEPEND ON BREASTFEEDING as birthcontrol that’s a total myth. Milk boobs suck and hurt, when you’re normally a D adding 3 sizes sucks. It’s just plain lazy parenting to just shove a boob in the babies face. Weight lose? Hahahah no, the one directly after that proves that’s not true, yeah you burn them but you have to go eat twice that to keep producing. And I got my period way before then.

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    • Joanna says

      It was the free part that convinced me. Plus the no cleaning bottles. Of course, the kiddo never got the hang of latching on so I ended up pumping for 8 months. Still free, but so much for never cleaning bottles. I ended up cleaning bottles AND the pump.

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  1. Shell says

    I’m so jealous of those of you who got a break from your period while breastfeeding. I got a few weeks and then back on. And I even extended bf. But nope, period as usual. Gah.

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    • Sara says

      Well, you need to keep nursing overnight, breastfeed exclusively (no solids or formula or bottles) and nurse on demand quite frequently. But the truth is even then it doesn’t work for everyone and you’re taking a bit of a chance if you rely on it. It’s great when it does work though!

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      • Coco says

        True, Sara! I bf on demand, through the night, my son was a complete booby-monster and fed CONSTANTLY and I got my period after 6 wks. When I told my GP at my 6 week check that I’d been told I didn’t need to use contraception if I was exclusively BF-ing he literally held his head in his hands! Be careful what you write, mum bloggers – a lot of people believe what they read!

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        • Bri says

          This was so so funny. I’m one of those women who doesn’t get the good ol aunt Flo as long as I’m breastfeeding, but I don’t trust not using anything. My MIL thought breastfeeding was a form of birth control until she finally got pregnant with her FOURTH! She had 4 children under the age of THREE YEARS OLD!

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        • Jennifer says

          Thought these were funny! #9 is soooo true!!

          Seriously, BF is not contraception! Even though you don’t have your period you can still get pregnant! There is no golden rule.

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          • Mary says

            Contrary to anecdotal stories, research supports the idea that breastfeeding can be used as ‘contraception’ as long as certain rules are met. That is, baby must be younger than six months, baby must nurse on demand and at least every four hours during the day and six hours at night, and mom must not have had her period yet. Under those conditions, according to research, a woman is very unlikely to become pregnant. It is not common for a woman to ovulate before she has her first period within those first six months, and once she does have her period, breastfeeding certainly won’t prevent pregnancy [although for many women, it takes a few cycles before pregnancy can be achieved]. Of course it’s not 100 percent effective, which is why we’ve all heard the stories of the women who have gotten pregnant when their babies were very little and they hadn’t had a period, but no family planning method is perfect. By the way, this method is called LAM and its efficacy is supported by LLLI as well as medical organizations, and even by Planned Parenthood.

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          • Jessica says

            I concur. I didn’t get my period back for the entire 18 months of breastfeeding. This happened with both of my babies. I certainly think that it helps…my husband and I together are fertile myrtles btw and we spaced children 2 & 1/2 years apart thanks to breastfeeding!

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          • katty says

            not true! I nursed all night and day with my 3rd baby, ovulated at 6 wks postpartum (had the tell-tale mucus) and then got my period at 8 wks postpartum. I think it’s because I’m overweight, and fat cells produce estrogen which can start your cycles back. I hypothesize this because I was slimmer after my 1st child was born and my period did not return for 9 months.

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        • Bee says

          Hi Lovely Ladies, using breastfeeding for contraception is as effective as the combined pill AS LONG AS CERTAIN RULES ARE FOLLOWED:
          1. You need to be exclusively breastfeeding with no gaps longer than about 6 hours. That means not giving your baby anything else, just breastfeeding on demand.
          2. Your baby needs to be younger than 6 months
          3. You mustn’t have had a period
          Hope that helps, and remember, some women have a pregnancy on the combined pill!
          Belinda (Midwife)

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          • Laurie says

            Even with all conditions met it can still happen and unfortunately a lot of couples really think they can’t get pregnant because of reading things like this. I personally got pregnant with number 4 whilst breastfeeding a 4 month old on demand througout the day and night, no period and was on the mini-pill. While the chances might be small there is still that chance and women need to know that.

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        • August Swann says

          Sorry, but the breastfeeding as a way to stop periods and as birth control doesn’t always work, more times it doesn’t than it does. Good for you that it worked, but to not use any other method of birth control, unless you want another baby right away, is just stupid and touting it as birth control is a little bit untruthful and careless. Also, not everyone gets ginormous boobs either–I went from an A to a barely B. And you DO have to watch what you eat–the milk is made from what you eat, so if what you eat is nutritionally deficient, the milk won’t be as nutritionally sound as you’d want it to be. Also, it’s a complete lie too that you lose a lot of weight breastfeeding. Many of the women I know who bf don’t lose most of the baby weight until after they stop breastfeeding.

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          • Chantal says

            Haha I had to laugh at your snarky response. While I agree nursing should not be used as contraception and you should watch what you eat. Don’t be so snarky about the weight loss. Just because it isn’t true for YOU does not mean it is not true for others. I myself lost the weight WAY too quickly without even trying. I eat roughly around 4 full meals a day and was almost to my pre-pregnancy weight by my 6 week with my 2nd. I had to quit nursing my 1st at 6 months for a few reasons, some selfish, others medical. One of the big reasons I had to quit at 6 months was because I was below my pre-pregnancy weight which was extremely unhealthy. So please do not generalize based on YOU. Thanks.

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          • jd says

            Haha, right on. She’s all “Shut up and listen to me whine about being too thin.”

            I did lose forty pounds without much more effort than breastfeeding, walking, and occasionally thinking before shoveling in more food.

            But then, no matter how much I exercised or dieted, I got stuck with another twenty pounds that never went away before I stopped breastfeeding and got pregnant with the next. Every breastfeeding mom I’ve known who started out plump has been plump-plus while breastfeeding. So when I hear that breastfeeding is a miracle weight-loss cure, I roll my eyes, snarky or no.

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          • Jessica says

            Total bullshit comment about breastfeeding not contributing to weight loss! I noticed you said “most of the women you know bf” assuming you yourself haven’t; therefore, you don’t really know! I lost 75 plus lbs in just the first 9 months of my first child!

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          • Seriously People? says

            Lost 75 pounds?? How much did you put on while pregnant? That is NOT healthy.

            BF is not birth control. Not all women lose the weight faster when nursing. You really need to consider that each woman is a unique case.

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          • cait says

            It’s totally unnecessary to be sassy just because your boobs stayed small.. also–your body takes what the baby needs regardless of having a milkshake when you feel like it. I’m sorry bf’ing didn’t work as weight loss for you but it is widely accepted that women who breast feed lose weight.

            And last time I checked, the author isn’t pretending to be a doctor.. who cares if her experiences weren’t the same as yours?

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    • Maggie says

      I am one of those moms who gets AF at 6 weeks postpartum even when following all the rules. However, I tandemed (nursed my toddler [who nursed almost as much as baby] and my newborn) when I had my second child, and didn’t have AF visit until 2nd baby was 11 months! Woot!

      AF came as soon as my older child was nursing only 2x a day.

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    • Green Christian Mama says

      Breastfeeding works about the same contraception-wise as “pulling it out”. They both reduce the chance… but I wouldn’t bet my life on them
      If you are for-sure that you don’t want to get preggo just then, use a back-up!

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      • Grandma B says

        Being a grandma of a breast fed grandbaby, this comment makes me very sad. I hope my daughter-in-law doesn’t feel this way. I too breastfed all three of my babies 9 months ( had to stop because I got a severe stomach illness and had to give up nursing ), then 11 months (she just chose not to nurse anymore) then my last one I nursed 13 months. I agree with all these reasons except for this one. Even if my MIL drove me nuts, I would NEVER deprive her from seeing my kids. I hope you reconsider really feeling this way…grandparents LOVE seeing, hearing and being with their grandchildren!

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        • lora says

          Trust me when I tell you, she gets PLENTY of time with my children. She lives down the street and comes over several days a week.

          However, she thinks breastfeeding is “gross”and “weird” and”unhealthy”. I can’t trust her with the babies when it comes to food. She doesn’t believe that babies need to wait for solids and she wants to give “tastes” if everything she eats from the time they are a month old. So by breastfeeding, I can control the amount of time she spends alone with them.

          As an aside, she feels that car seats “don’t make sense” and aren’t totally necessary. So there’s that…

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          • polama says

            Lora….I have to add your reason to one of my reasons to breastfeed too! I would never see my child if i did not breastfeed. It is my legitimate excuse to hold my own baby. Otherwise my MIL would take him back to China with her. She’s pleaded the case a gazillion times with me…

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          • lora says

            Polama, I am so sorry you’re dealing with that. I wish everyone had mother in laws that were reasonable and loving and normal. Hold in to that baby as tight as you can!

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        • anne says

          This was a reason for me as well, not on the top of my list, but a reason. My MIL took issue with MANY of the things we do as parents. So much in fact that she actually doesn’t see them because she can’t be nice to their mommy. When she first saw my newest squish, who was 3 days old, she was vocally unhappy that she was nursing so much. She later tried to remove her from my arms. She might have been excited about a new grandbaby, but mommy trumps grandmother every time.

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  2. Jenny says

    Not even joking, those were all my reasons for doing it, too. You were so nice about how you phrased the lead for #7. That’s when breastfeeding gets *really* animal: I had two babies with colic, so I used my boob as chloroform for a loooong time.

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  3. Courtney Kirkland says

    I wasn’t able to BF my oldest, but am BFing our youngest now. I have to say, I second EVERYTHING you said. I’m within 8 pounds of my pre-pregnancy weight a mere 6 weeks after having our son. It took me MONTHS to work baby weight off last time. Thank you, milk boobs.

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