Sibling Rivalry_Breastfeeding_Second_TimeBreastfeeding is hard enough the first time around, throw a kid (or two) in the mix and the approach that worked so well the first time around might require some rejiggering. It’s not uncommon for a mom to want to introduce a bottle and just call it a day, but making the time to breastfeed the newbie in the family provides many rewards. Here are 10 reasons why you should not give up now:

1. Breastfed babies are smarter. Numerous studies have shown that, more often than not, it is the firstborn who earns more money and, statistically speaking, is more likely to become president or CEO. Attributable not just to birth order, many experts agree that it is in part because mom has more time to read with and teach the firstborn child. As a second (or third) time around mom, there is no time for blocks and barely time for the occasional book. Your guilt-free out? Breastmilk! Studies show that breastmilk can raise IQ by as much as 7 points! And the more you breastfeed the better the beneficial effects! A Harvard study showed that verbal test scores at age 3 were 1/5 of a point higher for each month a child was breastfed, while the difference in intelligence at age 7 was, on average, 1/3 of an IQ point higher for every month of breastmilk. Now can building blocks do that?

2. Breastfeeding safeguards mom. Studies show that for every 12 months of breastfeeding the risk of breast cancer decreases by 4.3%, compared to women who do not breastfeed. And what’s more, it’s cumulative! If you put in three months of breastfeeding with your first baby and go for nine months of breastfeeding with your second baby, your overall risk is decreased by 4.3%. Breastfeeding saves the ta-tas! What’s more, breastfeeding reduces a mother’s chance not just for developing breast cancer, but also ovarian cancer, high blood pressure, and heart disease decades down the road.

3. Teaching older siblings to wait is a good thing. The ability to wait and consider another’s needs is a very important life lesson. It not only teaches compassion and empathy, but relays the important life lesson of sometimes putting another’s needs before their own. But teaching a child to wait is much different than ignoring a child’s needs. Depending on the age of the older siblings, involve them. A young toddler can feel great by helping mommy retrieve the burp cloth, earning stickers and boosting self-confidence, while an older child can use a breastfeeding session to take advantage of mommy sitting still. It’s a great time to chat, create an ongoing story together, or just enjoy some TV time in each other’s company. It’s all in the sell, but done right, time out to breastfeed the baby can be more about them and less about baby.

4. It’s great for the wallet! With more than one kid to feed and more than one kid to put through college, you need your greenbacks. The annual cost of formula can be as much as $3,000 or more. Breastmilk? Free!

5. Breastmilk will prepare your baby for sibling throw-downs. Much more than nutrition, breastmilk provides the impetus for proper and optimal growth. Kind of like what spinach did for Popeye, breastmilk contains growth factors (not present in formula) that push the DNA “go” button on everything from vision development to muscle development. And if baby has older siblings with which to contend, an extra boost of power is never a bad thing. (Just look at Michael Jordan, who was breastfed for three years, took on his older three siblings, and later dominated the NBA. Breastmilk does a body good!)

6. You can’t forget the milk! Let’s face it, mommy-brain only gets worse with each additional kid, making the likelihood of forgetting the bottle higher with each and every birth. But when baby is boob-fed, you don’t have to worry about leaving baby’s food behind. And just think of the time saved not having to clean bottles!

7. Breastfeeding means fewer trips to the doctor. Babies who are not breastfed get sick more often and visit the pediatrician twice as often as breastfed babies. Who has time for that? Meanwhile, a breastfed baby has a stronger immune system, fewer ear infections, fewer allergies, a decreased chance of developing bacterial and viral infections, such as meningitis, pneumonia, wheezing, and bronchiolitis, and receives protection against obesity, diabetes, sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), asthma, eczema, colitis, multiple sclerosis, and even some forms of cancers. Now, that’s what I’m talking about!

8. Breastfed baby poop doesn’t stink! If you are trying to endear big bro/sis to the new baby, the whole poopy diaper thing is not on your side, and if it stinks to high heaven, it’s even worse. If you were ever dubious about all of the studies saying breastmilk is best, just put your nose to the test. Digested formula stinks! While digested breastmilk is not my idea of air freshener, it actually has a sweet and pleasant smell about it.

9. It forces mommy to take a break. Pregnancy was hard, labor was tough, and bringing home baby while chasing a toddler or dealing with older kids is downright exhausting! If you can learn to embrace the time that you need to sneak away and breastfeed, you can use that time as an opportunity to take a moment and just breathe. Those breathable moments will make you a better mommy.

10. And don’t forget the calorie burn! Because after your second you want to look even hotter than you did after your first. It’s a matter of proving to yourself that you may have gone for the minivan, but you still got it and nothing will get you back into those hot leather pants quicker than breastfeeding! Besides, there’s nothing like a milk-induced rack to complement those leather pants for a night out on the town. If you got ‘em, might as well flaunt ‘em!

So relinquish the mommy guilt, and go breastfeed your baby! It’s what you and your baby deserve. While it is nothing that a toddler would ever acknowledge, being a part of a larger family unit that works together to protect, cherish and meet the needs of everyone in the family is a good thing, even if those needs sometimes belong to the burping, pooping, drooling new kid on the block…