You have probably heard a zillion times about how important it is to breastfeed your baby. Breast milk is good for the baby they say. And it may even feel like an exaggeration, but what if I tell you it’s not?
Whilst some women are unable to breastfeed due to medical reasons, some would rather not. In as much as I would like to encourage you to breastfeed, the choice is entirely up to you.
Breastfeeding can be tough in the beginning especially for first-time moms and it’s pretty easy to give up. Yes, I’m a woman and no breastfeeding doesn’t come naturally to me. I doubt it does to anyone. It may look easy but it’s not, trust me.
Knowing the benefits of breastfeeding helps keep you motivated when you feel like giving up because you cannot get your baby to latch properly so ouch your nipples hurt, when you are trying to establish breastfeeding and when you have to breastfeed so often- like seriously you can’t be hungry again, I just fed you!
Not only is breastfeeding beneficial to the baby but also, to the mother- it’s a win-win.
Do you know what happens when you combine breastfeeding with formula feeding? Please read till the end to find out.
That said, what are those benefits? We will look at it in two ways:
A. Benefits for a baby B. Benefits for a mother.
Benefits of breastfeeding for a mom
1. You will save money
You will save money. Tons of it. I have a friend who spent about $26 on baby formula a week! Luckily, her insurance covered it. Now assuming your insurance isn’t covering your baby formula what would you rather do if you can help it? Non-breastfeeding mothers can easily spend $1,500 or more on a baby formula a year.
Because we can, let’s save that money, shall we?
2. Saves time
The time used in cleaning bottles, sterilization, measuring formula etc can be used for sleeping or reading or basically getting stuff done. There is no need to prepare the feed, especially at night. The nipple is ready to go just about anytime.
3. Breastfeeding helps in losing pregnancy weight.
This is because you burn calories approximately 300-500 calories during breastfeeding sessions. Yep! For this reason, you may feel so much hungrier breastfeeding than in pregnancy. I did, and I lost the weight too.
However, there are women who don’t lose pregnancy weight even though they’re breastfeeding. This is because of:
a. Stress (adrenal fatigue)
4. Encourages mother and baby bonding
Breastfeeding also is a great way to bond with your baby. Breastfeeding releases a hormone – oxytocin (the love hormone) which encourages bonding between a mother and a baby.
5. Prevents gynaecological cancers
Some examples of gynaecology cancers are breast cancer and ovarian cancer. Also, non-breastfeeding mothers are more at risk of osteoporosis (bone weakness) in the future. Breastfeeding can reduce the risk of getting these.
6. Uterus contraction
It allows the uterus to contract to the pre-pregnancy size.
An advantage of the uterus contracting is the prevention of post-delivery bleeding which is one of the leading causes of maternal deaths.
7. Breastfeeding makes you relax
Breastfeeding compels you to sit down and simply relax. It is equally important to support your back and also feet to help you relax during breastfeeding sessions.
8. Prevents pregnancy
This is as a result of the contraceptive protection it may provide.
This is however NOT a crosscutting rule and does not work for every woman. This is particularly true in situations where you are breastfeeding and your period hasn’t resumed. Hence, you are not ovulating.
Benefits of breastfeeding for a baby
9.Protection from infections
Breast milk is full of antibodies. These protect babies from infections. Newborns depend mainly on the immunity of their mother through antibodies acquired during intrauterine life and that from breast milk. Breast milk is vital for the first six months. Various studies show that breastfed babies are less likely to develop certain diseases compared to those fed on formula. Examples of such infections are urinary tract infection, respiratory infection and ear infection in babies.
10. Easy on baby’s tummy and kidneys
Because of the natural nature of breast milk, it is easier to digest compared to formula. In addition, it contains less protein and salt hence it’s easier on the kidneys.
11. Better oral health
This is attributed to the jaw movement during breastfeeding and the nutrients in breast milk. Likewise, the risk of tooth decay and associated needed for orthodontics is reduced.
12. Aids brain development
Breast milk is known to contain fats including cholesterol. These promote the growth of the nerve tissue and enhance brain development.
13. Lower risk of SIDS
Studies have shown that breastfed babies are at lower risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). The breast milk, breastfeeding and a mom is responsible and interrelated in reducing SIDS also known as cot death.
14. Optimal nutrition
The breast milk is always changing in nature to meet a baby’s growing needs, unlike formula which is homogeneous in nature.
15. Healthy weight gain in babies
Breastfed babies are less likely to be overfed and hence less likely to be obese as a result. Consequently, it also reduces the risk of Type 1 and 2 diabetes.
What happens when you give your baby formula? Well, you deprive them and yourself of getting the FULL benefits of breastfeeding.
Also, your body will not produce as much milk as your baby needs because it has not been programmed to do so.
In conclusion, breastfeeding is AMAZING. It’s cost-effective, convenient, sustainable and the healthiest choice. Thus, if you desire to breastfeed make ensure you build and establish breastfeeding.
What other benefits of breastfeeding do you know that didn’t make the list?
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