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If you want to learn more about the breastfeeding benefits for mom and baby then you’ve come to the right place.
You are about to find out some mind-blowing benefits if you decide to breastfeed your baby.
I could only breastfeed my baby for two weeks. Not because I didn’t have enough milk supply but because she was losing weight drastically. I was planning on giving her breast milk for as long as I could.
But then the doctor panicked because she was losing too much weight so he told me to switch to formula. She immediately started gaining the weight back. But I felt guilty.
I felt like I was a bad mom and was afraid that people will judge me for giving formula to my newborn. Don’t be me. Nobody will judge you whether you give your baby breast milk or formula.
And even if they do, you shouldn’t care. Your baby’s health is the most important and whatever you do is undoubtedly in her best interest.
This post has an informative purpose for those moms who are planning or are already breastfeeding and want more information on breastfeeding benefits: emotional, nutritional, economic, health and so on.
BREASTFEEDING BENEFITS FOR BABY
The best and perfect (and free) baby food is breast milk. It’s the ideal nutrition. It’s packed with antibodies and enzymes that work together to boost your baby’s immunity to the maximum.
Here are some important advantages to breastfeeding your baby.
1. FIGHTS ALLERGIES
Breast milk is better than formula because it’s digested more easily. Cow’s milk and soy milk formulas contain proteins that can trigger allergies.
You will tremendously lower your baby’s risk of getting allergies (mainly food allergies) while she begins solids if you keep giving her breast milk.
You can actually use your breast milk to mix her food (cereal for example). That way she won’t be as fussy when you introduce new foods to her. She will still taste your breast milk in her solids.
2. LESS CONSTIPATION
Because it’s more easily digested as I mentioned above, breast milk is very gentle on the baby’s stomach so her body will break it down with no problems (like upset stomach, diarrhea, constipation).
With a low risk of constipation, your baby will most likely be colic free.
3. FIGHTS AGAINST INFECTIONS
Breastfeeding your baby greatly reduces the risk of infections (middle ear, respiratory tract, colds, gut, intestinal tissue damage) and viruses.
4. REDUCES THE RISK OF SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome)
There’s no exact connection between breastfed babies and lower incidence of SIDS. Statistics link breastfeeding to 50% reduced risk after 1 month and 36% in the first year. Sounds good enough!
5. STRONG IMMUNE SYSTEM
Infants fed with breast milk have a better antibody response to vaccines, making them more effective.
6. BREAST MILK GIVES IMMUNE FACTORS AND WHITE BLOOD CELLS TO BABY
And for this reason, your baby is protected against spinal meningitis, type 1 diabetes, and Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
7. HIGHER IQ
Studies show that babies who are breastfed tend to grow smarter later in life and have a high IQ, because of the fatty acids in breast milk that gives the brain a boost.
Another reason why researchers believe that breastfed babies tend to grow smarter is because of the bonding that happens during breastfeeding (touch, eye contact, skin to skin contact).
So they strongly believe that breastfeeding has lifelong effects on brain development.
8. PREVENTS CHILDHOOD OBESITY
When you breastfeed you don’t know exactly how much your baby is eating. You just assume she’s hungry or full by the signs your baby sends you, so there are fewer chances for you to overfeed your baby.
Breast milk also helps your baby develop high amounts of different but beneficial gut bacteria which affect fat storage.
If you breastfeed your baby she will have more leptin(a hormone that regulates appetite and fat storage) in her system as opposed to formula-fed babies.
9. BETTER BONDING
Breastfeeding your baby will help you bond even more with her due to the skin to skin contact (that doesn’t mean that formula-fed infants don’t bond with their parents, but breastfeeding makes this bonding process smoother).
I mean think about it: you have your baby next to you, she’s eating and she’s comfy. She has a chance to look at you and cuddle.
It’s your special moment together. It’s a moment of love and satisfaction. She’s satisfied because she’s eating and you’re satisfied because you can provide her with breast milk that will help her grow and thrive.
It’s a unique chance for you to get to know each other and exchange love.
BREASTFEEDING BENEFITS FOR MOM
Breastfeeding has advantages for you, the mom. You may be the milk source but there’s something in it for you as well.
1. LOW RISK OF POSTPARTUM DEPRESSION
Postpartum depression affects 15% of mothers and it can develop shortly after childbirth. But evidence shows that moms who breastfeed have a low risk of suffering from depression.
As mentioned above, breastfeeding causes hormonal changes and encourages the body to release oxytocin. In fact, oxytocin is released during birth and breastfeeding and it seems that it has long term anti-anxiety effects.
It promotes nurturing and relaxation, thus better maternal caregiving and bonding between you and your baby.
2. REDUCES RISK POSTPARTUM HEMORRHAGE
When you’re nursing your body releases oxytocin which helps your uterus contract and reduces postpartum bleeding.
3. LOWERS THE RISK OF BREAST AND OVARIAN CANCER BY 28 %
Breastfeeding provides long-term protection against cancer and other diseases (metabolic syndrome, high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes).
4. HELPS WITH WEIGHT LOSS
Milk production makes you burn around 300-500 calories daily, so if you plan on losing weight breastfeeding will make it easier for you.
Did you know that breast milk contains 20 calories per ounce? So the more you make the better for you.
5. HELPS YOUR UTERUS SHRINK
As you know your uterus expands tremendously in those 9 months to accommodate your baby. It’s no easy job for the uterus to go back to its initial size, but breastfeeding helps.
In fact, you may even have some contractions while nursing. That’s because your body releases oxytocin every time you nurse your baby. Oxytocin triggers uterine contractions and reduces postpartum bleeding.
6. DELAYS OVULATION AND MENSTRUATION
When you’re breastfeeding your body releases prolactin, which keeps your estrogen and progesterone low so ovulation is not triggered.
Since your ovulation is delayed, your menstruation is delayed too.
7. ACTS AS ‘NATURAL’ BIRTH CONTROL
If breastfeeding has the potential of delaying your ovulation, hence your menstruation, that means your time frame of having sex and not get pregnant extends.
Studies say that frequent feedings are better. Long breaks in between feedings are believed to trigger the return of ovulation.
8. DID I MENTION IT’S FREE?
Yes, it’s free and free it’s always good. Babies are expensive and if you can save some extra bucks, why not? I used to buy Gerber Soothe (good for her colic) once a week so I used to pay around $100 a month.
Another aspect that you may consider is the fact that breastfeeding has a lot of health benefits for your baby so there are fewer chances for her to get sick. Fewer doctor visits mean saving even more money.
Ok, this is going to sound like a never-ending story of you saving money. But it is.
Besides saving money and keeping your baby healthier, you greatly reduce your chances of skipping work. No matter how you look at it, breastfeeding seems to be a win-win situation.
9. LESS STRESS IN YOUR LIFE
Giving breast milk to your baby saves you a lot of time and money. But you already knew that. But it also reduces the stress level in your life.
Think about it. You won’t have to buy formula, calculates ounces, clean and sterilize bottles, mix formula and warm up bottles (at home and on the go).
Your breast milk is always perfect and readily available.
10. YOU BECOME ECO-FRIENDLY
Say what? Infant formula has some ingredients that come from dairy cows, which unfortunately contribute to global warming. Apparently, they expel methane which ranks as the worst greenhouse gas.
BENEFITS OF PARTIAL BREASTFEEDING
I fall into this category. As I mentioned, in the beginning, I was able to breastfeed my daughter for only 2 weeks, but even those 2 weeks were better than nothing. Anything is better than nothing.
This is by far the most important ‘meal’ for your newborn. You produce colostrum right after your delivery (and lasts for the next four days) and it’s packed with antibodies, a lot of proteins and little sugar.
It’s consistent enough to stop your baby’s hunger even with just small amounts.
2. BREASTFEED FOR AT LEAST 3 MONTHS
The first three months are important because your newborn is fragile in every way. That’s actually the time frame when they get colic. So if you were to give her breast milk you would protect her against that.
The point is to try to postpone that transition to formula for as long as you can. But don’t feel guilty if you can’t.
Sometimes, not everything goes as planned. I had high hopes but I ended up giving her formula.
If for whatever reasons you can’t or won’t breastfeed your baby is still fine. Your baby will still get the nutrients she needs but in a different way, so don’t take it too hard on yourself and feel you’re a bad mom. Cause you’re NOT.
Further reading Vaginal Delivery – PospPartum Recovery Kit (To Get You Back In Shape Fast)