Mary Cassatt, 1898 – Louise nursing her child
An opinion by guest blogger Jessica M
Breastfeeding is the most natural way of taking care of your little one. It’s an incredible method of nourishing your baby, and its benefits extend beyond the basic nutrition. There is no denying breastfeeding is not compulsory, and the decision to breastfeed or not is a personal choice. It’s a decision that will most likely draw opinions from close friends and family.
In spite of the benefits, breastfeeding is one of the most daunting tasks for new mothers. The challenge is compounded by the fact that some people are completely uncomfortable with it. Some even discriminate against mothers who breastfeed in public. Whether you hate breastfeeding in public or are a new mom who doesn’t like breastfeeding, appreciating these benefits will completely change your mind. Here are some incredible benefits of breastfeeding:
1) Breastfeeding keeps SIDS at bay
Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) can be caused by a cascade of events that lead to sudden unexplained death before the baby’s first birthday. According to a review of the most recent research studies, both exclusive and partial breastfeeding reduces the risk of SIDS. The longer you breastfeed your baby, the better the protective effect. Although results from the most recent researches vary, there is strong evidence that if you breastfeed your baby for any length of time, they will have a reduced (about 50%) risk of SIDS. Besides, some studies have shown that not breastfeeding your baby subjects them to risk higher than that from maternal smoking.
2) Breastfeeding improves mother-child bonding
There is no denying the process of breastfeeding is astounding. When your baby suckles at the breast, it signals your brain to release a hormone called oxytocin. This hormone also know as the love hormone signals your breast to release the milk and the milk let down encourages the baby to keep feeding.
Ever had a crush? The feeling that you get is precipitated by this hormone. When the baby is suckling, good amounts of oxytocin are released. This hormone makes you experience a gush of affection and love for the baby. Therefore every time you breastfeed your baby, the surge of love helps you to bond perfectly with your baby.
3) Breastfeeding helps you lose baby weight
This is an incredible benefit celebrated by all moms. When you breastfeed your baby, you shed an extra 500 calories per day. Some studies have shown that moms who breastfeed exclusively shed baby weight more quickly than those who don’t. Who would hate losing up to 500 extra calories a day?
However, if you adopt unhealthy choices such as poor dieting and lack of sleep, don’t expect breastfeeding to help you lose weight.
4) Breastfeeding boosts the baby’s and mother’s health
Many moms are aware of the health benefits breastfeeding offers for their baby. In fact, most of them breastfeed for the sake of their babies. But did you know breastfeeding benefits the mom too? For instance, breastfeeding lowers the risk of breast and ovarian cancer. The longer you breastfeed your baby(s), the lower the risk of breast and ovarian cancer. Studies have shown that, for every 12 months of breastfeeding, the risk of breast cancer is decreased by 4%. On the other hand, it boosts your little one’s immune system. Breast milk has plenty of health-promoting and germ-fighting components.
5) Breastfeeding aids the uterus to shrink down to pre-pregnancy size.
As aforementioned, when the baby starts breastfeeding, it causes the mother’s body to release oxytocin. As the brain signals the release of this hormone, mild cramping occurs in your lower abdomen. The cramping is not comfortable, but it’s a positive sign that the uterus is healing.
6) It helps you make up for lost sleep
Babies are amazing bundles of joy. But their arrival is marked with interrupted sleep for breastfeeding. Although this makes new moms tired, it brings an added benefit. The steady release of oxytocin during breastfeeding enables you to make up for the lost sleep. Oxytocin brings a soothing effect and makes you more relaxed.
In most cases, new moms fall asleep while breastfeeding not because they are exhausted but because of the release of the hormone. Those 10 to 20 minutes nap helps you recover some of the lost sleep. Besides, even if you don’t sleep the calming feeling leaves your body rejuvenated.
7) Breastfeeding is cost and time saving
Did you know breastfeeding brings numerous financial benefits? Many new moms don’t realize this fact because they take it to be a normal event. Breastfeeding is free and time-saving. You do not have to rush to the nearest store; the milk is readily available.
If you want to see that breast milk is tremendously cost-effective, compare it to artificial milk. The cost estimate for artificial milk is roughly $1800/year, this without the extra preparation costs. This amount can be put to good use like buying the best formula for treating spitting up and gas.
Also, if your baby is well breastfed he/she will fall sick less often. This will translate to reduced healthcare cost. Parents who don’t breastfeed their babies miss work about six times more due to baby illness than those who breastfeed well.
8) Breastfeeding is environment-friendly
Breast milk is the most natural and organic food for your baby. It produces no waste, reduces the carbon footprint, and above all it’s a sustainable means for feeding your baby with no negative impact on our environment.
9) Breastfeeding is a reliable way of birth control
In most countries around the world, breastfeeding is a renowned, natural method of birth control. When utilized effectively, this method can yield up to 98% success. This birth control method is called Lactation Amenorrhea Method (LAM) and relies on four pillars to succeed. The principles include:
- The mom must be exclusively breastfeeding
- The baby must be less than six months old
- The mom’s menstrual cycle has not resumed
- The baby is not sleeping more than 6 hours at night and 4 hours in the day.
If the mentioned conditions change, you must seek an alternative method of birth control.
Wrapping it up
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologist and the American Academy of Pediatrics are among the numerous medical authorities that strongly advocate breastfeeding. This is mainly attributed to the health benefits that both the baby and the mother get. You and your little one are inimitable; the decision to breastfeed or not is hinged solely on your personal preference. However, if you take into account all the incredible benefits we’ve highlighted, nothing is going to stop you from breastfeeding your baby.
About The Author:
Jessica is the mother of one, a Chief, and a lover of the great ideas. You can find her journey through motherhood on her blog Take Care Baby (https://takecarebaby.net/)
An opinion of a poster to The Loveshade Family Blog does not necessarily reflect the views of the whole family. Nothing in this article should be interpreted as medical advice; consult with a physician before making decisions on baby care and contraception.