I just found out that it is almost breastfeeding awareness week which runs from August first to August seventh every year! In respect to that, I thought it would be appropriate to write a post dedicated to the benefits of breastfeeding.
It is a little known fact that the second an expecting woman announces her pregnancy, people come out of the wood work to give her all kinds of advice and opinions on pretty much every topic regarding caring for her child. The only problem is, most of that advice is completely unsolicited. It seems that one of the most controversial topics that expecting women are faced with is how they plan to feed their new baby (breastfeeding vs formula feeding). With all the strong opinions out there, you may find yourself asking why is it better to breastfeed?
A Fed Baby Is A Happy Baby
Before I dive into all the benefits associated with breastfeeding, I wanted to first point out that baby formula has come a long way over the years, and is an excellent supplement to breast milk. Some women are unable to breastfeed or simply choose not to. New mothers are faced with so many decisions before their little one even makes an appearance into the world. All of these decisions can be so overwhelming, especially with everyone from family members to grocery store clerks in your ear telling you something different!
Despite all the evidence out there and the angry mobs suggesting that “breast is best”, I would just like to say, my own personal motto when it comes to feeding your child is that “a fed baby is a happy baby”. While there is a ton of research out there that shows that formula is not comparable to breast milk in all the benefits it has to offer, there are plenty of good options when it comes to formula if that is the route you choose.
There is absolutely no reason for you to feel guilty about the way you decide to feed your child! As long as you make an informed decision about what is best for you and your baby, that is all that matters. As a society, I believe we are too quick to judge instead of being genuinely helpful towards one another.
OK enough of that, let’s move on!
Benefits For The Mama
People are always so quick to talk about the benefits that breastfeeding has for the baby, which is wonderful, but did you know there are quite a few benefits for you as well?
- Breastfeeding releases a hormone called oxytocin which helps gets your uterus back to the size it was prior to pregnancy, and helps reduce uterine bleeding, which helps decrease your healing time!
- It helps you create stronger bonds with your baby! Everyone talks about how your life changes in an instant after you give birth, and you feel an incredible bond that you have never felt before. This may be true for most mothers, but some moms take longer to get there. That is completely OK, and totally normal, you just went through a lot of stress, give yourself a break! Regardless of if you felt that immediate connection or not, breastfeeding will give you bonding time with your baby and help strengthen that bond.
- Breastfeeding saves money! While there are some programs out there that can help some mothers cover the cost of formula, breast milk is completely free to all new moms!
- It burns calories! On average, breast milk contains about 20 calories per ounce. So if you are feeding your baby between 19 and 30 ounces of breast milk a day (which is the average range), you are essentially burning between 456 and 600 extra calories per day! This will help you lose your “baby weight” faster. That is much easier way to burn calories than that high intensity cross fit workout!
- Breastfeeding around the clock can prevent periods and be used as a source of birth control. Take extreme caution with this contraceptive method though as it is affected by many factors and is not a fool proofed method by any means!
- Mothers who breastfeed on average tend to have fewer problems with anxiety and post-partum depression
- Some studies show that it can help reduce your chance of getting breast, uterine or ovarian cancer.
As you can see that is a pretty impressive list of benefits that mom can start to reap immediately after giving birth!
Benefits For The Baby
Breastfeeding is great for your baby, here is why:
- Antibodies are passed through colostrum and breast milk. This helps protect the baby against a wide range of diseases, until he is old enough to make the antibodies himself!
- Breastfeeding helps strengthen bonds between mom and baby.
- Your breast milk changes to meet the needs of your baby, which is so cool! Your brain responds to the baby’s saliva and in return creates a customized cocktail of antibodies and nutrients that benefit your baby! It is truly amazing that our bodies are able to do that! That is one thing formula will never be able to do.
- Breastfed babies tend to have less trouble with obesity later in life. This is because of the compounds of the breast milk itself and because breastfed babies are less likely to overeat because they can control the flow of the breast milk better than a bottle.
- Some studies suggest that breastfed babies tend to have a slightly higher intelligence level than formula fed babies later in life. However, the evidence just shows a connection and not causation, so it has not been completely proven at this time.
- Breastfeeding is associated with a reduced risk for SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome). The reasons for this might be because breastfed babies tend to sleep closer to mom for nighttime feeding sessions.
If Breastfeeding Is So Great, Why Doesn’t Everyone Do It?
Despite all the benefits listed above, there are still some cons when it comes to breastfeeding.
- Some babies have trouble latching on or refuse the breast, making nursing sessions painful and exhausting.
- If you chose to breastfeed exclusively other people will not be able to help you feed the baby. You could pump milk and bottle-feed, but bottle feeding too early could lead to nipple confusion and bottle preference.
- While breastfeeding in public is becoming a more regular occurrence, many mamas still feel very uncomfortable doing it. Some places are still not very accepting to it also.
- Some moms never produce enough milk for their baby.
- A baby may develop severe allergies or reflex, mom can try a restrictive diet, but sometimes it is best to use a specially designed formula in these situations.
- Being away from the baby for work or health reasons, could cause problems where breastfeeding is concerned.
- Some Mothers simply decide that breastfeeding is not for them for their own personal reasons.
Things To Remember
Breastfeeding has a ton of benefits for both mom and baby!
Our bodies are amazing to be able to provide for and accommodate the changing needs of our babies through our breast milk!
Not everyone is able to breastfeed, and some people chose not to. No matter how you decide to feed your baby, whether it is breastfeeding, bottle feeding breast milk, formula feeding, or some kind of combination, Just remember that as long as every baby is getting fed one way or another, there is nothing wrong with the decision you make!
That’s all for now! Thanks for reading! I hope you found this post informative and enjoyable! Happy breastfeeding awareness week!
Make sure to leave your comments and thoughts in the comments section and I will be happy to get back to you as soon as I can!