Are you trying to decide if you want to breastfeed your new baby? All new moms have to decide whether to breastfeed or to use formula, along with decisions about diapers, names, and routines.
Most people know that breastmilk is scientifically considered the optional choice for babies, but many don’t realize that breastfeeding is important for every new mom as well.
I asked myself this question when I had my first child eight years ago. Breastfeeding feels scary and challenging at first. With the right support and knowledge, you’ll understand the impressive benefits of breastfeeding.
Reduces the Risk for Infections
Babies acquire maternal antibodies during pregnancy through the placenta and breastmilk. Colostrum, the first milk you produce after birth, is full of antibodies that are vital for protecting your baby from infections.
The antibodies in breastmilk and colostrum work inside of your baby’s gastrointestinal tract. Until your baby weans, these antibodies protect your child’s mouth, airway, and intestines.
All mothers want their babies to have fewer illnesses, and breastmilk provides that vital protection we desire.
Your child is less likely to have stomach illnesses, as well as protecting him from the simple flu and cold. Breastfed babies experience fewer ear infections and upper respiratory infections.
Healthier Baby and Mom
Breast milk protects your child from infections, but it also keeps your child overall healthier.
Evidence shows us that babies who are not breastfed have a higher risk of diabetes and childhood obesity.
Breastfeeding also keeps the mother healthier! Mothers have an increased risk of osteoporosis and urinary tract infections.
You also are less prone to bone arthritis after menopause. The female body absorbs more calcium during pregnancy and lactation.
One of the most impressive benefits is that breastfeeding is a proven way to decrease the risk of breast cancer.
Evidence shows that mothers who breastfed for more than two years total have the best reduction rate of breast cancer.
Reduces the Risk of SIDs
Mothers feel panicky when thinking about SIDs. We know we can try our best to prevent SIDs, but there is no definite way to stop it from happening.
Research shows us that breastfeeding reduces the risk of SIDs. Some doctors believe that breastfed babies are 60% less likely to die from SIDs that infants who don’t receive any breast milk.
Exclusively breastfed babies have a higher reduction rate.
This benefit for breastfeeding is twofold. There is the obvious benefit for the baby, reducing the mortality rate.
It also can help decrease the anxiety mothers may feel about SIDs. You can feel a little better about the risk, knowing that you are doing one of the best things to prevent SIDs.
Pregnancy is over, and you are ready to get back to your pre-pregnancy weight. You are ready to have your normal body back.
Luckily, breastfeeding can get you to that goal! Our body burns about 20 calories making an ounce of breastmilk.
If your child eats 20 to 30 ounce per day, you can burn between 400 and 600 calories just by breastfeeding!
I didn’t want to lose extra weight and found myself at the lowest weight after my second pregnancy.
I didn’t increase my daily calorie intake and inadvertently lost too much weight. If you don’t want to drop pounds, increase your calorie intake with healthy foods.
Don’t add a pan of brownies a day!
Keeps Away Your Menstrual Cycle
Now, remember that breastfeeding is NOT a reliable form of birth control.
If you shouldn’t or don’t want to get pregnant, never use breastfeeding as your only form of birth control.
However, many women experience their menstrual cycle staying away for months after birth, my cycle returns nine to 13 months postpartum. That is a wonderful vacation from Aunt Flow!
Everyone’s bodies are different, so it doesn’t work for everyone. Many women experience lactational amenorrhea due to their levels of hormones during breastfeeding.
You must breastfeed your baby on demand, that means at least six times per day, if not more.
Mothers must breastfeed at night. As soon as you night wean, the chances of your period returning dramatically increase.
Introducing a pacifier, bottle and solid foods also increase the likelihood that your menstrual cycle will return. While it doesn’t work for everyone, it is a lovely benefit for some mothers!
Breastfeeding Helps New Moms
The benefits of breastfeeding go beyond these five reasons, but remember the benefits extend to more than the baby. After all of the work you will put in by breastfeeding, you can expect to lose weight, have a delayed return of your menstrual cycle and a reduced rate of breast cancer. Those are some impressive benefits!
What is your favorite breastfeeding benefit?