15 Reasons Why Breastfeeding Is Important for You and Your Baby
The benefits of breastfeeding for you and your baby generally far outweigh any risks or problems you may face. When you make the decision to breastfeed your baby, you’re doing more than just feed your baby. You’re providing her with a lifetime of benefits that reach far beyond babyhood.
Is Breastfeeding Really That Much Better?
When you consider the fact that breast milk is custom tailored to your baby and her specific needs at any given age, then the answer is yes, breastfeeding really is that much better.
(In light of the Breast is Best campaign, I would like to stop for a second and say that I fully agree that fed is best. There are some women who simply cannot breastfeed and I do not want to single anyone out for choosing not to breastfeed.)
However, breastfeeding will give your baby natural immunities to many diseases and even certain cancers, help protect him from viruses that are going around, as well as create a deep bond between you and your baby. Some would even go so far as to say that breastfeeding your baby could result in her having a higher IG.
Those benefits really make breastfeeding worth it. Not to mention there are benefits for you as well.
Who Breastfeeding Benefits
As I mentioned above, breastfeeding is excellent for the baby. Your breast milk is full of antibodies, as well as nutrients that will help your baby grow. But you also receive many benefits as a nursing mom. I believe that science hasn’t even come close to tapping into all of the benefits involved in breastfeeding. But I do know that studies have shown excellent health benefits for both baby and mom.
How Breastfeeding Benefits Baby
The most obvious and also most numerous benefits breastfeeding provides are to the baby, coming directly from the breast milk. Not only does breast milk contain the exact nutritional requirements for your baby, it has numerous other positives aspects as well, including:
- Boosts the immune system. Most of the immunities a baby has comes from the mother’s breast milk. Not only does the milk in general contain materials to help fight infection, it is actually tailored to what the mother is exposed to (i.e. what the baby is also exposed to). This means your child gets custom protection from the diseases they face. Not only do breastfed babies get sick less, they are also less likely to develop immune disorders or allergy related diseases, including asthma.
- Helps proper physical development. Breastfed babies gain more weight than formula fed babies at the beginning, but that tapers off. Studies have shown that breastfed babies are less likely to be obese.
- Helps proper mental development. Breast milk helps to keep babies in a more alert state, which contributes to proper brain development.
If you decide to breastfeed here are some essentials breastfeeding accessories. Don’t miss this post!
How Breastfeeding Benefits You and Your Baby
While you may consider bottle feeding your baby breast milk, you should be aware that the simple act of breastfeeding also has benefits to your child, including:
- Increased bonding. Being close and connected to your child makes them feel safer with you and bond to you more.
- Promotes good oral health. Not only does breastfeeding prevent bottle tooth decay, it could also keep your child from having to wear braces in the future.
- Improves hand eye coordination. This is especially true if you switch sides and positions regularly.
How Breastfeeding Benefits Mom
The baby isn’t the only one to cash in on all of those nice benefits that breastfeeding has to offer. In addition to being beneficial to your baby, breastfeeding can provide benefits to you as well, including:
- Less hemorrhaging. Mothers who formula feed have to be given medicine after birth to shrink the uterus and prevent dangerous hemorrhaging. Nursing mothers produce this chemical naturally and typically do not need it, though not always.
- Less stress. Breastfeeding has been shown to decrease the incidence of illness in babies. Dealing with a healthy baby is much easier than having to deal with a sick baby.
- Birth control. Consistent breastfeeding has been shown to be effective in preventing ovulation. This effect may also help prevent breast, ovarian, and uterine cancers.
- Weight loss. Producing breast milk burns up a lot of calories. Mothers who nurse have been shown to take off the pregnancy weight faster.
- Increased bonding. In addition to helping your baby bond with you, breastfeeding produces hormones that help you bond better with your baby.
While best feeding is usually best, there are some instances where formula may be the better choice. (Only you will know the best decision for you and your baby.) Overall, breastfeeding can be a rewarding and beneficial experience for you and your baby.
Breastfeeding Benefits for Sick Baby
Did you know that your breast milk can and does change according to your baby’s needs at any given time? When your baby is sick, your body will actually sense a pathogen from your baby’s saliva and begin to make antibodies against it. Pretty cool, hey? Check out this post to see one mom’s experience with breastfeeding a sick baby.
Breastfeeding Benefits for Premature Babies
Premature babies (babies who are born at least 3 weeks early) need all the help they can get. Breastmilk is one such way to give them all of the important nutrients to give them a healthy boost. If you are breastfeeding a premature baby, then breast milk will help stimulate her immune system, help her to grow, and help her to begin to develop properly. Some premature babies have a difficult time latching on, and that’s okay. Just make sure to pump and feed your baby breast milk.
Breastfeeding Benefits and Breast Cancer
Since breastfeeding lowers your hormones or even suppresses them, then your chance of breast cancer is lowered as well. And the awesome thing? The benefits of breastfeeding against fighting breast cancer only increase the longer you breast-feed. That’s a win in my book!
Breastfeeding Benefits for Mom Weight Loss
Some moms will experience dramatic weight loss from breastfeeding. It’s not uncommon for a postpartum, lactating mom to shed her pregnancy weight without much effort. That is due in large part to the fact that producing breast milk also expends a lot of calories. Don’t fret if you are not one of the moms who benefits by losing weight. It will come off eventually.
How Long Do Breastfeeding Benefits Last
Essentially, that question could be answered many different ways. Obviously, if breastfeeding prevent breast cancer or certain childhood cancers, then it’s safe to say that the benefits of breastfeeding last a lifetime. But while your baby is actively breastfeeding, she is also experiencing many benefits that will carry her into childhood. The longer you breast-feed, the more beneficial to you and your baby.
The Benefits When Breastfeeding, Make it Worth It
In my humble opinion, there so many benefits to breastfeeding, that I can’t imagine not breastfeeding. Sure, there is a learning curve and at times it might be uncomfortable or inconvenient, but when I weigh the benefits of being able to feed my baby the most pure form of food there is, then I remind myself that breastfeeding is worth it for sure!
I have been breastfeeding for nearly 18 years, almost simultaneously. It has brought tremendous health benefits to me as well as my children. I can safely say that we are all very healthy and I believe that is due in large part to the decision to breastfeed. If you’re on the fence about whether or not you should breastfeed, contemplate the benefits for you and your baby and then weigh your options. You can do it!
Why Breastfeed: 15 Reasons Why Breastfeeding Is Important