Breast milk is hands down the best source of nutrition for your baby. It is readily available and comes packed full of essential nutrients, all in an easy-to-digest form. The process of breastfeeding has also been proven to be tremendously beneficial for both mom and baby. This article will take a detailed look at some of these benefits. They have been categorized into the benefits for moms and the benefits for babies.
Benefits for mothers
1. Emotional satisfaction
For a lot of moms, the act of nursing induces a feeling of joy and fulfillment. The physical and emotional connection between mother and child produces peaceful, nurturing sensations that help you relax, clear your mind, and focus on your child. This explains why several studies have shown that a nursing mother’s brain has almost the same patterns as that of a person in deep meditation.
2. Great for bonding with your baby
Breastfeeding is the perfect excuse to sit down, relax, and bond with your little angel. It is one of the best ways for the bonding process to occur because not only will your little one be getting the food that they need, but they’ll also get comforted and nurtured at the same time. In the process, your baby will get used to you and you’ll grow to care deeply about them.
3. Hormonal benefits
Breastfeeding helps to release oxytocin and prolactin that relax the mother, lowering the risk of postpartum depression. These hormones are also responsible for affecting regions of the brain that promote nurturing and relaxation, which can have long-term benefits.
Oxytocin is often called the love hormone. It activates your maternal instincts and makes you feel closer to your baby, encouraging maternal caregiving. This explains why mothers who breastfeed have a lower rate of maternal neglect than those who do not.
Another hormonal benefit of breastfeeding lies in the uterus. The uterus grows a lot during pregnancy. After delivery, it starts to shrink back to its normal size. Oxytocin helps drive this process. The increased oxytocin production that happens as you breastfeed helps the uterus to contract while also reducing bleeding, helping your body go back to normal a lot sooner.
4. Breastfeeding has been proven to have long term health benefits
Breastfeeding provides mothers with long-term protection against several diseases, including several cancers. The longer a mom breastfeeds, the greater these benefits have been shown to be.
Women who breastfeed are at a lower risk of breast cancer, ovarian and endometrial cancer. Studies also show that breastfeeding has a protective effect against uterine cancer as well as heart disease.
Breastfeeding for between 1 to 2 years over your lifetime additionally lowers your risk of high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, and arthritis by up to 50%.
5. Other bonuses
- For some moms, breastfeeding makes it easier to lose weight
Some women find the process of losing weight during breastfeeding to be almost effortless. The energy demands of breastfeeding leads to an increase in body-fat burning, making mothers who breastfeed to lose more weight than those who don’t.
- Breast feeding will help you save time and money
Breastfeeding is 100% free, and your baby’s food comes already prepped and at the perfect temperature, ready to go at a moment’s notice. Formula feeding, on the other hand, is expensive because you have to buy formula and several different-sized bottles just to get started. After that, you have to spend a lot of time carefully calculating how much your baby needs every day, as well as cleaning up afterwards.
Night feeding is also a breeze when you are breastfeeding. You do not have to think about mixing and warming up bottles in the middle of the night, which can be problematic when you are half asleep. All you have to do is pull out a breast and let the baby do all the work.
- Breastfeeding is also more environmentally friendly
Breastfeeding is not wasteful. It does not create pollution or consume scarce resources. Instead, it is a completely renewable source of your baby’s nourishment needs. It does not need anything to be packaged or shipped before or after the process. Plus, you have no bottles to wash or formula packaging to dispose of.
Image source: The Alpha Parent
As you can see, breastfeeding is extremely beneficial for both mother and child. Apart from the nutrients, breast milk also has antibodies that help protect your baby from diseases and illnesses. Mothers who breastfeed also experience lots of perks, not least of which are less stress and lots of convenience.
While it is true that some women are unable to breastfeed for one reason or another, there is a growing trend of women who are simply choosing not to breastfeed. If you have the option of choosing to breastfeed or not to, going for the breastfeeding option is simply the smart choice for all these reasons and more.