Some of us choose to breastfeed, some of us don’t. No matter your decision, I think it’s important to be informed about the breastfeeding benefits for your baby.
If I could go back about 5 years, I would tell myself to push to breastfeed my babies. This is when I was pregnant with my first child and had the mindset of “nobody else could so I won’t even try” when WIC asked me if I intended to try breastfeeding. I was young, naive (I still probably am) and very uneducated. I couldn’t see the breastfeeding benefits for a little baby at that time.
Between the time that Mister K and Miss M were born, I did tons of research and my mindset did a massive shift. Now, I’m educated, a full advocate of breastfeeding, and even am looking to become a licensed lactation consultant.
The breastfeeding benefits are truly amazing and the woman’s body does incredible things. I want to share the 4 main breastfeeding benefits with you. Whether you are a young mom to be like I was, or someone else entirely, I hope discussing the breastfeeding benefits helps you.
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Breastfeeding is the healthiest option
Small disclaimer: I want to be sure to note that never, under any circumstance, am I implying that breastfeeding is “good” while bottle/formula feeding is “bad”. As long as you are doing what is necessary to supply your baby with much-needed nutrition to grow, you are rockin’ it as a momma!
Now that we got that out of the way, let’s get back to the breastfeeding benefits! The health benefits of breastfeeding are honestly incredible. Did you know that your breastmilk makeup will change depending on the child? As they grow, it changes. If they become sick or ill, it changes. If you tandem nurse and have one child on each breast, the makeup will be different on each side as well.
HOW FREAKING COOL IS THAT?! Nature and science is so neat, seriously.
Unfortunately, we are unable to imitate everything about breastmilk over to formula so there are many health benefits. According to Healthy Children they include things such as:
- It’s easier for baby to digest
- It contains ALL the nutrients, calories, and fluids that baby needs to be healthy
- It has growth factors to ensure baby develops properly
- It contains substances that formula doesn’t have to prevent many diseases and infections
- Releases hormones in mom’s body to promote motherly instincts
- Shrinks uterus back down to size more quickly after giving birth
- Burns lots more calories, which can help you lose your baby weight faster
- Delays return of menstrual cycle to keep much-needed iron in mom’s body
- Reduces the risk of mom forming any cancers
- Keeps mom’s bones nice and strong
…. and lots more! I highly suggest deepening your research if you’re curious to learn more about the health benefits. Breastfeeding is nature’s gift and contains so much important substance to assist in a healthy body; physically and psychologically.
Breastfeeding provides an incredible bonding experience
For 9 months, your sweet pea has been tucked safely inside of your womb. Then all of a sudden, they’re forced out into the world where there’s bright lights, loud noises, new smells, among other things.
Can you just imagine how scary that must be for them?
After making the grand entrance into the world, your sweet baby needs reassurance that you will continue to be there for them. This is where bonding during breastfeeding comes in. I personally enjoy skin on skin contact with my daughter and have since the beginning. It’s very important for baby’s development that they feel loved, safe, and protected. They need to feel that you are there for them.
You can still achieve this goal with formula, but there is something very different with breastfeeding. You form a much closer physical bond with your sweet babe that can’t be described in words. It’s an incredible experience that I find every mother should have the pleasure of experiencing. Looking in their sweet little eyes while they depend on you to grow and gain nourishment is truly an incredible experience.
Breastfeeding is loads more convenient
Now, let’s get to one of the most selfish breastfeeding benefits, shall we? It’s loads more convenient. While there is much controversy on co-sleeping and breastfeeding in public, I find they’re truly amazing. When you leave the house, it’s not necessary to pack a bag with bottles, water, formula, etc. All you need to do is latch baby on and carry on. The most you may have to worry about is what you’ll say when some naysayer decides it’s appropriate to voice their thoughts on the matter. Nurse on mama!!
Another way it’s more convenient though, is sleeping. With my son, I was waaaaay more tired and exhausted. I had to get up in the middle of the night to make bottles, feed him, and then get him to go back to sleep. Whereas with my daughter, I grab her from her bed which is right beside me if she’s in there, lay down with her, latch her on, and we both fall back asleep. Or if she’s already in bed with me, she will simply find it herself and nurse as much as she wants before falling back asleep. We both get so much more sleep this way!
Being a mother is already hard, and I’m glad that breastfeeding can make it easier for us!
Breastfeeding is a huge money saver
Now this point is probably the last on the list as far as breastfeeding benefits. But it still contributes to some degree! The fact of the matter is that formula is not cheap by any means. It costs even more now than it did 4 years ago when my son was little and I’m quite happy that we don’t have to worry about it.
When you look over a typical year for the average formula-fed baby, they spend around $1,600 on formula. Not to mention the bottles, cleaning supplies, and the possible medical costs when they develop an ear infection that breastmilk helps fight when formula does not.
I don’t know about you, but I would rather take that money and put it in a college fund for my sweet babe. That’s a good chunk of money!
Need more help? Check out these books:
The American Academy of Pediatrics New Mother’s Guide to Breastfeeding: Completely Revised and Updated Second EditionThe Womanly Art of Breastfeeding: Completely Revised and Updated 8th EditionThe Nursing Mother’s Companion – 7th Edition: The Breastfeeding Book Mothers Trust, from Pregnancy through Weaning