The Benefits of Breastfeeding
Breastfeeding simply has more benefits than any baby formula conceivable, because nature has perfectly tailored breast milk to optimize your baby's mental, physical and social growth. The benefits of breastfeeding are enhanced if you exclusively breastfeeding for the first six months of your baby's life, as recommended by experts. So what are the benefits of breastfeeding?
Breastfeeding Benefits for Baby
- Nutrition and Growth: A mother's breast milk has exactly the right nutritional components for a baby's growth. Breast milk has the right amount of protein, sugar, fat and water, making it easily digestible. A breastfed baby will also grow as she should—healthier and leaner; breastfed babies are less likely to be obese later in life.
- Brain Development: Breastfeeding your baby will also ensure better brain development than formula-fed babies. Studies have found that breastfed babies gain 5 IQ on average over their formula-fed counterparts. Researchers believe that 40% (1.8 IQ points) of this IQ point difference stems from the nutrition provided by breastfeeding and that 60% (3.2 IQ points) stems from the emotional bonding between the mother and baby.
- Immune System Boost: Breast milk is full of antibodies, which protect your baby from viruses and bacteria. This means less ear infections, diarrhea, stomach infections, leukemia and respiratory illnesses such as asthma and pneumonia. Their immune system is generally stronger. Your breastfed baby will visit health care professionals less often, which means money savings for you! Also, because human breast milk is always sterile, it means you don't have to spend time sterilizing bottles and nipples.
- Emotional Attachment: Breastfeeding provides a bonding experience that is incredibly intense. This also benefits mothers, who may be stressed out or suffering from the 'baby blues.'
Breastfeeding Benefits for Mother
- Reduces Risk of Breast Cancer: Breastfeeding has been found to cut the risk of breast cancer by 20% in women ages 20-49 and by 60% in ages 50-60. This benefit is found to work regardless of duration of breastfeeding. It's thought that breastfeeding causes structural changes within the breast that prevent cancer.
- Convenience: Breast milk is readily available and your body will keep producing milk until you stop using it. Unlike the bottles for formula-fed infants, you don't need to spend time sterilizing. You also won't have to go to the grocery store if you run out of formula.
- Weight Loss: Breastfeeding helps you lose your pregnancy pounds more rapidly. This is because breastfeeding is an active metabolic process that uses up 200 to 500 calories each day—the equivalent of It'll also help your uterus contract to it's pre-pregnancy stage by promoting uterine involution.
- Natural Birth Control: Lactational Amenorrhea Method (LAM) is proven to be 98-99% effective in preventing pregnancy. Basically, while you breastfeed, your period stops and it's highly unlikely that you get pregnant again (until you stop breastfeeding). So breastfeeding is an excellent natural form of birth control.
- Helps Relieve Stress: Breastfeeding hormones lower a nursing mother's stress levels.
- Money: You don't have to spend any money on formula, bottles or other formula equipment. Because breastfeeding also enhances your baby's immune system, you'll spend less money on doctor visits.
These are some of the benefits of breastfeeding for mother and baby. It's no wonder that so many women are choosing to breastfeed their babies longer these days! Join in a chat about breastfeeding with other moms.
For more information check out our pregnancy and breastfeeding vidos.