The benefits of breastfeeding and breast milk can seem almost endless. In honor of World Breastfeeding Week, we are here to give you the lowdown.
First of all, breastfeeding has a host of benefits for mom. These include lower risk of breast cancer, ovarian cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, endometriosis, and diabetes. Mothers also have less hypertension and decreased blood pressure, as well as cardiovascular disease. Breastfeeding also promotes faster weight loss after birth and less chance of anemia. It even promotes your uterus to contract to normal size and decreases postpartum bleeding.
Breastfeeding also benefits mom emotionally. Breastfeeding produces oxytocin and prolactin which reduce stress and enhance positive feelings. For many women breastfeeding can also boost confidence and self-esteem. It is a great way to form a healthy attachment with your baby, as well as a strong bond. Breastfeeding has also been proven to decrease postpartum depression.
Breastfeeding is also convenient. Besides most clearly being free, there is no need for bottles, warm water or formula.
Breastfeeding also has many benefits for your baby as well. The most well know benefit being breastfed babies have strong immune systems since mom passes immunity to baby through breast milk. A stronger immune system means less colds, respiratory diseases, ear infections, and lower risk of hospitalization.
It also contributes to better vision, lower rates SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) and infant mortality. Breastfeeding can also contribute to older children with less allergies, asthma, eczema, childhood cancer, diabetes, Cohn’s disease, colitis, respiratory illnesses, cavities, and obesity.
Breastfeeding is even believed to be linked to brain growth and higher intelligence levels. However, this might be due to also the touch and eye contact which is necessary when breastfeeding.
While breast truly is best, it doesn’t mean it is the only way to feed your baby or that you should be obligated to exclusively breastfeed your baby. I personally was unable to provide enough milk when breastfeeding and eventually switched to formula feeding. The most important thing is that your baby is fed and well cared for.
Also, remember that after feedings whether you are breastfeeding or bottle feeding, nothing will help your baby more than an abdominal massage. Babies digestive tracts are immature and a good massage promotes good digestion and decreases colic. So, end your feeding session with Storybook.