Anyone who has gone down the breastfeeding journal fully understands the challenges that come with nursing your baby. There´s worrying about whether you are producing enough, concentrating on your diet to not upset your love bugs belly, laying off the alcohol after spending 40 weeks sober then adding a crying infant to the equation, and the whole process of planning your days around either pausing to nurse your baby or to hook up to a pump. The community of breastfeeding mamas is it´s own world; these women make GOBS of sacrifices for the benefits breastfeeding will bring to their baby and to their body as well. If you are interested in the benefits of breast milk for your baby, or need more convincing as to why you should nurse your sweet baby love.. see the list here.
Let me also state that the benefits breastfeeding has on mamas goes MUCH further than the following list, but these are just the top reasons I chose to breastfeed both my babies. I am not a doctor, however, I did pull information from a variety of sources to compile the list and make it easier and less time consuming on you. The list is full of all the reasons breastfeeding was important to me personally as a mama.
- Reduces the risk of breast and ovarian cancers. According to Lindsey Wohlford, wellness dietitian, “Research shows mothers who breastfeed lower their risk of pre- and post-menopausal breast cancer. And, breastfeeding longer than the recommended six months can provide additional protection,” this is partly because while you are breastfeeding, you shed breast tissue. The breast tissue that is shed can help rid your breast of the cells with DNA damage, which could potentially lead to cancers in the future if they remained in your body. Studies have shown that the risk of a woman getting breast cancer decreases by 4.3% for every 12 months she nurses. If you would like to read more on the research linking breastfeeding with the reduced risk for cancer, http://www.aicr.org/press/press-releases/breastfeeding-protects-moms.html is a great source to start.
- Shedding that pregnancy weight. Often, many women experience weight loss at a faster pace if they choose to breastfeed their child. On average, breastfeeding burns 500 extra calories per day working to increase milk supply. 1. Your body is working at a constant pace to produce milk and regulate temperatures, hormones, etc. 2. While you breastfeed, your stomach muscles contract which can cause you to need to use the bathroom often.. I can only speak for the csection mamas out there when I say: A LOT of going to the bathroom due to your stomach contractions. And 3. Many breastfeeding mamas are more conscious about what they eat since it is a direct line to what their baby will be eating, which = healthier lifestyle and additional weight loss.
- The chance to prevent menstruation. Many women do not ovulate or menstruate during the time they are nursing. This is not true for ALL women, but it is an added bonus for those that are lucky enough to experience not having to worry about any surprise visits from Aunt Flow.
- Save your precious time. Breastfeeding is a major time saver when your calculate the time it takes to prepare the bottle (part wise), mix up the formula and water, heat to the correct temperature. Not to mention the clean up you have to do in order to prepare for the next feeding.
- Save that Money Honey!! Breastfeeding mamas have free food for their baby without spending a penny to make this possible; it just comes naturally. Formula is expensive, and often times it takes more than one type in order to find a brand your baby likes. That´s not even taking into account the sweet babies that have allergies and require the special brands of formula to avoid becoming sick.
- Your Uterus Contracts at a faster Rate. While you breastfeed, your body produces a higher level of oxytocin. Oxytocin is a hormone that is active during labor and causes contractions in your uterus; basically, your uterus will thank you for breastfeeding because it is going to contract so much due to the oxytocin which = pre-pregnancy uterus size.
- Less Likely to Develop Postpartum Depression. Speaking of increased Oxytocin levels….Women who choose to breastfeed are less likely to experience postpartum depression because their oxytocin and prolactin hormone levels will be elevated. The elevation of these hormones typically cause a woman to be more apt to relax. The oxytocin also encourages the bonding aspect between mama and baby.. the skin-to-skin physical contact is extremely important for both.
- Less Stress while Traveling. When you breastfeed, you have the peace of mind and confidence that your baby is always sucking a clean surface with the milk at a perfect temperature. You don´t have to over pack on long trips or try to make room for formula and diaper bag friendly containers for formula in your suitcase because you carry all the milk your baby needs in two, easy-to-access, jugs.
Like I said earlier, there are MANY benefits to breastfeeding, these are just my list of favorites. The overall comfort breastfeeding brings is unmatched to any other. Aside from mental and physical benefits for me, there´s the simple fact that breastfeeding your baby is what is best for the baby.. which is plenty enough reason for me to nurse. Being a mama to my Knox man and my sweet Aspen is all I ever dreamed of doing. Breastfeeding is not something you get a second chance at, so deciding ahead of time that you WILL nurse that sweet baby is the best way to prepare and stick it out. Make sure your hubby is on board,,, the more motivation and encouragement you can get, the better. If you need tips and tricks to make breastfeeding easier, check this out. It is hard work….. That´s what makes the reward so great. Seeing your baby benefit from you and your hard work is the most amazing experience.