The benefits of breastfeeding is a long extensive list and it is one of the best choices you can make for mom and baby. I know that it is a selfless choice, and it requires much sacrifice for mom, but it has incredible benefits for not just baby but mom as well. It is an amazing time to bond with your baby and it helps mom slow down, which is a blessing in disguise, especially if you are a mom of multiple children. Breastfeeding has been studies for years and the power within what many called, “liquid gold” is undeniable. It is the perfect balance of nutrients and it has the ability to boost the baby’s immune system. It naturally contains antibodies that aren’t found in formula, which helps prevent ear infections, asthma, respiratory infections and other illnesses that can come. While there are many many benefits to breast feeding, today I am going to share the top five. I hope this encourages you and helps you push through the hard moments to this. Remember, this is a team sport between you and baby, don’t give up!
Top Five Benefits of Breast Feeding
1. Natural Immunity
Something that most people do not know about breastmilk is that it changes daily based upon the needs of baby. Breast milk contains antibodies that provide the baby with immunity to the viruses that the mother is immune to. This is why breast fed babies have fewer colds than formula fed babies. Some other benefits of breastfeeding is that they have fewer ear infections, respiratory viruses and stomach and digestion issues than their formula-fed babies. One of the most incredible connections between mom and baby is that when a newborn is exposed to a germ, he or she will transfer it back to the mother while nursing. And in turn, the mother’s milk will change to protect the baby against that germ. How amazing is that?!
2. Reduces the Risk of Cancer for Mom
One of the biggest benefits of breastfeeding is that it has the ability to reduce the risk of cancers for the mother. Cancers like breast, ovarian, and hormone receptive tumors all decrease in chances of occurring. Research shows that women who breastfeed lower their chances of pre and or post menopausal cancer, and breastfeeding longer than 6 months, gives you even more protection.
3. Supports Brain Development
Research suggests that breastfeeding produces the best results for brain growth. The research found that it can increase the baby’s brain development up to 30%. And the longer you breastfeed the stronger the brain will develop. Brown university did a study using a baby friendly MRI scan that showed exclusively breastfed babies had higher brain growth in certain parts of the brain over babies who were formula fed. The growth was found in parts of the brain that are associated with language, emotional function and cognition.
4. Losing Weight for Mom
The rumors are true! The hormones that you produce while you breastfeed cause muscle contractions in your uterus which helps your uterus to contract and shrink down. By six weeks your uterus will be back to its’ pre-pregnancy size which helps you look slimmer. It is a great step in the healing process in the 4th trimester. Also, breastfeeding is a calorie burner. You can burn. on average, around 500 extra calories a day breastfeeding!
5. Babies Sleep Longer
Many people have heard that formula fed babies sleep better but this is a myth. Research has shown that they wake about the same amount, but the benefit to breastfed babies is they get back to sleep faster. When breastfed babies feed oxytocin is released which makes them go to sleep quicker and easier. And other hormones in breastmilk help your baby sustain good circadian rhythms.