Breastfeeding is truly one of the best things you can do for your new baby. Not only does it provide a special time for you to bond with your newborn, but it also provides ample nutrition that formulas and substitutes just can’t match.
But what other benefits does breastfeeding offer?
We’ve taken the time to break down why new mothers should consider breastfeeding and how doing so can improve the lives of both mother and child. Don’t believe me? Read on. Breastfeeding is fantastic for everyone and the following benefits show exactly why that is the case.
One of the best reasons to have a breastfed baby is to ensure he or she gets colostrum. This substance is yellowish in color and produced at the end of pregnancy and after birth. It’s a thick breast milk that contains a high amount of nutrients and antibodies that are essential for your newborn’s health. Getting this milk right after birth helps put your little one on the right path.
Breast milk is easy on your baby’s tummy. Quite simply, your child is designed to digest breast milk. The two go hand in hand. Supplementing with formula can cause digestion issues and there’s the possibility babies don’t get enough nutrition because of the extended process required for digesting cow’s milk.
Providing your newborn with breast milk plays a large role in preventing disease and boosting your child’s immunity to infections. This is largely due to the fact that your breast milk is specifically formulated for your baby and your baby alone. Formula feeding can increase the incidence of numerous conditions like obesity, diabetes, ear infections, diarrhea, asthma, dermatitis, and SIDs. In general, babies that are breastfed get sick less often, meaning mothers miss going to work less often, and their children grow up stronger and healthier.
This might seem like a strange benefit, but breastfeeding can actually save you money. Think of it this way, if you formula feed your baby, you have to buy all of the supplies to make that happen. Not only do you need to buy formula each week, you also have to purchase bottles, liners, bottle holders, brushes, and a variety of other tools to ensure your baby is fed properly. If you completely breastfeed your baby, you don’t need any of these supplies, which means fewer out of pocket expenses each week, fewer dishes to wash, less water used, etc.
Another huge benefit of breastfeeding is the physical contact you get to enjoy with your baby. Newborns thrive off of skin-to-skin contact. When you breastfeed, you are taking a quiet moment to bond with your baby. He or she feels warm and safe while in your arms. At the same time, mothers get the benefit of the release of oxytocin, a hormone that is released during birth and breastfeeding. This hormone stimulates the production and flow of milk and helps you feel calm and happy while feeding. It can also help to relieve some of the pain associated with breastfeeding like sore nipples.
Breastfeeding your baby can improve your health. Truly, it’s not just about the bonding experience you get with your newborn or how nutritious breast milk is for him. Making this effort can also reduce the risk of several diseases in mothers like breast cancer and ovarian cancer, diabetes, and postpartum depression. There is also some evidence to suggest breastfeeding can help mothers lose weight and it may help to prevent osteoporosis.
Even though stopping everything you’re doing to feed your baby might seem like somewhat of an inconvenience, it’s actually much more convenient than bottle or formula feeding. The bonding process can allow you to slip into a regular feeding routine more easily. Likewise, you don’t have to deal with the complications involved in cleaning bottles, mixing formula, and warming up bottles. When your baby is hungry, you can feed her right away, which means the process goes faster and interferes with your schedule less.
Decreased Medical Care
Should you solely breastfeed your baby, you could do your part toward reducing medical costs. Since breastfeeding improves infant health, doing so can cut back on the risk of infant death and hospital visits. If you don’t have to take your baby to the doctor’s office or the hospital as often, you’ll save money on in-office expenses and prescriptions. You’ll also save money on health insurance. As an added bonus, employers that provide health insurance won’t have to pay as much on premiums because of these decreased costs. Of course, this benefit can only really come to fruition if more women breastfeed.
Committing to breastfeed your newborn is beneficial to the environment as well. All of those formula containers, bottles, liners, and other supplies are thrown into a landfill once you’re done with them. All of this plastic doesn’t biodegrade, filling up the landfills and contributing to our pollution problem. By breastfeeding, you avoid the need for these items and improve the community in which we live.
While the enormous health benefits posited to your baby are the primary reasons to breastfeed, there are several other benefits as well that could weigh into your decision. You can improve your health, save money, further bond with your baby, save time, and preserve the environment just by opting for breastfeeding over formula and bottle feeding. For all these benefits, there’s no reason you shouldn’t breastfeed. If you have an underlying medical issue, formula feeding is made for you. After all, that’s why it exists! But if you’re in good health, don’t have to take medication, and you produce ample quantities of milk, go ahead and feed baby the natural way. He’ll definitely appreciate the immunity and bonding boost.