Written by my contributing writer, Rachel
Most nights (and days) were exhausting in the early months of breastfeeding my daughter. On those days when I really wanted to throw my hands up in defeat, it helped to remind myself of the benefits of breastfeeding.
In no particular order, here are 7 benefits of breastfeeding that I found most encouraging and many times impressive.
1. Just what baby needs. As long as your baby is gaining weight and has normal diapers, you can rest assured that they are getting exactly what they need from you. Keep feeding yourself well, and drink, drink, drink your water! If you don’t do these things, the only person who will be left wanting will be you.
2. Keeps sickness at bay. Breast milk is a wonder liquid. In a lot of cases it can prevent your child from getting sick. Your body’s own immunities pass through your milk to your little one. Recently my husband and I had a terrible 24 hour stomach bug. Thankfully, neither of my children got it! (I am tandem nursing. A new thing for me that I may write about it in an upcoming post.)
3. Helps mommy! Sometimes we suffer from supermom syndrome, which has us running all around the place, trying to care for our new little one, take care of ourselves and our home. Nursing forces you to sit down. When your baby is nursing, your body releases the hormone oxytocin. During labor, this progressed your contractions. When nursing, the release of this hormone will relax you.
4. Get more acquainted. That same hormone that relaxes you (oxytocin) will also aid in the bonding process between you and your new baby. Those first few months of welcoming a baby into the family has its challenges. Making time to simply focus on your baby may be one of those challenges. I have found this to be especially true with my second child. I am having to balance my time with a toddler, newborn, housework, myself, and most importantly my husband. Nursing is the most one-on-one time I get with my little baby boy.
5. Free! One way I contribute to the budget of our one income family is by breastfeeding! It does not cost anything but my time. Women’s Health states that women who breastfeed exclusively can save between $1,200 – $1,500 on formula!
6. Insta-soother. It is incredible how babies find comfort when at their mama’s bosom. They can sense your calmness, or lack thereof, when nursing. My daughter was 5 months old when our car was rear ended at a stop light. Praise God that neither one of us were injured, but she was pretty startled. A kind couple let us sit in their car and nurse while we waited for my husband to arrive. My daughter’s beautiful eyes searched my face as she nursed and instantly stopped crying. She knew she was safe. Even now during her toddler meltdowns I can nurse her and it changes her mood instantly.
7. Easy. I have not had to deal with preparing or cleaning bottles in order to feed my children. I simply find a place to sit and they begin eating right then and there.
For more great breastfeeding information, visit the World Health Organization’s website.
What are the reasons you breastfeed/breastfed or are considering to do so?