Did you know breastfeeding isn’t just a way to feed your baby?
Breastfeeding actually has lots of health effects for both babies AND for Moms!
So if you’re thinking about making the decision to nurse then you’re gonna want to read about these breastfeeding benefits for baby and mom!
Even if you already started breastfeeding it’s good to know about its benefits if you don’t!
Some may even surprise you!
So for all you Mamas wanting to know more about the benefits of nursing, read on to find out!
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Breastfeeding Benefits for Baby and Mom
How Does Breastfeeding Affect the Mother?
1. Helps You Lose Baby Weight
Breastfeeding helps you whaaat?
Yes, one of the awesome advantages of breastfeeding is that it can help you lose that baby weight! In fact, breastfeeding burns 20 calories for every 1 oz. of breast milk you produce.
2. Shrinks Your Uterus Faster
When you breastfeed your body will produce a hormone called oxytocin. The hormone oxytocin helps shrink your uterus back to its pre-pregnancy size.
So breastfeeding will actually help your uterus shrink faster!
This shrinking does cause cramps though, so don’t be surprised if you start to get a bit crampy when you’re breastfeeding.
3. Bonding Time With Baby
Bonding with your baby is very important. One of the ways you can bond together is by breastfeeding!
Breastfeeding is a type of connection that only Moms can do. When you’re nursing you’re doing skin-to-skin contact, eye contact, and giving them a familiar place which may help calm them down at times.
4. Saves You Money
Breastfeeding actually has a financial benefit as well!
In a word, buying formula is EXPENSIVE. It costs an average of $3,000 a year to formula feed!
Even if you buy some nursing clothes, a breast pump, and a nursing pillow, it’s still cheaper than formula feeding.
So breastfeeding will actually save you money!
5. Delays Periods
The hormones that you produce while breastfeeding can cause your period to be delayed longer.
It differs from woman to woman when your menstrual cycle will return. But typically your period won’t come back until around 9-12 months when breastfeeding.
Though it can be longer or come sooner than that.
Some women don’t experience their period again until they have completely stopped breastfeeding!
6. Possible Birth Protection
Since breastfeeding can suppress ovulation, it has been said that it could be used as possible birth control. Using breastfeeding as a form of birth control or called the Lactational Amenorrhea Method (LAM).
But for it to work you’d have to exclusively breastfeed around the clock day and night. With no food, water, or formula. It would also depend on how often you feed your baby and how long they eat at each feeding as well.
You can learn more about breastfeeding and fertility here.
7. Lowers Risk of Getting of Ovarian & Breast Cancer
Some studies have shown that women who breastfeed have a lower chance of getting ovarian and breast cancer.
Here this research about breastfeeding and cancer, says that, breastfeeding not only reduces breast cancer risk but also confers other health benefits to the mother including reduced risk for endometrial and ovarian cancers and reduced risk for chronic conditions that are also risk factors for cancer, such as hypertension and diabetes.
It also goes on to say, A 2013 review of 32 studies concluded that the risk of having breast cancer was 14% lower among parous women who had ever breastfed compared with parous women who never breastfed. The protective effect of breastfeeding persisted regardless of the number of births and was even greater for women who had cumulatively breastfed for 12 months or longer; they had a 28% lower risk of breast cancer.
8. Helps Mom to Relax
It can get pretty crazy at times having a baby!
I mean, a Mom needs some down-time too right? Well, breastfeeding may help you get some of that relaxing time in!
When you’re breastfeeding you’re able to sit down and just relax for a bit while being with your baby.
Your body even releases a hormone when you’re breastfeeding called prolactin which literally helps you to relax!
9. Helps Baby Trust You
All that skin-to-skin contact, eye contact, and just being close to you while breastfeeding can help them feel more secure with you.
And tending to their needs like feeding them when they’re hungry can also help them trust you more. It lets them know you’re here and that you’ll take care of them!
10. Makes Traveling Easier
With bottle-feeding, you gotta pack extra items like the formula, bottles, water, cleaning utensils, etc.
But with breastfeeding all you need is you and the baby and you’re ready to go!
If anything all you’d need to take with are some burp cloths and a nursing cover.
11. Saves Time
Cleaning and sterilizing all those bottles and nipples every day can be a hassle.
It can also be very time-consuming.
But everything is all ready to go with breastfeeding! No need to clean, mix, or warm-up anything!
Wanna know more about breastfeeding? Check out The Ultimate Breastfeeding Course! It’s super affordable and full of helpful information for Mommies who are wanting to breastfeed! You’ll learn about latching, positioning, and much more! You can see what The Ultimate Breastfeeding Class has to offer here!
What Benefits Do Babies Get From Breastfeeding?
12. Helps With Baby’s Immunity
Babies don’t have much of an immune system yet since they’ve never really been exposed to anything.
Breast milk though contains lots of antibodies that are get passed on to your breastfeeding infant!
These antibodies can help them fight off viruses and bacteria which will help them from getting sick or as sick.
13. Bonding Time With Mom
Your baby is in a very nurturing and comforting place when they’re breastfeeding.
Babies love being close to their Mommies so this makes breastfeeding great bonding time! And they get lots of skin-to-skin contact with Mom!
14. Helps With Brain Devoplement
Some studies have shown that breastfeeding may be linked to a higher IQ score later in childhood. It is thought that the fatty acids in breast milk may have something to do with it.
In this test study, they were trying to see whether prolonged and exclusive breastfeeding improves children’s cognitive ability at age 6.5 years.
Here it stated that, “The experimental intervention led to a large increase in exclusive breastfeeding at age 3 months and a significantly higher prevalence of any breastfeeding at all ages up to and including 12 months.”.
Based on the results and strong evidence from the test, they concluded that prolonged and exclusive breastfeeding does improve children’s cognitive development.
15. Reduces the Risk of SIDS
Though studies are inconclusive, babies who were breastfed had lower accounts of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrom).
In this study, they found that breastfeeding of a duration of at least 2 months was associated with half the risk of SIDS.
16. Easier to Digest
Baby formula is made with milk products which are hard for babies to digest. Breast milk though is made specifically for human babies!
Which makes breast milk is much easier for babies to digest!
17. Fewer Bellyaches, Diarrhea, and Constipation
Babies break down breast milk easier than formula. So as long as you don’t eat anything that upsets your baby’s belly, there will be fewer bellyaches, diarrhea, and constipation with breastfeeding.
18. Reduces the Risk of Obesity
In these studies, breastfeeding was associated with a reduced risk of obesity, compared with formula feeding.
They concluded that initial breastfeeding protects against obesity in later life. But more research is needed.
19. Fewer Ear Infections
It’s been said that babies who exclusively breastfeed have fewer ear infections.
In this article about breastmilk, they said that “Any breastfeeding compared with exclusive commercial infant formula feeding will reduce the incidence of otitis media (OM) by 23%. And exclusive breastfeeding for more than 3 months reduces the risk of otitis media by 50%.”.
They then continue to say that “Serious colds and ear and throat infections were reduced by 63% in infants who exclusively breastfed for 6 months.”.
20. Lowers Chances of Leukemia
Though more studies need to be done, it has been said that breastfeeding may lower the risk of getting childhood cancers like leukemia.
In this study that was conducted in 2015, found that there was a 19% lower risk of childhood leukemia than children who were not breastfed or breastfed for a shorter period of time. And a child who had been breastfed for any amount of time less than six months — even those who had been breastfed just once — had an 11% lower risk for childhood leukemia than those who were never breastfed,
21. Reduces UTIs
Breastfeeding helps reduce the chances of your baby getting UTIs (Urinary Tract Infections).
In this scientific research study here, they were trying to see the possible protective effect of exclusive breastfeeding against first-time febrile urinary tract infection (UTI) in children.
They stated that, the impact of breastfeeding on the risk of UTI was estimated by a hazard ratio, non-breastfeeding versus breastfeeding, equal to 2.30, 95% confidence interval 1.56–3.39. The ratio was significantly larger than 1 (p > 0.001). This finding means that there was a significantly higher risk of UTI for babies who were not breastfed compared with babies of similar age with ongoing breastfeeding.
How Much Breastmilk Does a Baby Need to Get the Benefits?
Research has shown that the benefits of breastfeeding are generally does-related. Meaning that the more breastmilk baby gets, the greater the benefits are.
And that the longer you breastfeed, the more profound and long-lasting the benefits will be.
Is it Beneficial to Breastfeed After 6 Months?
It says here that The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends exclusive breastfeeding for about 6 months, followed by continued breastfeeding as complementary foods are introduced, with the continuation of breastfeeding for 1 year or longer as mutually desired by mother and infant.
So yes it is beneficial, but ultimately it’s up to you and baby when it’s time to start weaning.
But they do say that any amount of breastmilk is better than no breastmilk at all!
As you can see there are many breastfeeding benefits for baby and mom!
After reading these you can see why so many people talk about the importance of breastfeeding.
So whether you’re giving baby breast milk straight from the breast or pumping it into a bottle for them, they’ll be getting those wonderful health benefits!
The Secret to Getting the Perfect Latch
(Please keep in mind that I am not a doctor, breastfeeding specialist, or a lactation consultant. I’m only a Mom who is going off of her own experiences and research. If you’d like to know more you can read my full disclaimer policy here .)
What do you think about the benefits of breastfeeding? Did any of them surprise you? Which ones didn’t you know about before reading this? Tell me below in the comments! And if you liked this post, give it a share! Thanks!