10 benefits of Breastfeeding
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Children are life’s little blessings. Once they are born, they are completely dependent upon you for everything. This will not change for a long time, some would even say for forever. Regardless, when this bundle of joy comes into your life, unless you are an expert, there are soo many questions that will be asked. What are your plans for feeding? What are your plans for sleeping arrangements? What, what, huh… the list goes on and on. Today I would like to give you a list of 10 benefits for breastfeeding.
1. When your baby is born, the doctor will put him/her on your chest.
This is direct skin-to-skin contact, that helps the baby and you bond. Think of it this way, your baby has just been taken from their home of 9 months, and now they are in this big world, without knowing anyone. They know you though, your voice, your smell, it’s all familiar. What if you were to continue this contact daily? Breastfeeding allows your baby to continue the skin-to-skin contact. It allows for your sweet little innocent cherub to gaze into mommy’s eyes all day long. It doesn’t get any closer than this.
2. The first milk that you produce after birth is known as colostrum. This magic gold contains the best amount of vitamins and nutrients that your little one needs. It also helps the digestive system grow and mature. You will produce this for about 3-5 days, where then your milk will change into what is known as mature milk. As your baby grows, and his/her needs change, your milk will change too, isn’t that cool.
3. Breast milk contains antibodies that will help your little one fight off viruses or allergies. According to research, it will also lower risks of developing asthma, or the flu. If you have paid any attention to the news as of late, you will notice a rise of respiratory infections. RSV is a serious and deadly infection that affects a baby’s lungs. Research has shown that breastfeeding lowers the risk of getting RSV.
4. Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is something that we as parents are terrified of. No one truly knows or understands why it happens, but it does and it’s truly terrible. Case control studies have shown that exclusive breastfeeding at 1 month, and continued breastfeeding throughout infancy (6 months) lowered the risk by 50%, that alone should make it worth it.
5. The antibodies that come packaged with breast milk, not only protect baby from viruses, RSV, or the flu, it also can help protect your baby from certain childhood cancers. Studies have found that breast milk contains cancer fighting properties that would protect against cancers such as Hodgkin’s disease or even Leukemia. I’ve seen this happen to children and it breaks my heart.
6. Money is a reason alone to breastfeed. When I am out buying groceries, I don’t have to buy formula. Do you know that formula can cost anywhere from $15-45 depending on size and brand. Now a container of formula generally has about 22 ounces. If a baby drinks a 4 ounce bottle at a time, this means that you would get 5 bottles. A baby can drink up to 5-6 bottles a day, depending on age. If my math is correct, then you would go through a container of formula a day. This means for an infant, you would need 4-5 containers a week, depending on size. Of course when a baby is a newborn, the calculations are lower, and the formula would last longer, this is just a reference. Keep in mind; you would also need to buy bottles, and extra nipples for those bottles. I won’t get into the gazillion different types of bottles in this post, but they can range anywhere from $3-10 depending on brand. As you can see, this certainly adds up.
7. Reasons for mom to breastfeed are also plentiful. When a mom nurses a newborn, the act of nursing will help mom’s uterus contract back down to its pre-baby size faster. If you have ever had a baby, you know that there are a lot of aftereffects that people don’t generally talk about. Breastfeeding will help with reducing blood loss after baby, again working with the uterus. Many people have said that breastfeeding, which burns calories, helped them get down to pre-baby weight faster as well. Because we are all made differently, and are different sizes, I cannot say for sure that you as the reader would experience this, but hey what’s the negative part of losing weight after baby?
8. One of the biggest reasons I still breastfeed my son, is that it lowers my risk of breast cancer. Ladies, breast cancer scares the bejusus out of me. I have had some women in my family die from this, and anything I can do to help lower my risk, I’m on board. According to breastcancer.org, if you breastfeed longer than a year, this is the best. If you are not able to continue for whatever reason, you still receive some benefits from the risk of getting cancer.
9. I know we care immensely about the Environment. Well, formula feeding takes bottles, and containers of formula and this creates trash. When you breastfeed, not only is it a continual process, it’s free and it doesn’t need to be warmed up, and always ready to go.
10. I save this one for last because it is a touchy subject as of late. Breastfeeding can be done anywhere. I will say that again, it can be done anywhere. There are no laws or rules against feeding your child. It really irks me when I read about women being shamed because they were feeding their baby in places like Target. Seriously, women can walk around with their “areas” out, but I can’t feed my child. I for one will feed my son wherever I am. I don’t care, if he is hungry, then I will feed him. This is up to your personal level of freedom when it comes to that, but I will root for you however your decide to feed your baby.
I hope you have enjoyed this article, because it is near and dear to my heart. With my youngest son I have been successful at continuing our journey for the past 16 months (article). There is a great deal of information in that one too for those who would like to continue their journey. I would love for you to leave your comments about breastfeeding and the benefits you have experienced. Stay tuned because I will give you more breastfeeding information in my next article…