As women, we have always heard about that “breastfeeding is best for babies up to two years old”. We have heard them in commercials and read them in publications. But what are the benefits of breastfeeding?
Awesome benefits of breastfeeding for mom and baby
Here I will discuss the benefits for both mom and baby and will share my experiences as well.
Breastfeeding is Not Easy for Everyone
I have to admit that breastfeeding does not come as easy and as naturally for everyone. I had my fair share of difficulties and with my first daughter Dindin, I was not able to successfully breastfeed her. She was on the breast for two months only.
With my second daughter Shane, I was able to exclusively breastfeed her. This especially happened because of the efforts of mommy breast-friends who encouraged me to keep going. You can read about my experience here: Perseverance is Key to Breastfeeding.
- Read about my breastfeeding portrait.
Nutrition also played a vital role in my breastfeeding journey. My tummy felt like it was an aquarium because of high volumes of liquids like soup, juices, and water. And of course, there’s seafood, like premium fish and shellfish that are supposed to encourage milk supply. Malunggay capsules were also a part of my daily intake.
- Related: Normalize Breastfeeding Bacolod
Benefits of Breastfeeding for Babies
In simple terms, here are the benefits of breastfeeding for our little ones.
Breast milk has everything they need.
Breast milk contains everything that your baby needs, especially for the first six months of life. The first milk (called the colostrum) that comes out of the mom’s breast is thick, rich in protein, and loaded with beneficial compounds for the baby. The only possible exception is vitamin D, so we would let our babies sunbathe early in the morning every day.
Breast milk is loaded with Antibodies.
Humans need antibodies that fight off infection. And breast milk is loaded with all that, especially immunoglobin A. This can help your baby fight off or prevent common illnesses. We have really noticed the difference between our first daughter and and second daughter. The second one, Shane, who has been breastfed till 3.5 years old, is not very sickly. If she does get the colds, it doesn’t stay long, unlike her older sister.
May reduce risk of diseases.
Because it is healthy, natural, and designed for the baby’s body, breast milk may reduce the baby’s risk of infections and many diseases. These include allergy, celiac disease, and even the development of diabetes.
Reduce risk of obesity.
While obesity may be a lifestyle disease, a lot of obese babies and toddlers have had consumed large amounts of formula milk. Meanwhile, breastfed babies have lower obesity rates because mother’s milk does not have additional sugar. Breast milk also has more leptin and more beneficial gut bacteria.
Benefits of Breastfeeding for Moms
On the other hand, moms also reap some great benefits because of breastfeeding.
In healing the uterus.
Breastfeeding increases the production of oxytocin, a hormone that causes contractions in the uterus. It reduces blood loss after child birth and helps the uterus return to its previous smaller size.
In losing the pregnancy weight.
Breastfeeding requires a lot of energy. It was reported that a single session of feeding a baby can use up to 500 calories. But if we are not careful, we can also gain weight. Needless to say, with that much calorie burning, it is easy to get hungry and eat more than we need.
So as breastfeeding moms, we need to be careful with what we eat, choosing healthy foods that will increase our milk production some more without packing in the pounds. By the way, I also took Conzace as part of my post-partum healing supplements. It was recommended by my OB-Gyne.
Though not exactly fool-proof, breastfeeding can be a natural birth control method. Regular breastfeeding pauses ovulation and menstruation. In my experience with Shane, my period resumed 1 year and 2 months after Shane’s birth. As for Shawna, because she was on the breast for only 2 months, my menstruation came back after only three months postpartum.
In preventing postpartum depression.
Studies have linked breastfeeding to preventing postpartum depression. That is because, with the increased amounts of oxytocin in their system, mommies feel naturally encouraged to render care for their newborns. They are also more relaxed and are able to bond with their child better.
I have to agree with this because with Shawna, I experienced mild postpartum depression. With Shane, I can’t even remember feeling sad at all. Indeed, breastfeeding can make mama happy.
Lowers risk of reproductive diseases.
Breastfeeding for more than one year reduces the risk of breast and ovarian cancer by 28%. That’s a very high number. Moreover, breastfeeding has also been linked to the reduced risk of several other reproductive and debilitating diseases.
If you are breastfeeding, you don’t have to worry about buying formula milk, especially when your family budget is getting tight. At most , some of the things that you will need are a breastfeeding cover and nipple cream. If you are working, you might need a breast pump and bottles for storage. You will need supplements, though. You would need them either to increase milk supply or to stay in optimal health.
Breastfeeding is actually easier for mommies. Well, at least, I find it easier. There’s no need to warm up bottles or calculate your baby’s daily needs. No need to wash feeding bottles and accessories as well. If you are a work at home mom like me, it’s much easier as well. I just open my top and feed. No hassle.
At night, when Shane wakes up, I just let her latch and then we both go back to sleep. Although it might not be the same with your child, mine didn’t need burping. So we go to sleep peacefully throughout the night.
Here are a couple of breastfeeding tips for you.
- Breastfeeding is something very personal for every mom. However, we know that breastfeeding is not for everyone. It may either be because of a choice or a circumstance. In my case, I desperately wanted to breastfeed my eldest daughter, but because of health problems, I was not able to. I had to give her formula milk.
- If you are unable to breastfeed, don’t worry. You still have choices. But if you can, please don’t hesitate to breastfeed because it is best for your babies. I can attest to that with my own two kids.
Note: Photos of breastfeeding moms featured here have been previously made public in the FB page, Normalize Breastfeeding in Bacolod.