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There is something simply magical about breastfeeding.
No doubt– It can be difficult to get the hang of (especially when you’re experiencing soreness) and sometimes a pain to overcome challenges along the way… hello, teeth.
But when you add up all the crazy ways that breastfeeding benefits you and your baby, it’s really a no-brainer.
NOTE: For some moms, it’s just not possible to breastfeed. If that’s the case, know that you are absolutely no less of a mom if you formula feed (even if it’s a choice).
However, the fact that you’ve landed on this post means that you are at least considering breastfeeding, even if you haven’t fully made your decision yet.
So, let’s get to it! Here are some crazy awesome ways that nursing benefits you and your baby.
Breastfeeding benefits for mom and baby
1. Breastmilk adjusts
Breastmilk is a naturally balanced combo of everything your baby needs to thrive.
It contains the perfect amounts of vitamins, minerals, proteins, carbohydrates, fats, and a whole lot more that provides nourishment and quenches your baby’s thirst.
Breastmilk also changes as your baby grows to give your child exactly what she needs at the right time.
If you want to learn more about breastmilk composition, take a look at this Medela article.
2. Breastfeeding encourages bonding
When you nurse, your body releases a hormone called oxytocin.
Oxytocin nudges milk that’s already in the breast to flow, but it has psychological benefits too– When released, oxytocin can make you feel more relaxed and loving, which is a recipe for the best baby snuggling ever.
This is where it gets its nickname, “The Love Hormone,” because it helps you connect with your baby and encourages bonding.
3. Speeds recovery
While we’re on the topic of oxytocin– Another advantage of this hormone is its ability to cause the uterus to contract.
While mild cramping during breastfeeding doesn’t sound too fun at first, it’s beneficial because it may help your uterus to shrink back to its normal size faster and lessen postpartum bleeding.
Say goodbye to bulky pads and hello to a speedy recovery!
So, oxytocin: the holy grain of hormones? Seems that way.
4. Keeps your period away
Good news: Constantly breastfeeding– day and night– can postpone the return of your period, thanks to the release of pituitary hormones.
When will my period return while breastfeeding?
This is one of those things where there isn’t a “one size fits all” answer; however, it will probably be sometime between 9 and 18 months postpartum.
You could possibly have a walking, babbling toddler before you have to worry about your period again.
5. Burns calories (hello, bonus snack)
You read that right. Breastfeeding burns an extra 450 to 500 calories per day.
So go ahead, indulge in that extra something you’ve been craving. Just don’t go too nuts– think hearty snack, not dessert buffet.
6. Helps prevent infections
Breastmilk is packed with lots of good stuff like antibodies, white blood cells, and other important components that help fight off infections to keep your baby healthy.
Basically, your baby gets protection from infections your immune system has successfully fought off in the past.
Protection that’s served up in the form of tasty meals. With a side of cuddles.
7. Breastfeeding is free
Lastly, breastfeeding literally won’t cost you a dime.
If you’ve been money-conscious during your pregnancy and the cost of formula stresses you out, consider breastfeeding.
It will save you quite a bit.
The benefits of breastfeeding are plentiful.
Wouldn’t you agree?
When you first start breastfeeding, it will probably take some practice to get the swing of it, but what new endeavor isn’t like this?
Once you are aware of the key to successful breastfeeding, it’ll be far easier and faster than pumping or warming up a bottle.
Doing a little prep work before your baby arrives makes nursing more enjoyable too. Things like making a list of shows to watch, stocking the kitchen with healthy snacks you can eat with one hand, and making sure you have all the breastfeeding essentials.
Above all, try to cherish your special bonding time. I know that’s easier said than done when you’re getting by on two minutes of sleep or stressed out from the work-life juggle.
But, there’s nothing else like breastfeeding, and you’re the only one who gets to do it with your child.
And, one day when your kids no longer need to nurse and you’ve closed the baby-making factory, you might even feel a pang of sadness knowing you’ll never breastfeed again.
So, consider giving breastfeeding a try so that you and your baby can reap all the health benefits and soak up every minute of closeness.