Friday, 2 August 2013

The Benefits of Breastfeeding

Where do I even start with this one? The benefits are so many, and they're finding new ones all the time. I've done so much reading on this that I truly don't want to overwhelm you.
We all know the obvious benefit that breast milk is simply the most nutritious and easily digestible food there is for babies. From here I'm just going to go off the top of my head in no particular order on some of the benefits I know.
Colostrum, the liquid our babies get before the milk comes in, is an amazing substance that has antibodies to start protecting our babies. There is way more to this substance than that one sentence contains. For a fuller description, please go here. Once again I was amazed while reading how perfectly our bodies are designed to care for the needs of our babies.
In summer our milk is more watery to satisfy our baby's thirst needs in the heat. In winter it is creamier to help our baby fatten up and stay warm.
Generally, breastfed babies are less sick and rarely constipated.
Breastfeeding protects the mom from breast and ovarian cancers.

Did you know that when I am exposed to a sickness - cold, flu, etc. - my body begins making antibodies to fight the disease. These antibodies are then passed on to my baby through my breast milk to protect him. How cool is that?
In a state of emergency (like the blackout we experienced in 2003) breastfed babies can still get their food. I heard stories during the blackout of 2003 of mothers heating up bottles on barbecues or searching for other ways to feed their babies. Baby #4 and I never missed a beat.
Breastfed babies tend to struggle less with their weight as adults.
Many women find that breastfeeding helps them to lose their baby weight faster. It also helps to delay the return of a woman's cycle and is therefore a natural form of preventing a pregnancy. It helps to prevent post-partum depression. I'm not saying you won't experience this if you breastfeed, but breastfeeding lessens your risk.
Breastfeeding helps a mom to sit down and relax. It is a natural stress reliever as oxytocin is released every time a mom nurses. How many times have I sat down to nurse my baby to sleep and thought once the baby is asleep I would do A, B and C. Then comes all of those wonderful hormones and I think, "Hey, A, B and C will still be here tomorrow. I think I'll relax now." That's a great thing. Our work never ends as mothers. It's better to have a rested mommy than a perfect house - just saying.
It's free! This is a biggie. Who doesn't like free? With a tight budget, I don't know where we would fit formula in - we would because who's going to let their baby starve. I just don't know what else we would go without.
It's simple. Going out for the day I don't need to wonder how long we'll be gone and how many bottles that would translate into. Additionally, if we end up deciding to stay out longer I don't have to worry about running out of food.
The bonding is phenomenal. I love to watch my babies eating. I love when they stop and look at me with their big, gorgeous eyes and smile as if to say, "Thanks, Mommy. This is the best ever." I love the way they turn trustingly toward my breast knowing that I'm there for them.
It's like my secret weapon when mothering a toddler. "Did you hurt yourself? Have some num-num." After dealing with a toddler meltdown, breastfeeding is a great way to reconnect. Remember how it relaxes you? Who doesn't need to be relaxed after going through some toddler power struggle?

It's convenient and simple. The vast majority of women need no special equipment to help them feed their baby this way. The milk is always ready at the right temperature. No need to wait for it to warm up. This is especially nice in the middle of the night. ☺
Recently this article came out about breastfeeding increasing a child's IQ. You can check it out here.
Well, this is just the tip of the iceberg. Do a search on the "benefits of breastfeeding". They seem to be endless.
What is your favourite benefit of breastfeeding? Mine is the way it relaxes me.
In case you missed the first post in this series - Intro to International Breastfeeding Week you can check it out here.

Have you entered our giveaway yet for a nursing cover?


  1. Relaxing is a great benefit but I think my favorite was the convenience. No bottles to wash, I believe in keeping things simple. The bonding is also amazing & just knowing your giving your baby the very best you can. Makes me miss having babies.

  2. I agree with you, Debbie. Breastfeeding is just so all around great. I know I'm going to miss it.

  3. Julie Geoffrion3 August 2013 at 20:23

    I have always used blankets but love these nursing covers - esp the awesome fabrics :)
    AND - I love my sister :)