12 Lesser Known Benefits of Breastfeeding
It’s More Than A Feeling
Becoming a mom is like going to live on a new planet. There is so much unfamiliar stuff to consider: health factors, emotional issues, financial concerns and more. We bet all kinds of folks — ranging from your doctor to your best friend to the stranger at the coffee shop — have offered you unsolicited advice on what you should and shouldn’t do once your baby arrives. While some of the tips will be extremely helpful, others are bound to be off the mark.
When it comes to the more personal decisions, like whether or not to breastfeed, it’s best to fully research the topic. But with so much information available, there’s a good chance you’ll overlook some of the lesser-known benefits of Breastfeeding.
With that in mind, we’ve compiled a list of 12 not-so-obvious reasons to breastfeed that should help you to make this important decision by the time your baby is in your arms.
1. It Makes You Stronger
Did you know that one in two women over the age of fifty will fracture a bone due to osteoporosis? But here’s good news for new moms! During pregnancy and lactation, your body has an easier time absorbing calcium. And by bulking up on calcium your bones get stronger and you have less of a chance of developing postmenopausal osteoporosis.
2. It Controls Allergies
We know that breast milk is full of nutrients, but it also has unique immune factors that specifically ward off allergic reactions to food. It does this by forming a protective coating on baby’s intestines to keep inflammation in check. These antibodies aren’t found in formula, cow’s milk or soy. In turn, babies who aren’t breastfed have a higher chance of developing allergies and asthma.
3. It Keeps You Sane
For some, breastfeeding is like a natural anti-depressant. While a baby nurses a hormone called oxytocin is released, which is reported to promote feelings of calm and wellbeing. Some women have the added bonus of experiencing significantly lower blood pressure, even when faced with a stressful situation.
4. It’s a Crash Diet
If only there was a way to burn calories while cuddling on the couch with your baby…wait, there is! Here’s the deal: A day of nursing can burn up to 500 calories. And we’re talking nursing while you’re sitting or lying down; no need to do extra workouts (unless you want to, that is!).
5. It Restores Your Bod
The hormone oxytocin also prompts your uterus to contract to its normal size. This is helpful in getting back to your pre-pregnancy weight and shape.
6. It’s Money in the Bank
Formula isn’t cheap, and you’d need a lot of it. Families can spend between $2,000 and $4,000 per year on formula (not to mention the cost of bottles). That’s money in the bank if you’re nursing. What’s more, breastfed babies tend to be healthier overall and that means fewer trips to the doctors and fewer bills!
7. It Saves the Earth
Since you don’t need bottles or cans to hold your milk when you nurse, you aren’t contributing to the huge amount of waste (think plastic containers) that’s produced every day. What’s more, you never have to worry about harmful chemicals affecting your milk supply.
8. It’s Good for Your Career
A breastfed baby means a healthy baby and a healthy baby means fewer sick days for you! Turns out, moms who breastfeed need fewer days off from work to care for a sick infant.
9. It Spurs Adventure
You won’t suffer cabin fever since you can breastfeed on the go! With baby in a sling, the older sibling scooting along, and your partner at your side, go on out and enjoy the great outdoors!
10. It Improves Baby’s View
Research has shown that babies who are breastfed have better visual development than babies who rely on formula. The reason for this is unclear, although it’s thought that the nutrients in breast milk enhance the growth of the retinas.
11. It Gives You Superpowers
There’s nothing quite like watching your body do exactly what it’s meant to do in exactly the way it’s supposed to do it. Breastfeeding celebrates the awesomeness of motherhood and nursing like nothing else can.
12. It’s Like Crazy Glue
You’ve probably assumed you’d forge a bond with your infant when you breastfeed. But until it’s actually happening, it’s impossible to grasp the connection you’ll feel with your child. It’s nothing short of magical.
Bringing a child into the world is a huge deal. In fact, we really can’t think of anything more intense or consuming! All of the components of building a family deserve your careful attention and consideration, including whether or not to breastfeed. The thing to remember here is that the choice is yours; you shouldn’t feel pressured into doing one thing or another. But if you do embrace nursing, know in advance that you’re in for a special experience and rewards you’ve probably never dreamed of.
Samara Kamenecka is a New York-born freelance writer and translator living in Madrid. When she’s not busy trying to mold her two kids into functional, contributing members of society, she can usually be found enjoying a glass of wine (or three). You can find her blogging over at Tiny Fry.