You probably know that breast milk is highly recommended by most doctors, but there are many perks of breastfeeding that will probably surprise you. They apply to you and your new little bundle of love, so it pays to give it your best shot. That being said, there’s no shame in bottle feeding if that turns out best for you and your baby. Check out the following perks of breastfeeding to help you make the right decision.
1. It Burns Calories
Your body uses several hundred extra calories each day to fuel your milk supply, so breastfeeding is a great way to help you drop that extra baby weight. This is one of the most popular perks of breastfeeding reported by new moms. Just remember that if you cut too many calories from your diet, it can negatively affect your milk flow, so don’t go too crazy.
2. It Helps Fight Illnesses
Your breast milk is specially designed for your baby, and the antibodies it contains helps shore up his immune system. Babies are who are breast-fed may suffer from fewer illnesses and their bodies are better able to fight off disease and infection. This perk applies during infancy and as your baby grows, so stick with it as long as you can. Even just a few weeks of nursing makes a difference.
3. It Lowers the Risk of Obesity
Not your risk, unfortunately, however, breastfeeding can reduce your child’s risk of the condition later in her life. Bottle-feeding is perfectly healthy and is certainly nothing to be ashamed of, but babies who are bottle-fed show an increased tendency toward obesity, according to several studies comparing the lifelong effects of breastfeeding versus bottle feeding. Your child isn’t doomed though. My middle son bottle-fed due to health problems and he is healthy and normally sized, now nearly eight years later.
4. It Makes You Happy
If you’re anything like me, the first few postpartum weeks are not going to be easy. As your hormones readjust, you may experience periods of mild depression, or the baby blues. Nursing your baby releases oxytocin, a chemical that boosts mood and decreases feelings of anxiety. You may notice a lift immediately after feeding your tiny one, so keep at it to help get you through this emotional time in your life. If you don’t feel your blues lifting or you feel like hurting yourself or your baby, get help right away.
5. It Creates a Bond
I’m not suggesting that bottle-fed babies don’t bond with their mothers. My bottle baby is just as close to me as his breastfed brothers are. However, evidence shows that the skin-to-skin contact that occurs during breastfeeding is an important way for babies and moms to bond with each other. If you can’t do it while nursing, try it while you rock her to sleep at night or while you snuggle on the couch.
6. It Cuts Your Cancer Risk
Your body goes through hormone changes during pregnancy and lactation. These changes can help stave off the development of certain types of cancer, including breast and ovarian cancers. All that for doing something that comes naturally? I say that’s one of the perks of breastfeeding you can’t ignore.
7. It Saves Money
Having a baby is not cheap. In fact, it’s downright expensive. With all the gear, clothes and diapers you have to buy, you can save some green by breastfeeding. Exclusively nursing your baby means you won’t have to buy bottles or formula, both of which add up over time. Who doesn’t want to save money?
What’s your favorite thing about breastfeeding? I loved when my babies fell asleep in my arms, all warm and snuggly. I’m lucky to get a hug from my older ones these days, so my advice is to enjoy it as long as you can.