Breast is Best- Benefits of Breastfeeding for Mom and Baby

In keeping with the theme from last week’s post, let’s talk about breastfeeding. This can be a sensitive topic for new or expecting moms- it’s natural (but challenging), it’s better than formula (but not as convenient), it helps you bond with your child (but can stress you out, too). In light of this, I will stick to the positive benefits of breastfeeding and leave this highly personal decision up to you.

Mother and baby nursing

Mother and baby nursing

It’s natural

Breastfeeding is one of the hallmarks of mammals. Mice, elephants, cows, and humans all developed the unique ability produce the perfect food for their babies- milk.

A really attractive natural aspect of breastfeeding is that it may help moms lose the baby weight. Making breast milk helps your body burn calories that formula feeding doesn’t. And as we said last week, breastfeeding can reduce your risk of breast cancer.

It’s better than formula

Breast milk contains everything that formula does, plus extra beneficial ingredients. Moms pass along antibodies (immune cells) that help babies fight off infections. Studies show that breastfed babies are better protected against a variety of diseases, including ear infections, digestive problems, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and even obesity and diabetes later in life.

Another cool thing about breast milk is that it’s nutritional profile changes in response to what the baby needs. The breast milk of a mother with a premature baby is different and better suited to the nutritional needs of a premature baby than the breast milk the mother of a full term baby produces. The breast milk for a newborn is different than the breast milk for an older baby.

Best of all, breastfeeding can save you between $1,200-$1,500 dollars.

It helps you bond with your baby

The act of nursing triggers a hormonal response (oxytocin, the “love hormone”) in moms that helps build trust, love and affection. While moms still release oxytocin and fall in love with their babies when formula-feeding, the hormonal response lower.

I would love to hear about your experiences with breastfeeding. What was the best part about breastfeeding your child? What was the most challenging for you? Did you have good support from your loved ones?

 

For more information on breastfeeding, visit these sites:

http://www.womenshealth.gov/breastfeeding/why-breastfeeding-is-important/index.html

http://www.womenshealth.gov/publications/our-publications/fact-sheet/breastfeeding.html

http://www.healthbitesva.org/index.html?modulename=breastfeeding_promotion&modulelanguage=english

4 thoughts on “Breast is Best- Benefits of Breastfeeding for Mom and Baby

  1. Alvina

    I know breast feeding is best for baby’s health.But my baby did not eat breast milk.So can I use bottle feeding?

    Reply
    1. Austin Brooks Post author

      While breastfeeding is ultimately a personal choice, we do promote it as the best/first option for newborns. However, if you are unable to breastfeed, then bottle feeding formula is the next best thing. Work with your health care providers to find the right solution for you and your baby.

      Reply
  2. Brabara Wood

    Sorry if I offend, But I hate it when new Mothers go straight to the bottle without even trying. Natural breast Milk is the best without a shadow of a doubt. Yes it might hurt after a while and you need to keep undoing your bra and it is a slight pain but my good all the health benefits for your child is just amazing. Mums try to breastfeed first and when you get to the point where you cant then goto the bottle.

    Reply
    1. Austin Brooks Post author

      While breastfeeding is ultimately a personal choice, we do promote it as the best/first option for newborns. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Barbara.

      Reply

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