Whether or not you plan to breastfeed your baby after birth, it’s good to be educated on the topic in case you change your mind. Plus, understanding the benefits of breastfeeding for both mom and baby can help you make an informed decision about how to proceed with feeding your newborn.
In support of World Breastfeeding Week, the theme for 2022 is ‘Step up for breast feeding-Educate and support’. This means that we need to do more to educate women about the importance of breast milk and provide them with the support they need to successfully breastfeed their babies.
Breastfeeding has many benefits include everything from saving money and developing a better bond with your baby to lowering your risk of breast cancer and saving time by allowing your baby to feed as needed rather than on a schedule. See below for the top benefits of breastfeeding for both mom and baby.
Benefits of breastfeeding your baby
- Breastfeeding provides your baby with the perfect mix of nutrients. This not only means that the food they are consuming has all the vitamins and minerals they need, but it also ensures that their gut microbiome contains the correct balance of good bacteria.
- It can help protect your baby from illnesses and disease. Some illnesses and diseases that breastfeeding can help protect your baby from are chickenpox, ear infections and pneumonia.
- It can help your baby’s brain development, while also promoting emotional and physical health.
- It can reduce the risk of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome).
- It can lower the risk of obesity later in life.
- It is eco-friendly and economical, since you don’t have to buy or prepare formula.
- Breastfeeding releases hormones in your body that can make you feel more relaxed and in tune with your baby. These hormones also help to create an emotional bond with your child.
Benefits of breastfeeding for mom
- Boosts your mood and reduces stress: When you breastfeed, your body releases oxytocin, which is a hormone that has calming effects. This can help reduce stress and improve your mood.
- Lowers your risk of developing certain cancers: Studies have shown that breastfeeding can lower your risk of developing breast cancer, ovarian cancer, and endometrial cancer.
- Decreases your risk of Type II diabetes: Studies show that women who breastfeed their babies are at a decreased risk of developing Type II diabetes.
- Reduces the severity and frequency of menstrual cramps: Research shows that breastfeeding can significantly reduce the severity and frequency of menstrual cramps in women who have gone through menopause or had their ovaries removed surgically (a procedure called an oophorectomy).
- Helps your uterus return to its pre-pregnancy size more quickly: The act of breastfeeding stimulates contractions in the uterus, which helps it shrink back to its original size more quickly.
Breastfeeding has numerous benefits for both mom and baby. However, it’s completely normal to be concerned or extra cautious when it’s your first time. You can also visit a lactation consultant for professional support and guidance related to breastfeeding and lactation management.
Why breastfeeding can be a struggle in the early days
Though it’s natural, breastfeeding doesn’t always come easy. In the early days, you and your baby are learning how to breastfeed. This can be a struggle for some mothers.
Here are five tips to help you through those early days:
- Get comfortable. Find a position that works for you and your baby.
- The more relaxed you are, the easier it will be for your baby to latch on.
- Use a pillow. Try placing a pillow under your arm or behind your back for extra support.
- Pumping can also work as an alternative to nursing if you need a break from feeding your baby.
- Drink plenty of fluids and take care of yourself and your diet so that you’ll have enough milk supply when needed! Eat healthy and include the top 10 foods that will help boost your breast milk supply in your diet.
What if you choose not to breastfeed?
While there are many benefits to breastfeeding, it’s not always possible or realistic for every mom. If you choose not to breastfeed, that’s OK! It may be necessary for you to return to work or that you do not produce enough milk to feed your newborn.
You can still provide your baby with the nutrients they need through formula. Formula provides important ingredients like iron, protein, and vitamins A, D, E and K.
Ask a pediatrician to recommend a brand that is reputed, certified and provides all the essential nutrients.
Remember to always read product labels and follow directions on how much powder is needed per serving in order to measure out just the right amount.
In conclusion, there are many benefits of breastfeeding for both mom and baby. Breastfeeding can help improve bonding, boost baby’s immune system, reduce the risk of SIDS, and more. For mom, breastfeeding can help with postpartum weight loss, lower the risk of certain cancers, and provide stress relief. If you are able to breastfeed, it is definitely worth considering!
Get in touch with our pediatrician if you want advice about the best way to feed your baby, getting them to latch on, or improving your milk supply.