There is something of a political landmine surrounding breastfeeding. While doctors and nurses agree that breastfeeding is better for children, it is important that we recognize that it is the right of the mother to choose what’s best for their children, in their situation.
Some mothers find it very difficult to breastfeed or painful even. Others find that their children won’t latch onto the breast. Others still will be unable to breastfeed for medical reasons (certain medications prohibit it for instance).
For these reasons, it is important to keep things in perspective. While there are studies showing that breastfed babies are more intelligent, or that they live longe, these are only statistics and do not apply on an individual basis.
History has seen countless highly successful genius babies that lived extremely long lifespans who never had a drop of breast milk!
Ultimately, it’s something that both mother and baby should feel comfortable doing.
But with that said, here are 8 reasons to consider breastfeeding as a very compelling option.
1. It’s Amazingly Nutritious
The first and most important reason to consider breastfeeding is that it is extremely nutritious for babies. There are nutrients in here that we never get later in life, and they’re all perfectly balanced to benefit your baby.
What’s more, is that the nutrients actually change (as do the quantities) depending on what your baby needs. That means that you can rest absolutely assured that your child is getting everything they need to grow up big and strong.
It’s why adults who were breastfed as less likely to need glasses, to suffer learning difficulties and much more.
2. It’s Highly Bonding
Another huge benefit of breast feeding is just how bonding it is for the child and the mother. The act of breastfeeding encourages ‘skin to skin’ time, which has been shown in studies to be very important for combating stress in children and helping them to feel calm and loved. Breastfeeding also encourages the production of the love hormone oxytocin in both mothers and babies.
It is a great feeling being able to care for your child, and it’s part of the overall experience of motherhood.
That said, bottle feeding does give poor old Dad a turn!
3. It’s Money Saving
A big advantage of breastfeeding that often gets overlooked is just how much money it saves. Your pockets will thank you, especially at a time when you’re spending so much on nappies, clothes (that they grow out of every week), toys, and appliances!
It’s also worth noting that you won’t be spending money on an expensive steamer, on lots of bottles, or on trips to the supermarket. And this all means you’re also avoiding plastics (which aren’t great for adults, let alone babies!) and you’re benefiting the environment too!
4. Your Breasts Get Bigger!
Your breasts enlarge as a result of breastfeeding for obvious reasons: the milk rushes in and they look swollen and firm. It’s like a natural breast lift!
And you get slimmer too as you’ll be needing to eat much more just to supply your baby with all the calories it need and the process of making the milk will ramp up your metabolism even more!
This is a somewhat superficial reason for mothers to want to breastfeed but it’s not nothing!
During childbirth and pregnancy, a lot changes about a woman’s physical shape. The stomach stretches, you gain new stretch marks, and you might experience tears and stretching down below.
This can all be very upsetting for some women, and so the fact that they can get a slim stomach and big breasts by feeding well it’s a handy compensation!
5. It Saves Time
Just as breastfeeding can save you money on formula, it can also save you time. If you mix your own formula, this is a time-consuming job. So too is sterilizing everything you need every time it’s time to feed, and then washing it all ready to go again.
That might not sound like a lot, but again: you’re going to have your hands full and you’ll be extremely tired when you get home from the hospital!
Another example of the milk you produce changing to suit your child is colostrum. This is the special fat or “first milk” that gets produced in the first few days. It is comprised of dense nutrients that you just don’t get from other methods.
Breast milk and the breasts contain good bacteria which further help a developing infant. These “friendly germs” can help by breaking down food through enzyme production, by producing neurotransmitters (brain chemicals), and by fighting bad germs.
Babies don’t have an active “gut flora” from the womb, so they get theirs through vaginal birth and through breastfeeding!
8. Reduces Heart Disease and Cancer Risk
Finally, breastfeeding reduces the likelihood of heart disease and cancer in mothers! Specifically, women will experience a reduction in their breast cancer risk of 11-25% if they breastfeed for the first 2 years (which is rather long to be fair).
This rather unusual result may come as a surprise to many seeing as it’s not the mother who consumes the milk. While researchers aren’t quite sure why this is the case, there are some theories that suggest it is to do with stress reduction, or that high levels of estrogen in non-breastfeeding mums can do some damage.
Either way, it seems that breastfeeding is almost as good for the Mums as it is for the babies!