Breastfeeding is an amazing journey for you and your baby that will allow for a closeness that is difficult to replicate, and an intimate bond you will treasure forever. It is a chance for you to give your baby the best start in life. Your milk is tailored to your baby and his nutritional needs, and it is amazing how many benefits nursing has for both mummy and baby. We’ve compiled a list of the top benefits of breastfeeding, but there are so many reasons to breastfeed your baby for as long as possible.
1. It’s free and convenient: yes if you pump you will have to buy the pump and bottles etc., but straight from the source doesn’t cost a penny. Plus it’s always at the right temperature and there is no sterilising or carrying around formula, and because of laws banning discrimination against breastfeeding mothers you can feed anywhere, anytime.
2. It solves almost all problems: baby has a cold, breastfeed; baby is unhappy, breastfeed; baby is teething, breastfeed; baby is tired, breastfeed! You get the point! This is not exclusive to babies either. Nothing cheers up a grumpy, ill or hurt toddler like offering booby.
3. It helps you lose weight after birth: you are recommended to have skin-to-skin contact with your baby as soon as possible after birth and to allow them to feed as soon as they can. By sucking on the breast baby triggers the hormone Oxytocin to be released, which in turn helps the uterus to contract faster. This helps to speed up the delivery of the placenta, but it also helps you to lose weight faster than mums who choose formula feeds early on. It also continues to help you maintain a healthy weight as breastfeeding can consume an extra 300-500 calories a day, the equivalent to an hour’s bike ride!
4. It can help prevent a multitude of ailments: breastfeeding can help prevent baby from being sick as much as a formula fed baby. It reduces the risk of colds, pneumonia, ear-infections, asthma, eczema, respiratory problems and constipation.
5. CAN make for a genius baby: research has suggested that breastfed babies have higher IQ’S. Not a reason to decide to breastfeed really, but a definite positive.
6. Can reduce the risk of cancer for mum: the chances of getting breast, ovarian and uterine cancer are all reduced just by breastfeeding. The longer you breastfeed, the more the chances are reduced.
7. Your milk changes daily and over time to suit your baby’s needs: no formula milk can do that! If you baby is dehydrated your milk will change to rehydrate them, and if they are ill your body produces antibodies which are then passed to them through your milk. This happens because your baby’s saliva communicates with your nipples to let your body know what type of milk to produce. As your baby gets older, and his needs and diet changes, your milk will also adapt to this. Unlike formula, breast milk is a living thing and full of antibodies, enzymes and living cells to help fight diseases.
8. Can also lower the risk of baby being obese later in life: so both of you benefit from having fewer weight problems.
9. Bye bye period: it’s not 100% effective, but exclusively breastfeeding for the first six or so months can act as a natural contraceptive and prevent unwanted pregnancies, as well as giving you a little longer without seeing aunty flow!
10. Perfect nutrition: no need for extra vitamins, water or food. For the first 6 months breast milk is all you baby needs to be the healthiest and happiest baby possible.
11. An amazing bond: the hormone Oxytocin leads to you being relaxed and makes you both sleepy, so you can bond with your beautiful baby in the best way possible.
12. Natural pain relief for babies: especially great during teething!
13. Better smelling nappies: whilst they are exclusively breastfed their nappies will smell better than formula fed babies.
14. It’s what boobies are for: it’s the most natural, normal thing and what they are there for.
15. Seeing the end results: there are not many feelings as wonderful as knowing that you have personally fed and grown this tiny human being!