According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, it is recommended to do exclusive breastfeeding for your baby for at least the first 6 months, if possible. There are even more benefits if you are able to keep this as their main source of nutrition for the entire first year of life as you slowly begin to supplement with more solid foods.
Deciding what will work best for you, your baby, and your family is an important step in the process when considering breastfeeding. Be sure and gather as much information as possible so that you can make an informed decision, but remember that not everything will go to plan, and the most important factor is keeping you and your baby healthy.
If you’re looking for more information on breastfeeding consider contacting a lactation consultant that can give you more perspective on what the journey can look like.
Advantages of Breastfeeding
Breastfeeding offers many advantages for mom and baby alike. It is unique for each mom and baby and is the perfect match to provide the right balance of nutrients and antibodies for babies as their bodies and systems are in the process of developing. Breastmilk can also help give babies a stronger chance to fight many common childhood illnesses.
Breastfed babies are also able to regulate exactly how much milk they need and they can stop when they’re full. This helps mom and baby feel more satisfied as you aren’t constantly having to worry whether or not your baby is eating enough.
Let’s break down the Top 10 Benefits of Breastfeeding into the Top 5 Benefits of Breastfeeding for Mom and the Top 5 Benefits of Breastfeeding for Baby!
Top 5 Benefits of Breastfeeding for Mom
Breastfeeding Can Lower Risk for Several Diseases
One of the top health benefits for moms when able to breastfeed is that they are using the natural systems in their body to lower their risk of breast cancer, ovarian cancer, thyroid cancer, endometrial cancer, Type 2 Diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, and cardiovascular diseases.
Helps Your Body Return to its Natural State
When you breastfeed your baby your body produces a hormone called oxytocin that not only helps your uterus return to roughly pre-pregnancy size but also can reduce vaginal bleeding after you give birth. You also burn extra calories while breastfeeding giving you a boost in your postpartum journey!
Another aspect to consider when your body is recovering is the state of your mental health. Breastfeeding has been proven to improve maternal mental health, especially in the areas of anxiety and postpartum depression. However, it's also important to note in this study that if you are struggling with what you thought breastfeeding would be like and your actual experience is you should reach out to an expert or trusted physician as it can end up hurting your mental health.
More Affordable than Formula
Since your body produces the most efficient breastmilk specially made for your baby you can save money and time by not trying to search for the formula alternative. While you might have some upfront costs such as finding great nursing bras and breast pumps that will help you through your breastfeeding journey, it will still be much more affordable in the long run.
Breastfeeding takes out a lot of the steps and materials that other feeding options typically come with. You won’t need to have bottles, filtered water, or scoops of formula prepared. You also won't need to worry about getting the formula to the right temperature as your body has that part completed for you! Here are a few more traveling tips to keep in mind when breastfeeding.
Promotes a Special Bond Between You and Your Baby
You will bond with your baby no matter how you are able to provide nourishment in those early days, but breastfeeding offers a unique bonding experience that nobody else can have. It’s a raw, emotional, and natural experience that you will always remember especially as you soak in that skin-to-skin contact.
Top 5 Benefits of Breastfeeding for Baby
Helps Build Baby’s Immune System
Breastmilk offers just the right amount of nutrients including vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and an array of other top-notch ingredients to build your baby's immune system. With a formula specially designed by your body, for your baby, there are amazing benefits including fewer ear infections and other respiratory issues. Typically the only thing you might need to add to your baby's diet is vitamin d supplements because most women don't have enough of that in their daily diets.
Colostrum in Breastmilk
The one thing that truly can’t be duplicated in any mix of infant formula is colostrum. It is produced by your body in the first few days after birth and is full of protein and antibodies that help your baby’s digestive tract develop reducing your baby's risk of falling behind.
Changes to Meet Baby’s Needs
Breastmilk changes with your body and your baby as you go through each stage of those first few months. With their little bodies developing and changing so quickly it’s a relief to know that your body is giving your baby the best protection possible so you have one less thing to stress about!
Supports Growth and Development
Breastmilk supports growth and development in all babies but is the best way to help premature babies as their undeveloped bodies need an extra boost to catch up to where they need to be. Another benefit of breastmilk is that it evolves with your baby and meets them exactly where they are.
Another bonus for pre-mature babies is that human milk can help prevent digestive issues such as Necrotizing Enterocolitis (NEC). Since it is easier to digest and full of all of the good stuff that helps prevent infections and also helps your baby’s cells develop.
Easy to Digest
With its all-natural mix of healthy ingredients, breastmilk is easy on little tummies and a baby's digestive system that is constantly developing. This helps the baby’s gastrointestinal systems work more smoothly leaving a positive effect for mom and baby!
Along with being easy to digest and breastmilk also feeds your baby’s microbiome. Even though your baby’s body doesn’t technically digest this part of the human milk it is used to provide helpful gut bacteria into the system to protect the baby from chronic diseases and neurodevelopmental disorders.
It’s important to remember that breastmilk is the recommended way by many experts in the field for a baby’s first 6-12 months of life, but your journey might look different and that’s okay! Even a small amount of breastmilk can go a long way in giving your baby a healthy start.
Be sure to try The Dairy Fairy Bras to make your nursing and pumping life easier.
There are many benefits of breastfeeding for mom and baby and we hope this article gave you some beneficial information while you discover what is going to work best for you and your baby's needs.