Breast milk is love, warmth, and nutrition all rolled into one. It is an elixir of life, a gift of nature to the mother and her child. Breast milk provides abundant nutritional components, antioxidants, enzymes, and live antibodies to your baby. Your mature immune system makes antibodies, which enter your breast milk and are eventually passed on to your baby to protect them from illness and germs. Moreover, breast milk also contains substances that naturally soothe infants.
However, the advantages of breastfeeding are not limited to your baby. This magical potion has ample health benefits for you as well.
So if you are considering not nursing your newborn baby or probably are in a double mind, you have landed on the right page. While it is ultimately your choice to breastfeed your baby, we are here to provide you with the endless benefits of breastfeeding. So continue to read further to gain detailed insights!
Duration of Breastfeeding
Breastfeeding is an essential aspect of motherhood that holds ample benefits for both the baby and you. While it is a personal choice to breastfeed your baby, many medical experts strongly recommend breastfeeding exclusively for 6 months (1).
However, breastfeeding your child directly can be challenging in this modern world and lifestyle changes. So, breast milk pumping and feeding through the bottle is ideal for all mothers on the go. Furthermore, World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends breastfeeding until 2 years or longer for the prolonged benefits it holds. (2) Not every mother is blessed with an uninterrupted breastmilk supply. So, if you are struggling with supply issues, check out these natural foods to increase your breastmilk supply.
Advantages of Breastfeeding for Mothers
Let us take a look at the health benefits of breastfeeding for all you nursing mothers out there -
Helps to Lose Weight -
While you may have heard that some women gain weight during breastfeeding, others lose weight effortlessly. However, breastfeeding surely does burn calories (3), and after 3 months of continuous lactation, you are likely to experience an increased fat burn compared to non-lactating mothers.
Helps Uterus to Contract -
Your uterus grows and expands in size during each trimester of pregnancy and almost fills the entire space in your abdomen. However, after delivery, your uterus grows through involution, which enables it to return to its original size. And oxytocin, a pregnancy hormone, helps drive this process. Oxytocin increases during breastfeeding and can encourage uterus contractions, thereby reducing bleeding and helping the uterus to return to its original size. Hence this is one of the essential advantages of breastfeeding for a mother.
Lowers Risk of Depression -
Postpartum depression is a type of depression which is developed shortly after childbirth. Studies suggest breastfeeding women seem less likely to develop postpartum depression than non-nursing mothers. (4)
Reduces Risk of Diseases -
One of the many advantages of breastfeeding is that it gives your long-term protection against several diseases and cancer. The time spent by women in breastfeeding is directly linked to the reduced risk of breast and ovarian cancer. It helps to lower the risk for -
high blood pressure
arthritis high blood fats
type 2 diabetes
Advantages of Breastfeeding for Baby
Let us take a look at the health benefits of breastfeeding for all your little ones -
Provides Ideal Nutrition -
Breastmilk contains all the nutrients a baby needs for the first 6 months of life in the correct proportions. The composition of breastmilk even changes according to your baby's needs. For instance, during the first few days after birth, your breasts produce a thick yellowish fluid called the colostrum. This fluid is high in proteins, low in sugar, and is a wonder food for your baby. However, after the first few days, your breasts produce more significant amounts of milk as your baby's appetite grows.
Provides Important Antibodies -
Breast milk has antibodies which help your baby fight bacteria and viruses. The colostrum, the first milk, provides high amounts of immunoglobulin A (IgA) and several other antibodies. IgA is known to protect a baby from getting sick by forming a protective layer in your baby's nose, throat, and digestive system.
Reduces Risk of Diseases -
Like you, breast milk reduces the risk of several diseases even in your baby. It may reduce the risk for many illnesses, including the following -
- Middle ear infections
- Respiratory tract infections
- Colds and infections
- Gut infections
- Intestinal tissue damage
- Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)
Promotes Healthy Weight -
Breastfeeding promotes healthy weight gain and prevents chances of childhood obesity. This is because breastfed babies have higher amounts of beneficial gut bacteria which impact their fat storage.
Tips for Breastfeeding
Just before we end this article, we have a bunch of essential tips for breastfeeding for you-
Create a space for breastfeeding -
Before the baby arrives, create a nursing station, which is an area with a comfortable chair, a breastfeeding pillow, a breastfeeding cover, nursing pads, burp clothes, and a good book. A well-equipped space makes breastfeeding a more straightforward process.
Pro-Tip - Now breastfeed your baby in style indoors and outdoors with our trending SuperBottoms stole style nursing covers. Made from 100% modal fabric, the stole is designed as a feeding shawl which is highly breathable and comfortable.
Get yourself the right nursing supplies -
Just as getting the essential baby care is crucial, buying the right nursing supplies is equally as important. Here are a few supplies that can make your breastfeeding experience easier -
- A well-fitting nursing bra gives your breasts the right level of support and helps you to feed the baby without completely undressing.
- Nursing pads come in handy when your breasts leak a little milk from time to time. However, avoid using the plastic liner as it can irritate your nipples. Instead, go for SuperBottoms nursing breast pads with a waterproof layer on the top, a Superdry feel layer on the inside, and 5 layers of cotton to provide utmost comfort.
- Get yourself a comfortable nursing pillow.
Learn different ways to latch -
Your baby needs to "latch on" to breastfeed. This is when your baby is properly latched to your breast with their mouth open over your nipples, covering most of your areola, and their nose, lips, and chin are close to your breast.
Breastfeeding is essential to motherhood, for it has ample benefits for you and your baby. While the decision to breastfeed is your choice, we are here to guide you through the process by highlighting its benefits. We hope our article on the advantages of breastfeeding has been insightful.