Usually when we talk about the many benefits of breastfeeding, we seem to focus on the side of the baby. It is undeniable that breastfeeding is one the best gift new mothers can give to their newborns if they are able to. The benefits of breast-milk for a new baby are too many to minimize. It is the source of very important nutrients, provides some form of passive immunity against various diseases and so on. In this blog however I want to take time and focus on the biggest Five benefits of breastfeeding that I took advantage of as a mother.
–Connection with the new born
For every new mom, connecting with a new baby can take a little bit to getting used to. Some mothers worry about when and how the connection with the newborn will kick in. You hear about stories of mothers who have the magical instant connections but to some mothers connection does come with time. For my case, I felt that magical connection the moment my new born latched on to start breastfeeding. I am not going to lie the first few trials were nothing short of a disaster. I was given various positions by my lactation nurse about how to hold my newborn to breastfeed, most of them just didn’t work for us. It took me a few trials to get the right position that felt comfortable enough for me and my baby. In the end I finally managed to truly enjoy my breastfeeding time with my little girl. I found that having that one on one moment where just the two of us were in sync, with one sole purpose, helped me connect with my new born. I got to memorize every inch and crevice of her little new face, by just staring at each other during those few breastfeeding minutes helped us spend the best quality time I still cherish to date.
-Faster post-delivery recovery
After delivery, it is no secret that a woman’s uterus experiences one of the biggest traumas any living organ can experience. During the act of breastfeeding a woman’s body releases a variety of hormones. Among the hormones are prolactin and oxytocin, these two primarily work together to produce milk and help regulate its production according to the baby’s demand. One of the other roles of the oxytocin produced in a woman’s body both pre delivery and postpartum is what scientist call uterine contractions, which helps during delivery and goes on to help the uterus contract back to its natural size.
It is no secret that on the top of the list for many new mothers the same question keeps coming up: How do I get back to my usual/ normal/ pre baby/ healthy… whatever you call it body size? Breastfeeding is another way that can help burn out those extra calories and shade e few pounds. Every time I finish an episode of breastfeeding I am always amazed as to how exhausted my body feels from that simple task. I always joke that I eat for two to my husband because I know a portion of whatever I eat is going to go towards feeding my infant. Breastmilk is very rich in nutrients such as fats, about 3.5 g of fat per 100 ml of milk, carbohydrates namely sugar lactose, about 7 g lactose per 100 ml, and proteins, 0.9 g per 100 ml, to name a few. So all these are coming from a mom’s body when you are practicing breastfeeding. Breastfeeding is estimated to burn between 300-500 calories a day, if you ask me this beats the treadmill that I dread so often.
-Lessens the stress when stepping out with the baby.
One of the things that I learned quickly after becoming a mother is that going out takes some serious pre planning. It doesn’t matter if it’s a simple trip to the grocery or a long roadtrip, the preparations are still time consuming. As a new mom you will have to always be counting and figuring out if you have enough diapers, change of clothes, stroller …and if you are not breastfeeding you also have to worry about to how easy it will be to make formula, like if you have a sanitary place to make a bottle at the mall. For a breastfeeding mom, the latter stress gets eliminated, all I had to worry about is making sure I ate enough and my milk supply will be refilled in no time. I don’t have to keep worrying about all the germs that can easily get on a bottle or if the milk is still good or warm enough. I feel like breastfeeding makes my outings a little easier to plan for.
-A form of birth control
Exclusive breastfeeding when done correctly( meaning you nurse at least every 4 hours during the day and every 6 hours at night, and feed your baby only breast milk) has the potential to stop the process of ovulation therefore provide the mom with a natural form of birth control. According to different studies, exclusive breastfeeding as a form of birth control scientifically referred to as Lactational Amenorrhea Method (LAM), has a success rate of up to 98%. This is a benefit that a lot of breastfeeding mothers can take advantage of especially in the first few months after birth.
There are so many more other ways that a woman benefits from breastfeeding, some studies have even included the possibilities of breastfeeding protecting from different forms of cancer and helping with hormonal balance.