So, breastfeeding is great for your baby. That, we know! If you don’t know read 9 reasons your baby wants to be breastfed. But do you know about the benefits for you? If you still haven’t made up your mind on whether you should breastfeed or not, I think this will do it for you.
1.Breastfeeding women have an ally for weight loss
It helps women return to their pre-pregnancy weight faster and lowers rates of obesity. With every ounce produced of milk (around 28 ml) you lose 20 kcal. So if on average you are feeding your baby 5 feedings of 5 ounces each (150 ml) you will be losing around 500 kcal per day. Ladies that is about 1.5 hours of jogging a day!
And we all know that with a new baby wanting to eat around the clock, you’re not gonna be able to sneak any gym time. So embrace it!
2. Breastfeeding women receive protection from diseases long after the breastfeeding has stopped.
3. Let’s talk savings
I just want to say that the cost of not breastfeeding on a national level is large! The numbers are astounding. It has been found that if 90% of US mothers would comply with exclusively breastfeeding for 6 months, there would be a saving of $13 billion per year! (Bartick, 2010) What they included in the cost analysis was mainly the deaths, diseases, and treatment of diseases that can be saved by breastfeeding.
So, you save money and a huge heart ache by protecting your baby from diseases and complications of diseases. Think unexpected doctor visits, hospital trips, and medications. Not to mention savings in terms of maternal diseases and the indirect costs such as you leaving work when your infant is sick.
When it comes to costs that you see every day, breastfeeding is free. Whereas bottles, formula, sterilizers, artificial nipples, bottle warmers etc. etc. all have a cost. Formula alone can cost you on average of $1,770 per year (Calculated by Trent Hamm author in “The Simple Dollar”) or you can calculate it yourself on kellymom (financial cost of not breastfeeding). $1700 is if your baby does not require a premium quality formula, does not have an allergy and if the country you’re residing in does not apply additional taxes on their formula cans. Otherwise, it would be more. Think about what you can do with this money for your baby or for yourself. With $1,700 you can shop for a stroller, a car seat, a portable crib, a premium pump, a nice swing, and you may even be able to sneak in a few spa trips!
I will give you a scenario. Formula vs. breastfeeding
Baby wakes up wailing for food at 2:05 am
You just went to sleep a bit ago, your eyes are barely open, you run to the kitchen while holding your baby, try to single-handedly grab a bottle (that is hopefully already sterilized), try to put the exact amount of formula with your eyes barely open, add water, shake, wait for the perfect temperature, go back to the room, give it to the baby, burp him, put him to sleep, and then go back to sleep yourself. Only to repeat 2 hours later and wake up to 3 bottles, nipples and rims to clean and sterilize.
Baby wakes up wailing for food at 2:05 am
you pick him/her up, put him/her on the breast to feed and you both go to sleep.
Next morning, no mess no fuss.
Btw, it is totally nonfactual that formula fed babies sleep longer. Simply not true, period.
Same scenario with being out in public, I always wore loose shirts and breastfed discreetly without anyone noticing. I have breastfed in the queue in the supermarket, I have breastfed in the car, I have breastfed while studying, I have breastfed while reading, and hell I have breastfed at the top of Burj Khalifa. Best part, wherever you go, all you need is diapers. No need to carry a huge bag full of bibs, bottles, formula. From my personal experience, this has allowed me to do lots of activities that would have been much more complex otherwise such as travelling, or going on long road trip or hiking.
5. Breastfeeding can be a lifesaver in cases of emergencies and special cases
Can you imagine being in an emergency where you and your baby have no access to food? I don’t know if you can, but I can. You might think this is funny, but I was born and raised in a 3rd world country that was under attack for long years. Many moms would go for weeks without proper food for their baby. If these moms rely on formula, their babies would have serious nutritional implications and will fail to thrive. This still happens in many areas in the world in refugee camps such as Syria. Just food for thought 😉 But on a more practical note, you might be stuck on an airplane or have delays and have no access to formula or food. What would you do then? I’ll tell you this much, a breastfeeding mommy will have absolutely no issue with that, except maybe her own hunger. With breastfeeding there is absolutely no shortages.
Breast milk also comes to the rescue in some medical cases. For example some babies develop allergies and cannot tolerate any alternative formula. So imagine the following scenario:
Your baby is diagnosed with an allergy
You had stopped breastfeeding
Your baby gets an extreme allergic reactions to all breast milk substitutes formula
So what can your baby drink?
I see this all too often and it saddens me, babies failing to thrive, losing so much weight, in some cases having extreme skin reactions or gastric bleeding leading to elongated and recurrent ER visits and in many cases leading to further problems such as ulcerative colitis.
I do not wish this upon anybody. The regret would eat you up, to realize you had the perfect nutrition for your baby and you didn’t give it to him and your baby is now sick. Breastfeeding has also shown amazing results with neonates as the breast milk for preterm infants has more proteins and less lactose showing great beneficial results. So, from a fellow mother, try your best, you will not regret it and it may even save your baby’s life.
6. Breast milk has several benefits to the entire family
Breast milk can be used as an eye ointment, ear dropper for infections, medication on scars and insect bites, facial cleaner, throat gargle, cooking ingredient and much more. You can put it on stitches to improve healing. It really works! You should try it at least once, you’d be so surprised with the fast results. Hundreds of women use it for alternative sources. My friend Rewa was sort of a pro at it, she would just aim and and sprinkle some milk on her son if he hurt himself and she would have great results.
7. Breastfeeding women have minimal blood loss.
Breastfeeding increases the levels of oxytocin which is the reason behind the decrease in postpartum blood loss. Oxytocin also stimulates the contraction of the uterus, giving you a faster return to your pre-pregnancy body form.
8. Breastfeeding women receive a natural method of birth control
Exclusive breastfeeding is associated with a natural method of birth control with 98% protection in the first six months after birth.
PS: This is only if you are exclusively breastfeeding and not mix feeding (mixing with formula).
9. Finally, breastfeeding is associated with decreased postpartum depression.
After I delivered my son, I had serious baby blues. I went from a jolly pregnant to a very very grumpy new mom. I did not see why everyone around me was smiling and enjoying playing with my son, while I was in deep sadness and exhaustition. I blamed it on hormonal flux and lack of sleep. Looking back, I realize that I was not ready to deliver. I felt a huge bond all throughout my pregnancy. I was really enjoying having my baby protected inside me. I had an image that he was happy, well fed, enjoying my soothing movements. Suddenly, he was out for sharing. Everyone would grab him and play with him, comment that he’s hungry or grumpy or something. I absolutely hated it. However, breastfeeding really helped me transition into motherhood. It helped me to think he still depended on me for nutrition and comfort, we still had our bond. As I got the hang of breastfeeding and he started to gain weight I felt more confident in my abilities as a new mom. It was the only thing I knew I was doing right for sure amid the chaos. I think it will help you too. Finally, breastfeeding allows you to take well needed breaks to just sit and bond with your baby, while the oxytocin released when you breastfeed helps relax your nerves 🙂 This is my favorite part. If you’re a nursing mom, tell me what’s yours. If you’re reading this while pregnant, be sure to come back and tell me what your favorite benefit is.