Breastfeeding benefits for baby and mom

Breastfeeding benefits for baby and mom

Health professionals always talk about how breastfeeding improves a baby's health. Why? For so many reasons. Colostrum, the first breast discharges are loaded with immune factors that can help reduce infections. Hormones from breast milk help the baby grow. And breast milk is the ideal food containing the right mix of nutrients to nourish a growing baby. 

But it is not only the baby who benefits from breast feeding. There is an incredible mother-infant bonding that is enhanced by breastfeeding. This special bond is activated in pregnancy and only gets better. Maybe its the beautiful, nurturing relationship that makes a mother want to breastfeed. The mother infant bond is not limited to breast feeding, it also available to mothers who formula feed their infants.

In addition to the special bond, moms who breast feed get some amazing benefits:

Helps shrink uterus after childbirth
Promotes postpartum weight loss
Decreased insulin requirements in diabetic mothers
Increased sleep for mom
Protects mom against anemia
Improved emotional health
Stronger mother-child bond
Decreased risk of developingbreast canceruterine cancerovarian cancerendometrial cancer

Source: Bailey Koch, RD, CSP

Some of these benefits probably result from a hormone release within the mother's system.  Among the most important benefits of breast feeding are long term. Breastfeeding mothers having a decreased risk of female cancers (ovarian, uterine, endometrial and breast) later in life. No one is exactly sure, but research is ongoing to better understand the benefits and whether prolonged breastfeeding will lessen the risk even more.

Many breastfeeding mothers appreciate the increased calories required to make and deliver breast milk. The extra calories required often help mothers lose the weight they gained during pregnancy. It might feel like you are eating lots of extra food but you need it to make enough breast milk and to heal your body. Some moms find that the energy required to make breast milk helps them sleep and feel emotionally satisfied with all they are doing for their baby.