One of the easiest ways to set your child up for success is to breastfeed. Breastfeeding your baby offers so many health benefits that formula just can't beat. When you breastfeed, you not only help your child grow, but your body will thank you for it as well.
Benefits for Baby
Breast milk contains antibodies that helps your child fight off infections and bad bacteria. It can also help lower your child's chance of allergies and asthma, while also preventing diabetes and obesity. When you breastfeed you are building a healthy baby from the inside out. Your child will have less issues with diarrhea and vomiting during his first few months, in addition to reducing the overall risk of SIDS.
The benefits of breastfeeding go far beyond when your child is just a baby. A new study published in The Lancet Global Health finds children who were breastfed for at least 12 months went on to have higher IQ scores as adults, completed more schooling and earned higher salaries.
Benefits for Mama
Many moms who choose to breastfeed will recover quicker from pregnancy. The hormone oxytocin, released during breastfeeding, acts to return the uterus to its regular size after birth and can reduce postpartum bleeding. Research also shows that women who breastfed also have a lower risk of ovarian and breast cancer.
Breastfeeding is widely known to help moms lose weight they may have put on during pregnancy. A woman who breastfeeds can burn around 500 calories a day, simply by feeding her child!
Another added bonus? Breastfeeding exclusively can help save a new family money. Formula can cost from $4-10 a day depending on brand and consumption. And how much easier is it to simply sit and nurse your baby, rather than prepare a bottle, warm it up, and clean up afterwards.
But mothers who breastfed say that the best benefit is the experience they get to share with their newborn. Breastfeeding allows the mother to solely provide for their child, creating a unique and strong connection between the two.
While breastfeeding may be natural, that doesn't mean it's always easy. Many veteran breast feeders suggest joining a local support group, finding a web based forum, contacting a lactation consultant, finding foods that help produce breast milk, and talking to your healthcare provider for tips and encouragement.