These are just a few of the wonderful benefits of breastfeeding for you and your baby:
- Breast milk is like a daily vaccination against every bug your baby comes in contact with: it is a living fluid containing healthy bacteria, antibodies, white blood cells, antimicrobials and cell wall protectors and proteins that offer protection against bacteria and viruses.
- If you catch a bug, specialised white blood cells will appear in your breast milk to protect your baby. Conversely, if your baby becomes sick, the transfer of germs from baby to your breast will trigger the production of specific antibodies. These antibodies will be deposited into your milk to boost your baby’s immunity and help her fight off illness. This means that you can take your baby out without the stress of worrying, could my child get sick? And, even if your baby is in childcare, where he may be exposed to other children’s bugs, he will be protected by the immune factors in your milk and in some cases less likely to contract common viruses.
- In many instances, the long-term protective effects of breastfeeding are related to its duration. Children breastfed for more than six months have one-third the number of middle-ear infections in the first three years of life than formula fed babies, the incidence of allergies is reduced sevenfold, and infants are also protected against bacterial meningitis in their first five years.
- The risks of a number of serious disorders, such as coeliac disease and insulin-dependent diabetes increase when babies aren’t breastfed. Your milk also protects your baby against childhood lymphoma, multiple sclerosis and chronic liver diseases.
- When you breastfeed your baby girl, you reduce her risk of developing breast cancer later in life by 25 percent. Because breastfeeding also lowers your own risk of breast cancer, you could be saving two lives!.
- Breastfeeding is an important source of nutrition, providing vitamins and minerals, including high levels of the brain-cell builder taurine, and fatty acids which are important for brain and eye development.
- Breastfeeding can save on orthodontic bills, as the sucking action, which is different to that of a bottle teat, enhances jaw and facial development.
- Breastfeeding is good for your own health too! Hormones released while breastfeeding cause your uterus to contract and return to pre-pregnancy size, which means you will also experience less postpartum bleeding.
- Breastfeeding delays the return of menstruation after childbirth, meaning less discomfort, reduced expense of buying sanitary products and NO premenstrual mood swings – for a while at least!
- Breastfeeding helps you lose fat stored during pregnancy more quickly which means that you will regain your pre-pregnancy shape more quickly without stringent diets. Generally, your body will burn approximately 500 calories per day to produce breast milk for your baby. Breastfeeding is also related to a reduced incidence of obesity later in life, and conveys protection against type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, ovarian cancer and pre-menopausal breast cancer.
- Breastfeeding protects the environment: Breastfeeding saves food resources, fuel and energy – no chemicals or packaging required! Also good on the hip pocket too!
There you have it – 11 benefits of breastfeeding. Not only does it provide health benefits for you and your baby, it also saves you money on formula, plus you can breastfeed anywhere and on demand. On top of that, you also get to spend time bonding with your precious baby.