We’ve all heard “breast is best” and how breastfeeding gives such wonderful benefits for babies. But what about moms? What’s in it for us?
In short- PLENTY! How about convenience, diabetes prevention, and weight loss for a start? That’s a rock solid start if you ask me!
Here are the biggest benefits for mom:
1 It’s easier
As far as I can see, there are 3 main ways breastfeeding makes your life easier: less dishwashing, faster midnight feedings, and fewer illnesses.
Dishwashing. My nemesis. The chore that’s never done. I HATE dishes. When I started bottle feeding my firstborn, the amount of dishes I had to do exploded. Not only did I wash bottles and bottle accessories, I sterilized those suckers too. When I made a bottle I used a spoon to stir instead of shaking the formula (to keep air out). And sometimes I made a few bottles worth at a time in a pitcher. It all added dishes upon dishes upon dishes.
Midnight feedings. I suddenly found myself squinting at ounce labels in the kitchen in the middle of the night, then hunting the house for my glasses to the tune of hungry baby cries. I found it challenging to safely prepare a bottle when I’d only been awake moments.
Fewer illnesses. It’s well documented that breastfed babies tend to be healthier overall than formula fed babies. Hello antibodies! Unfortunately, my children didn’t break the pattern. The two who nursed longer than a year have been healthy as can be, while the one who breastfed only 4 months has asthma and allergies. He also had strep throat so many times I suspected him of being the host monkey.
Coincidence? Totally could be. Probably not.
2 It’s more convenient
Breastfeeding makes traveling with a baby way more convenient! There’s less to pack, less to worry about cleaning up and keeping sanitized, and no need to try to hunt a clean source of the right temperature water. If your baby gets hungry, you can just pull over and whip out the boobies. No prep work, no extra packing, and no clean up. Seriously easy.
Let’s not forget it’s that easy all the time, even at home. You NEVER have to make a bottle if you don’t want to. Or look at a bottle that’s almost full but got left on the counter for ….an hour? or was it two hours?… and try to make a judgement call on whether it’s safe. You never have to wonder if the milk is too hot. It’s always ready, always the right temperature, and always convenient.
3 Closer bond with baby
Breastfeeding forges a bond that’s unlike any other. Your baby develops trust in you – her milk source – and you become her world in a way that’s not quite the same for formula fed infants. I’d never insinuate that formula fed moms and babies don’t love each other, I know they do. But feeding your baby from your body takes your bond to a whole new level. You’re more in sync with your baby and you understand her a little better. Even subconsciously. When your baby hits a growth spurt or gets sick, your body adjusts the nutrients in your milk to be exactly what your little one needs.
4 Lower risk of cancer
According to www.womenshealth.gov, the longer you breastfeed, the lower your risk of getting breast cancer and ovarian cancer. Enough said. Cancer sucks.
5 Help prevent diabetes
According to a study that was published in the November 23 and 30, 2005 Journal of the American Medical Association, Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital researchers studied thousands of women and found that those who breastfed a year or longer were 15% less likely to develop diabetes as they age….and the longer they breastfed, the more their risk was reduced. At a rate of 15% for each year! So the longer you feed your baby, the less likely you are to develop diabetes in the future. Sweet!
6 Weight loss
Being a milk factory takes energy! You will burn up to 500 extra calories a day when you breastfeed. All those calories add up – to the tune of a pound a week if you don’t replace them with extra food 🙂 Most breastfeeding mothers don’t really have much trouble getting to their pre-pregnancy weight (notice I didn’t say high school graduation weight?) if they eat sensibly.
I’d never in a million years argue that breastfeeding is always fun, or that it’s completely without sacrifice. Never ever ever. It is easier though. You get a closer bond with your baby. Your risk of cancer and diabetes are lower. AND you lose weight?!?! It’s totally worth the sacrifice!
Can you think of some benefits I didn’t mention? Please share them in the comments!