We all know nursing is best for babies, but breastfeeding provides a lot of perks for moms, too. Research shows that just by breastfeeding, women can cut their risk of developing cancer (breast, uterine and ovarian) as well as osteoporosis. Beyond the big health benefits, we also love these everyday advantages:
Maybe you like mixing formula and heating bottles at 3 a.m., on way too little sleep, while a baby shrieks for you to do it faster. But if that’s not your thing, breastfeeding rules. “It’s warm, it’s ready, and it’s convenient!” says Jackie Belau, "Maternity Maven” and founder of BetterBirthSacramento.com. Belau says she has heard many a new mom rave about the advantages of being able to roll to their crying baby's crib and roll right back into bed for some precious, precious rest during feedings. Really, what could be easier?
2. Weight Loss
Moms who breastfeed exclusively burn an average of about 500 calories a day—that’s about an hour’s worth of slogging away on the Stairmaster or 30 laps in the pool! Plus, hormones released while nursing help the uterus return to pre-pregnancy size faster. Breastfeeding also reduces levels of stress hormones like cortisol (which is notorious for packing on pounds). Bye-bye, baby bulge!
You’re Invited! (B.Y.O.Q.)
Nursing may be the most natural thing in the world, but it's not always easy. Discover Breastfeeding Secrets (including practical tips, resources and support) with a local La Leche League Leader at this year’s Babies & Bumps event—Sunday, March 27th. It's just one of the free workshop talks new parents can enjoy that day. So mark your calendar and bring your own questions. We’ll see you there!
3. Big Savings
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends breastfeeding exclusively for baby’s first six months and continuing for at least the first year. Over that time, bottle-feeding costs can add up quickly while mommies’ milk is free. “Even if a mom had to visit a lactation consultant and buy a pump, the savings are just HUGE!” says Meg Mark, La Leche League Leader for the Roseville/Citrus Heights group. Most estimates put the dollar amount somewhere around $400; some say $1,000 or even $2,000, particularly after factoring in health care costs. Belau explains: “Moms pass along antibodies to their babies when breastfeeding,” boosting their immunity to all kinds of illnesses and infections. A Kaiser Permanente study done back in 1994-95 found that babies who were breastfed for a minimum of 6 months had fewer health care claims than formula-fed infants, to the tune of $1,435 in average savings. Fewer doctors’ visits, less colic, less crying, and way less worry? Priceless!
4. That Peaceful, Easy Feeling
Research reveals what a lot of moms already know: Breastfeeding offers a significant mental/emotional health boost. “The hormone release that happens at that moment when moms sit down to breastfeed their babies gives moms a feeling of calm, relaxation and wellbeing,” says Mark. She adds with a laugh, that it’s also a great reason for busy, tired moms to take a break—“no guilt!” She adds, “Even if your house is a mess, or you feel like a mess, when you’re holding and breastfeeding your baby, you know you’re giving him everything he needs.”