The arguments for and against breastfeeding have been raging for years, with compelling arguments being made for both sides. However, recent research has begun to show just how important breastfeeding is in a child’s development. Additionally, there are added benefits for the mother. Breastfeeding encourages a strong bond between a mother and child, and has been shown to have extended benefits even into a child’s later life, such as higher IQ scores, as well as a lower rate of childhood obesity and allergies. Essentially, the natural milk that you produce is a key element to your child’s well being.
Breast Is Best: The Benefits of Breastfeeding
According to WebMD.com, many medical bodies such as The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists strongly recommend breastfeeding for your child’s first six months. Given these weighty supporters, it may be hard to understand why a mother would not breastfeed. Every baby and mother is unique, and there may be circumstances that do not allow the mother to breastfeed her baby.
Getting your baby to start breastfeeding may also not be as easy as it looks. However, by using nursing pillows, a rocker and engaging in relaxing tactics for you and your child, breastfeeding can become a wonderful way to strengthen your bond as well as provide your baby the best nutrition possible.
1) Breastfeeding provides the best nutrition for your baby.
Even though formula has come a long way in recent years, breastfeeding provides your child with the essential balance of vitamins, protein, and fat. When you first start breastfeeding your child, the thick liquid that starts is called “first milk.” This helps your baby’s digestive tract get prepared to more easily digest milk — something that can’t be replicated with formula. Additionally, formula is often thought to be more difficult for your baby to digest.
2) Breastfeeding can help you to shed baby weight quicker.
In addition to your concerns about your child, chances are you’re probably also wondering how you’re going to shift that baby weight you’ve put on. Breastfeeding actually burns additional calories, making it a great way to get back into shape after your pregnancy. An added bonus is that breastfeeding can actually lower your risk of breast and ovarian cancer too.
3) Breastfeeding creates a strong bond between you and your baby.
The bond you form with your child is one that lasts a lifetime, and it starts from the moment you first hold them. Breastfeeding your baby with your own body can form an intense bond, as the skin to skin contact helps your child feel secure and safe. Set the scene with soft lighting and a nursing pillow to keep you and your baby comfortable. Rocking them also produces a feeling of calm afterwards.
4) Breastfeeding is the cheaper financial option.
If you add up the totals, breastfeeding is definitely the cheaper option when it comes to nourishing your baby. Depending on what you purchase, a nursing pillow, pads for your bra , etc., parents can spend around $1,500 a year on formula — an expense that’s not easily affordable for a new parent with lots of baby gear to purchase. Help to keep your breastfeeding costs low by looking into purchasing a gently used breast pump, or even borrow one from a friend who is no longer using theirs.
5) Breastfeeding keeps your baby healthy.
Ounce for ounce, breast milk is more nutritious than formula. However, did you know it can also protect your baby against illness and disease? Breast milk contains special antibodies that can help your child ward off viruses and bacteria that could harm them. Additionally, breastfed babies are less likely to develop allergies, and generally make less trips to the doctor than their formula-fed counterparts.
6) Breastfeeding can set your child up for later life.
From higher IQ scores to a lower risk of childhood obesity, breast milk can set your child on a path for a great life. Though more research is required, it is currently thought that breastfeeding can even prevent certain cancers and diabetes in later life. According to the AAP, breastfeeding your child may also help to prevent SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome).
Electing to feed your child through breastfeeding is the environmentally and financially sound option. Not only will it help to inspire closeness between you and your baby, it can also serve them well down the road as they grow. With all the benefits, it’s little wonder that more and more new mothers are turning to breastfeeding for their child’s optimal health.