Top 12 Benefits of Breastfeeding
Breastfeeding's top benefit is that any milk that your beautiful post-partum body produces is going to benefit your little bundle of joy in both physical growth, pathogen protection and brain development.
Why Breast Milk?
There's no doubt about it babe... the idea of breastfeeding sounds super daunting but breastfeeding is truly unparalleled not just for yourself but for your baby too.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), World Health Organization (WHO) and UNICEF all recommends breastfeeding as the sole source of nutrition for your baby for about 6 months and can be continued for as long as both mother and baby desire it.
If you were unsure about breastfeeding and worried about the biological requirements, I hope this article will encourage you to keep producing that liquid gold champ!
Breastfeeding Benefits for Mommies
1. Breastfeeding Helps You Shed Those Pregnancy Pounds Like A Professional Athlete
If you didn't already know you're burning massive amounts of calories — being a human cow. Depending on how much breastmilk you're producing, you could pretty much be running MARATHONS with all the calorie burn.
Chanel of @ohchanelly tried our Breastmilk Caloric Burn Calculator and at total production of 1,500ml a day, she was literally burning calories equivalent to that of running 21km daily.
This unexpectedly makes her a marathon calorie burner, if not an actual runner.
To create breastmilk, your body uses up a lot of energy. It's like a free weight loss program which almost requires no physical exertion. It's nature's way of getting your body back to it's beautiful curves so you can get those envious glances once again.
It's perfectly normal that during the first 3 months or starting to breastfeed. You may seem to be gaining weight instead of losing it as your body is ramping up milk production to match the growing needs of your baby.
Fat burning phase typically kicks in to full gear 3 - 6 months after having your baby. Of course, healthy nutrition and light exercise to get back into the flow of things will definitely help too. Stay away from processed and fried foods as they may cause inflammation response that inhibits healthy production of breast milk.
Looking for a healthy snack free from preservatives? Try any of our Gooberr™ Cookies safe for boosting lactation here.
2. Breastfeeding Helps to Shrink Your Uterus to its Normal Size
Before you were growing another human life inside of your body, your pre-pregnancy uterus was approximately the size of an upside down pear!
Of course as the baby grows, your uterus will need to expand to accommodate your growing baby. After delivery, the act of breastfeeding naturally send signals to your brain to release the hormone, oxytocin which tells your body, to and your brain to nurture your newborn which also and also the signal to begin contracting your uterus. Which means you'll flatten that "tummy".
3. Reduced Postpartum Blood Loss
A study done by University Hospital in Alexandria revealed that mothers who started breastfeeding immediately after delivery after two hours post natal had lower blood loss which means that those stitches that you had will heal faster and your body will go back to it's pre-pregnancy state quicker.
4. Nursing Your Baby Will Delay your Period
It was a great 10 months without having to wear a pad/ tampon/ menstrual cup despite the usual first trimester nausea spells. Your period will eventually come back, but breastfeeding puts a pause on ovulation temporarily and prevents menstruation from returning.
Again, the act sends signals to the brain to say "Hey! Our baby has arrived, we have to take this time to nourish and protect our young before my baby is strong enough to defend herself, before even considering being viable for pregnancy again."
5. Breastfeeding Reduces Your Risk Of Serious Illness
Breast cancer is the most prevalent cancer among women and has extremely high survivability rates if detected early. Great reminder to go for regular checkups.
The relative risk of breast cancer decreases by 4.3% for every 12 months of breastfeeding. This means the longer women breastfeed, the more you are protected against breast cancer.
Same goes for ovarian cancer: mothers who breastfed for more than 13 months were 63% less likely to develop a tumor in their ovaries compared to other who breastfed less than 7 months.
Some studies have also found that breastfeeding may reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and cardiovascular disease, including high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
Main Takeaway: Breastfeed for as long as you can! Relative risks for both cancers are greatly reduced the longer you breastfeed.
6. Increased Intimacy and Bonding Between You and Baby During Nursing
This isn't something just ANY RANDOM can do. Breastfeeding is a special and intimate bonding time between you and your baby that no one can every replace.
I would wager that daddies have had their fair share of jealous moments when baby pounces at mommy for milk because sorry dude, you can't produce breastmilk like Mommies can!
7. Breastfeeding Helps You Save On Buying Formula Milk
I mean... who doesn't like to save money. Plus there's so many different milk powder brands out there promising all these different benefits for your baby. Why pay someone to tell you whats good for your baby when you can produce the PERFECT sustenance for your baby?
You also don' have to spent time washing and sterilizing milk bottles, or warming cold expressed milk up to the exact right temperature for your baby. Cause your body is the exact right temperature 😉
Well, if you're pumping out your milk for your baby, breastmilk has natural anti-bacterial properties that allows it to keep longer unrefrigerated, compared to formula milk which has to be tossed away 30 minutes after being made.
Whats more, in these times, we never know when the next pandemic will happen. The outbreak of Coronavirus, Covid-19 saw supermarket aisles being wiped cleaned as people rushed to quarantine and fears of insufficient food and supplies made their rounds. Panic buying and hoarding continues to be a huge concern. By producing your own milk supply for your baby, you won't have to worry about rushing down to the grocery store in the middle of the night when the next virus hits just so you can fight for that last tin of formula milk for your baby.
8. Breastfeeding Gives You A Larger Bra Cup Size
If you've ever dreamed of having larger cup sizes. Well, your dream just came true. Real story: A cups and can go up to DOUBLE Ds. You can take advantage of your increased bustiness and flaunt those low v neck tops, get those admiring glances.
Breastfeeding Benefits for Your Growing Baby
9. Breastmilk is the Perfect Food for Your Baby
Milk produced by a mother has all the protein, sugar, and fat baby needs to be healthy, big and strong. Not to mention the many substances that benefit your baby’s immune system, including antibodies, immune factors, enzymes, and white blood cells!
Doesn't matter what formula milk marketing materials says: breastmilk has the perfect cocktail of everything your baby needs during the first 6 months of growth.
Your body just KNOWS what your baby needs and produces it without you even knowing it! This is why you may notice changes in volume, consistency and even color as you embark on your breastfeeding journey - as the composition of breastmilk changes as your babies' needs evolve.
A great example would be Colostrum: babies first milk, which is thicker in consistency than mature breast milk due to its nutrient rich composition to prepare your baby for life outside the womb/ exposure to germs and other pollutants.
10. Liquid Formula/Powdered Formula Does Not contain Antibodies
As mentioned earlier, the antibodies, immune factors, enzymes, and white blood cells present in your breastmilk help protect your baby from enemies unseen by the naked eye.
These substances protect your baby against a wide variety of diseases and infections not only while he is breastfeeding but in some cases long after he has weaned. Formula cannot offer this protection.
Did you know that you can continue to breastfeed your baby even when you are sick with a cold? Your baby won't fall sick from drinking your breastmilk. FASCINATING right? Your baby may however, fall sick if you pass it to him through kisses or accidentally sneezing on your baby so wearing a mask and keeping your baby's feeding areas clean would help cut down the risk of passing any pathogens to your baby.
Luckily, if you're breastfeeding, the antibodies produced by your body to fight that cold will also be passed on to your baby through your breastmilk. These antibodies will help your infant fend off cold germs quickly and effectively and maybe even avoid developing a cold!
The AAP states: "This defense against illnesses significantly decreases the chances that your breastfeeding baby will suffer from ear infections, vomiting, diarrhea, pneumonia, urinary tract infections, or certain types of spinal meningitis. Infants under the age of one who breastfed exclusively for at least four months, for instance, were less likely to be hospitalized for a lower respiratory tract infection, such as croup, bronchiolitis, or pneumonia, than were their formula-fed counterparts. Even infants in group child care programs, who tend to catch more germs due to their close proximity, are less likely to become ill if they are breastfed or fed their mothers’ milk in a bottle."
11. Reduced Chance of Infection for Your Baby
I can't just make this stuff up, it's real science and facts. So I'm just going to quote the AAP here:
The AAP continues to support the unequivocal evidence that breastfeeding protects against a variety of diseases and conditions in the infant such as:
- respiratory tract infection
- necrotizing enterocolitis
- otitis media
- urinary tract infection
- late-onset sepsis in preterm infants
- type 1 and type 2 diabetes
- lymphoma, leukemia, and Hodgkins disease
- childhood overweight and obesity
12. Smarter Babies
Based on the largest randomized trial ever conducted in the area of human lactation, where a total of 17,046 healthy breastfeeding infants were enrolled, of whom 13,889 (81.5%) were followed up at age 6.5 years.
The trial provided strong evidence that prolonged and exclusive breastfeeding improves children's cognitive development. The experimental group did better on Intelligence measures, for verbal IQ, performance IQ, and full-scale IQ. Teachers' academic ratings were also significantly higher in the experimental group for both reading and writing.
What Can You Eat To Promote Breast Milk Production and Induce Lactation?
If you do a quick search online, which is what most new parents do, on how to boost milk production, most of the top American's based baby sites would suggest Fenugreek. However, it doesn't always work for all moms. What has help many mothers are lactation cookies. They work to help fuel your breastmilk production energy requirements AND stimulate breast milk with galactagogues (naturally occurring stimulants that are known to boost milk supply). Read more about lactation cookies here.
Where To Get Safe Lactation Cookies In Singapore That Work
You've come to the right place! At Gooberr™ we want to help you kickstart your breastfeeding journey with the safest, proven ingredients in our undisputedly yummy cookies. We bake our cookies fresh, on demand, daily at our FSSC-Certified baking facility to ensure that all you need to boost your breast milk supply is in a bag of cookies.
Check out our range of 5 delicious lactation cookies and 2 beautifully complementary teas.
I hope you've really enjoyed this article and hope it helps motivate you to trust your instincts, and go natural for your baby's nutritional needs.