Breastfeeding has many benefits, in fact 100 years ago there was little other alternative. Today wWe live in a bottle feeding society. Many moms not only find bottle feeding more convenient, they have also been led to believe that feeding formula is somehow better for them and their baby. This information is flat out wrong. The benefits of breastfeeding for you and your baby generally far outweigh any risks or problems you may face. Remember if you are concerned to ask your health care provider, as everyones circumstance is a little different, but most will agree with this.
The most obvious and also most numerous benefits from breastfeeding are to the baby directly from breast milk. No only does breast milk contain the exact nutritional requirements for your baby, it has numerous other positives as well, including:
- Boosts the immune system. Most of the immunities a baby has comes from the mother’s breast milk. Not only does the milk in general contain materials to help fight infection, it is actually tailored to what the mother is exposed to (i.e. what the baby is probably exposed to). This means your child gets custom protection from the diseases they face. Not only do breastfed babies get sick less, they are also less likely to develop immune disorders or allergy related diseases, including asthma.
- Helps proper physical development. Breastfed babies gain more weight than formula fed babies at the beginning, but that tapers off. Studies have shown that breastfed babies are less likely to be obese.
- Helps proper mental development. Breast milk helps to keep babies in a more alert state, which contributes to proper brain development.
While you may consider bottle feeding breast milk, you should be aware that the simple act of breast feeding also has benefits to your child, including:
- Increased bonding. Being close and connected to your child makes them feel safer with you and bond to you more.
- Promotes good oral health. Not only does breastfeeding prevent bottle tooth decay, it could also keep your child from having to wear braces in the future.
- Improves hand eye coordination. This is especially true if you switch sides and positions regularly.
In addition to being beneficial to your baby, breastfeeding can provide benefits to you as well, including:
- Less Hemorrhaging. Mothers who formula feed have to be given medicine after birth to shrink the uterus and prevent dangerous hemorrhaging. Nursing mother’s produce this chemical naturally.
- Less stress. Breast feeding has been shown to decrease the incidence of illness in babies. Dealing with a healthy baby is much easier than having to deal with a sick baby.
- Birth control. Consistent breast feeding has been shown to be effective in preventing ovulation. This effect may also help prevent breast, ovarian, and uterine cancers.
- Weight loss. Producing breast milk burns up a lot of calories. Mothers who nurse have been shown to take off the pregnancy weight faster.
- Increased bonding. In addition to helping your baby bond with you, breastfeeding produces hormones that help you bond better with your baby.
While best feeding is usually best, there are some instances where formula may be the better choice. The first of these is if you test positive for diseases that can be transmitted through breast milk. You should talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of breast feeding in these cases. The second reason for bottle feeding is if you take certain medications of illegal drugs. Again, you should speak to your doctor in this situation.
Overall, breastfeeding can be a rewarding and beneficial experience for you and your baby. This will probably be one of the first and most important decisions you will have to make for your new child.