The benefits of breastfeeding are obvious and many when it comes to the baby – the milk is ideal in terms of consistency, nutrition, temperature; it is easy to digest, and helps the baby build up immunity and even helps to enhance the baby’s intelligence.
So clearly there are multiple benefits to the baby; however there are many benefits of breastfeeding to the mother as well, which a woman may do well to keep in mind. Some of the health benefits from breastfeeding for the mother are –
- Breastfeeding is known to reduce chances of women developing certain kinds of cancer. The longer a woman breastfeeding the higher is the benefit of reducing cancer risk. The cancer reducing benefits of breastfeeding are thought to relate to estrogen exposure. Estrogen levels of the body are lower during lactation and lowered estrogen exposure is related to lowered risk of breast cancer. Additionally uterine and ovarian cancer risks are also thought to reduce due to the stimulation that breastfeeding can provide to the uterine lining reducing the chances of it becoming cancerous.
- One of the other breastfeeding benefits is that a woman lessens her chances of developing osteoporosis. Studies have demonstrated that there is a lower chance of women suffering certain kinds of bone fractures in the post menopausal years if they practice breastfeeding.
- Postpartum weight loss is another benefit from breastfeeding. Women put on weight during pregnancy, and with breastfeeding this weight is easier to lose. Several hundred calories can be lost by virtue of breastfeeding. Women find it easier to get back to their pre-pregnancy weight if they breast feed.
- Not only physical health, there are also benefits of breastfeeding for a woman’s emotional health. Fewer instances of post partum depression have been noted among breast feeding mothers than those who do not breastfeed. Oxytocin is the bonding hormone that is produced during breast feeding. The better bonding with the baby is just a plus.
Other benefits of breastfeeding for the mother:
- If a new mother does not have to get up at all hours to prepare a bottle, and can simply breastfeed her baby on demand, she has better chances of getting good quality rest, so that she will be less stressed. The mother will end up saving time and energy if she breastfeeds. She can also breastfeed in bed, getting more rest for herself.
- Even for sheer convenience and economy, there are many benefits of breastfeeding – for one it is free – while formula can cost as much as $1,200 a year, breastfeeding costs nothing. And there is no wastage of breast milk – a baby will have what and as much as he/she wants.
- Breastfeeding can be a natural method of birth control and child spacing. A mother’s chances of conceiving another child while still nursing one are far less than if she was not breastfeeding; so natural birth control is one of the vital benefits of breastfeeding.