Breastfeeding is not only better for babies, it is better for their mothers as well.
There have been a number of studies that have shown that breastfeeding can reduce a woman’s risk of postpartum depression, breast cancer, ovarian cancer, and even type 2 diabetes.
Newer studies have shown that the longer a woman breastfeeds, the more she reduces her risk of having high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes, not to mention heart diseases, which is the number one cause of death for all women in the U.S. each year.
Breastfeeding can benefit women in a number of ways. When a woman breastfeeds, her uterus contracts more readily, this decreases her immediate postpartum blood loss and helps her uterus return to its non-pregnant state more quickly.
The physical contact of breastfeeding is important for newborns, and gives them a feeling of security and comfort, as well as helping them regulate their own body temperature.
Mothers who breastfeed their babies are more self-confident. The bond between a mother and child is strengthened during breastfeeding. It is a relaxing and satisfying experience for both mother and child.
Breastfeeding can also mean a considerable cost savings. Depending on what brand of formula a parent would have used, parents can save between $1200 and $3900 a year just on formula costs alone.
Breastmilk is always ready, warm and waiting. It is produced in perfect quantities according to a child’s needs, and is customized according to the child’s needs. Mothers who breastfeed usually need very few bottles.
Breastfed babies are also generally healthier than formula fed babies because they receive immune protection through their mother’s milk. This means lower health care expenses, and less time lost from work for parents.
Medical experts recommend that mothers breastfeed their babies exclusively for the first six months, and then continue to breastfeed for the first year, and even beyond if desired.
Breastfeeding provides benefits as long as you continue. Unfortunately, CDC figures show that over half of all new mothers do not meet their own breastfeeding goals, much less expert recommendations.
One of the most important factors in breastfeeding success is having the proper education and support. When breastfeeding became less popular, a lot of common knowledge and skill was lost. Many new mothers today have never seen other women breastfed.
It is important for a woman who is breastfeeding to receive support from the people around her, as well as education from a lactation consultant. Often her partner’s full support can make a real difference in breastfeeding success.
Because breastfeeding is so important to women’s health, there is an increasing movement to promote breastfeeding and remove barriers to breastfeeding, such as a lack of support at work for nursing mothers who need to have time and facilities to pump and store their breast milk.