We know you didn’t make the choice to breastfeed for your own advantage but it’s pretty wonderful that you reap some phenomenal benefits of breastfeeding too! Your body has gone through a lot of changes lately and it’s still working hard to nurture your baby with the very best first food on the planet, breast milk. From immediate postpartum benefits, to improved health for years to come, the benefits of breastfeeding for mom are nothing to ignore.
Check out the benefits of breastfeeding for mom that you’re probably already enjoying:
Emotional Wellbeing: Breastfeeding is one of the best ways to bond with your baby and when you do, you’re also boosting your own emotional health. Mothers who breastfeed are less likely to have postpartum depression and anxiety than those who don’t. Plus, making this intimate connection with your baby helps you learn to read your baby’s cues and better meet her needs.
Postpartum Body: Breastfeeding encourages uterine contractions and overall less uterine bleeding. Usually moms who breastfeed return to close to their pre-baby uterus size within six weeks of giving birth as compared to 10 weeks of non-nursing moms. Breastfeeding also burns a lot of calories a day – approximately 20 calories per ounce. That’s equivalent to a pretty good workout, just by nursing your precious baby.
Lowered Risk of Cancer: Amazingly, moms who breastfeed have a decreased risk of breast cancer, ovarian cancer and uterine cancer. Researchers believe this is due to the fluctuations in hormones and having less menstrual cycles during pregnancy and while breastfeeding.
Period Pause: Speaking of menstrual cycles, you probably won’t have yours for awhile while breastfeeding. The hormones that are helping you make that nutritious breast milk are preventing your monthly cycle, at least for awhile. Some moms get their periods back pretty shortly after childbirth while others don’t have it until they are done breastfeeding.
Stronger Bones: Pregnancy and breastfeeding help women store calcium. Studies show that women who breastfed were less likely to have osteoporosis and hip fractures later in life.
Saves Money: It’s rare when the healthiest choice is free, but with breastfeeding that’s the case! In some cases you can save up to $5,000 a year just by breastfeeding. Plus, when your baby (and eventually your big kid) is sick less from the benefits of breastfeeding, you will have less sick visits to the doctor and less courses of medication. And you won’t miss as much work to stay home with a sick child so breastfeeding could support your career and income as well.
Supports the Environment: Breastfeeding is super eco-friendly because it is powered by love. Alternatives are based on cow’s milk and cows are one of the largest contributors to methane gas. Manufacturing, transporting and selling formula and all of the supplies that go with formula use energy and cause pollution too. Making good choices for the environment is personally satisfying and helps ensure resources are available to your children in the future.
Empowerment: It feels SO good to nurture and sustain your baby on your breast milk. Motherhood can be very challenging but knowing that you’ve given your baby this incredible gift is one you can be proud of for a lifetime.
Sources: WebMD, Dr. Sears and Fit Pregnancy
Leading Lady’s All About Breastfeeding blog series serves to educate and inspire new moms with information on a range of breastfeeding topics during the month of August in honor of World Breastfeeding Week and National Breastfeeding Month. This resource guide of helpful tips, breastfeeding advice, and research-based information supports our mission to raise awareness for breastfeeding and motivate moms on their breastfeeding journey.