Are you trying to decide if you are going to breastfeed your baby? Taking a look at the benefits of breastfeeding for mom and baby can help you decide if breastfeeding is for you!
The decision to breastfeed is a big one – and for some, it’s a hard one to make.
Some people want to try to breastfeed no matter what, but others want to weigh the pros and cons.
I am obviously a huge proponent of breastfeeding, and I’m grateful for the experiences I’ve had with it. A big part of my passion for breastfeeding has come from understanding the benefits for both my children and me.
In today’s post, I wanted to focus on the different benefits of breastfeeding. I hope that this will be helpful to anyone who is looking for information!
Keep in mind this is not written to make any feel guilty for not breastfeeding. We all do what’s best for our children and circumstances – and being the best mom you can is the best thing you can do!
Hi! 👋 I’m Katie, a Certified Breastfeeding Specialist and IBCLC candidate. I have helped thousands of moms across the world navigate their breastfeeding journey since 2015. I can’t wait to help you! Be sure to consider booking a virtual consult or enrolling in one of our online breastfeeding workshops today.
Benefits of Breastfeeding for Mom
While there are several benefits of breastfeeding for the baby, there are also many benefits of breastfeeding for mom as well!
Thanks to breastfeeding, you will see less bleeding after delivery. This is due to an increase in Oxytocin, which helps contract your uterus and in turn can reduce bleeding.
Along with reducing the amount of bleeding, breastfeeding helps your uterus return to a normal size quicker because of the contractions that are caused because of the increase in Oxytocin.
Sure, you might feel a bit stressed and overwhelmed after you just had a baby, but thanks to the Oxytocin and a hormone called Prolactin that increases while breastfeeding, mothers often feel much calmer reducing your stress level and making you happier.
These hormones are also thought to help with the psychological benefits of breastfeeding.
Absence of Periods
Say goodbye to those annoying periods, because typically moms that exclusively breastfeed don’t get a period for at least the first six months. This is caused by the high level of the prolactin hormone.
Once you do begin getting your period again, some mothers notice them to be lighter or shorter than you were used to be before. You can expect to see these lighter periods until your baby is fully weaned.
I have Endometriosis, and I see relief from it while breastfeeding until my period returns…which is definitely a good reason!
Be careful about using breastfeeding as a form of birth control, though. This can be done but only under very specific circumstances. Here are some details on the LAM method of birth control.
Reduce the Risk of Cancer
Thanks to breastfeeding, moms who breastfeed tend to have fewer periods, which means they have less exposure to the hormone estrogen which reduces their chance of ovarian and uterine cancer.
While breastfeeding your breasts are less susceptible to mutation which is the leading cause of breast cancer. So, you will see the greatest benefit of this if you breastfeed for more than a year.
Here is a bit of research to support this:
One study conducted by the Collaborative Group on Hormonal Factors in Breast Cancer found that for every 12 months of breastfeeding, the risk of breast cancer in that mother decreased by 4.3%. This doesn’t necessarily have to be consecutively, either – it can be combined among multiple children.
Additional research discovered that women who breastfeed for more than 13 months were found to have be 63% less likely to develop ovarian cancer. Those who breastfed longer than 31 months can possibly reduce the risk of ovarian cancer by 91% as compared to women who breastfed for less than 10 months.
In my opinion, this is one of the greatest health benefits of breastfeeding for mothers.
Can Help Aid Weight Loss
After having a baby, we all would love a little help losing that extra weight we gained. Producing breast milk burns some major calories, even while you sleep!
Not every woman experience this, though, and many experience the opposite. Here are a couple of posts that may be helpful on the topic:
This might not be your favorite benefit of breastfeeding for moms, but typically you will see an increase in breast size. Sometimes this can be an increase to 1-2 cups even! So, be sure to wear a supportive bra to help support your breasts to not cause you pain or discomfort.
Other Breastfeeding Benefits
Breastfeeding saves a lot of money! When you breastfeed, you do not have to buy formula or bottles. It literally costs zero money to feed your baby. Imagine what you can do with all that extra money!
If you do need to pump breast milk and give bottles, you will have that added expense. But it is still significantly less than formula.
One of my favorite benefits of breastfeeding is how convenient it is! I never had to wash bottles, make sure I had enough formula, or anything! I would wake up in the middle of the night to feed my baby and go back to sleep. I had these same conveniences while I was out and about running errands. When my baby was hungry, I would stop and feed them really quick! I never had to worry about anything!
Help Others in Need
Many mothers choose to pump and donate milk to other mothers in need. I think this is an amazing service opportunity. Here is an article I have written on donor milk.
Does supplementing with formula reduce the benefits of breastfeeding?
I hope you found these breastfeeding benefits helpful! Please leave other helpful breastfeeding benefits in the comments!
Katie Clark is a Certified Lactation Educator, Certified Breastfeeding Specialist, and IBCLC student. She has helped thousands of mothers and families around the globe navigate breastfeeding challenges and questions since 2015. She has a passion for creating research-based, helpful breastfeeding education and helping parents find a way to make breastfeeding work for them. Katie is a mom of three little boys and lives in the great state of Colorado. She also has a degree in Communications with an emphasis in print journalism.
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