By Amanda Froelich,
“To breast feed or to not?”, that is the question. While statistics show that breastfeeding is on the rise (thanks to marketing which is allowing the benefits to become more well known), it is still a controversial topic for modern, successful women who don’t feel they should surrender the nipple.
Perhaps the refusal of such an integral act is spurred by the fear of saggy body parts or a perceived lack of time; regardless, by not breastfeeding an infant, damage can be done to both mother and child.
With all things, it seems natural is best. And that is why the following twenty reasons should be taken into account when deciding whether or not breastfeeding is right for you or your loved one.
1. Not breastfeeding Increases a mother’s risk for Breast Cancer
It was shown in the English medical journal that women who breastfeed early on (and for longer periods of time) can reduce their incidence of contracting Breast Cancer by at least 25%.
2. Most nutrient-dense way to feed an infant
Milk from a mother is a live food, bursting with nutrients that specifically meet the child’s requirements. Powdered formula is not; it is a manufactured supplement that is a substitute for the real deal.
3. Reduces risk of baby developing child-hood illnesses
Because breast milk is highly nutritive and nourishes the delicate intestinal tract of a newborn, it has been proven to protect against Crohn’s disease, juvenile Diabetes, bacterial meningitis, asthma, respiratory infections, childhood lymphomas, juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, and Hodgkins disease (among many more!).
4. Protects Against Obesity
Breastfed babies regulate their own feedings from the beginning, which helps them to develop healthier eating patterns as they grow and develop. This reduces their risk of becoming overweight later in life.
5. More easily digested than formula
Compared to store-bought formula which is often spit up and is unnatural, breast milk is easily digested by baby.
6. Helps Bonding
Breastfeeding is essential for the mother and infant to bond. It helps the infant develop emotionally and releases oxytocin, which reduces the chance of the mother experiencing postpartum depression.
Breast milk is full of endorphins. These hormones suppress pain naturally and can easily comfort a sick child.
8. Easier and Less Time Consuming
Breast milk is always the right temperature and doesn’t require any preparation.
9. Helps Shrink Uterus to Natural Size
Release of the hormone oxytocin during breastfeeding encourages uterine contractions that shrink the uterus.
10. Higher IQ later in life
This study shows how babies fed formula have a lower IQ than breast fed infants.
11. Suckling helps prevent Postpartum Hemorrhage
While nursing, a mother’s body releases oxytocin which can create produce contractions which help shrink the uterus back to normal size. These contractions also shut off the maternal blood vessels that formerly fed the baby and discourage excessive bleeding.
12. Nursing Moms Easily Lose Weight
Fitting back into pre-baby pants is a goal for many mothers. It’s shown that feeding an infant burns an extra 500 calories per day, which makes it much easier to shed weight gained during pregnancy.
13. Breastfeeding reduces Insulin requirements for mothers
Reduction in insulin dose postpartum was significantly greater in those who were breastfeeding compared to those who were bottle feeding, according to the British Medical Journal. This can reduce a woman’s likelihood for developing Diabetes.
14. Nights are less stressful for mother and baby
If a bottled formula doesn’t need to be prepared, an infant’s crying and fussiness can be quieted in a shorter time period.
15. You cannot overfeed a breastfed baby
Infants stop suckling when they are full; however, bottle-fed babies are encouraged to finish their bottle at every feeding.
16. Breast milk tastes better
Powdery, bland formula or sweet, light-tasting breast milk?
17. Better speech development
Because babies nursing from a bottle often attempt to slow down the flow of milk with their tongue, this can later lead to speech impediment problems.
18. Formula feeding increases risk of developing allergies
These studies show that infants nursing from powdered formula have a higher risk of developing allergies, an epidemic currently on the rise.
19. S.I.D.S. Increases via formula feeding
Several studies show that Sudden Infant Death Syndrome is more prevalent in bottle-fed babes.
20. Breastfeeding is a natural contraceptive
This is true only if a mother is exclusively breastfeeding, and has not yet gotten her period back. Night nursing encourages longer amenorrhoea (periodlessness). If one doesn’t wish to get immediately pregnant, this is an additional benefit from breastfeeding.
Conclusive studies and far more benefits of breastfeeding can be found here.
Ancient cultures have long promoted natural methods of living. It’s modern influence and technological advances which have created a society of disconnected and confused individuals. The chaos created by unhealthy, unsustainable lifestyles are partly to blame for the rising health epidemics; if one were to return to more balanced habits in alignment with nature, they would experience increased awareness and health.
Regarding the natural act of breastfeeding, it is essential mothers feel empowered that they have the ability to nourish their children through such an intimate act. No powdered formula, robot nanny, or pile of plastic toys can make up for the necessary parenting which influences the child’s life later on. For both mother and baby, there are many benefits to breastfeeding.