You already know that breastfeeding is a natural and highly beneficial way to nourish a newborn baby and is recommended by obstetricians. However, did you know there are also benefits for you as a mom? Breastfeeding not only provides optimal nutrition for the baby but also supports the child’s immune system, promotes bonding between mother and infant, and offers various health benefits for the mother.

Benefits for the Baby

Nutritional Benefits

Breast milk adapts to the baby’s growing needs and contains just the perfect balance of nutrients needed. This nutrient composition also changes over time to meet the infant’s developmental requirements, which means that the baby will receive optimal nutrition at each stage of growth.

Furthermore, breast milk is easily digestible for most babies. This is because it has enzymes that help break down the nutrients for better absorption. The proteins in breast milk are also more easily digested compared to those found in formula milk. This easier digestibility results in fewer digestive problems, such as constipation, diarrhea, and reflux, for breastfed babies.

Immunological Benefits

Breast milk contains various antibodies, particularly immunoglobulin A (IgA), which plays a vital role in safeguarding the baby’s immature immune system. These antibodies form a protective layer in the baby’s digestive tract, effectively preventing harmful bacteria and viruses from entering the bloodstream.

Healthy Weight

Breastfeeding helps to encourage healthy weight gain in the baby while helping to prevent childhood obesity. This may be because breastfed babies have more beneficial gut bacteria, which may affect fat storage. Also, breastfed babies tend to have more leptin in their systems, a crucial hormone for regulating appetite and fat storage.

Benefits for the Mother

Faster Postpartum Recovery

Breastfeeding encourages the production of the hormone oxytocin, which helps the uterus contract and return to its pre-pregnancy size. In addition, breastfeeding helps the mom burn extra calories, aiding in postpartum weight loss.

Reduced Risk of Breast and Ovarian Cancer

Women who breastfeed have a lower risk of developing breast and ovarian cancer later in life. Interestingly, this risk reduction increases as the duration of breastfeeding increases. This effect may be due to the hormonal changes that occur during breastfeeding, which can help delay the return of the menstrual cycle and reduce estrogen, a hormone linked to some cancers.

Bonding with the Baby

Breastfeeding creates an incredibly strong emotional bond between mother and baby, thanks to the intimate physical closeness during nursing. Furthermore, when a mother breastfeeds her child, her body releases two essential hormones: oxytocin and prolactin. These hormones help to cultivate intense feelings of love, attachment, and the desire to nurture.

Reach Out to Our OBGYNs for Support and Guidance on Your Breastfeeding Journey

Breastfeeding undoubtedly offers an array of benefits for both mother and baby. From providing optimal nutrition for the baby to enhancing the mother’s physical and emotional well-being, the advantages of breastfeeding are undeniable. Breastfeeding can be challenging at times, but remember that you’re not alone, and there are resources and support available to help mothers overcome difficulties in their breastfeeding journey.

At Woman’s Health Centers, our OBGYNs are here to support you through your breastfeeding journey, so don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment with us today.