Motherhood is exciting in its own way, and there are numerous decisions you must make as you adjust to taking care of a child. When you are a new mother, the process can be overwhelming and can give rise to many questions in your mind.
For instance, you wonder whether you should start looking for a nanny or become a stay-at-home mom, your birth plan, whether you should co-sleep with the baby and for how long, and the routines you should adopt for yourself and baby, and so on.
One of the many questions that frequently crop up is the case of breastfeeding. Many mothers are choosing to give their babies formula milk due to various reasons, but there are certain unique reasons why breastfeeding is the better option. Here are 8 of them.
It gives more protection and nutrients
There is a reason why breast milk is so important for the health of your child; it gives them the perfect start to grow. It comes free of charge, as it is custom-made for the baby from the mother’s body, and comes with an endless supply of very important nutrients that the baby’s body needs to survive.
Interestingly, breast milk does not remain the same throughout the months as the baby grows – it actually changes in its composition to keep up with the needs of the child. Because it is directly from your body, it is also easier for the baby to digest compared to formula milk.
What you may not know is that all babies are naturally born with meconium, a tar-like substance that is sticky and is in their intestines. Breast milk serves to remove this substance through their bodies, especially the early milk.
In addition, breast milk contains important antibodies that help the baby’s immune system to develop and grow stronger, which means they have fewer chances of developing allergies or serious illnesses. In fact, the first milk you produce, also known as colostrum, gives their body very important early protection because it coats their digestive system and prevents harmful bacteria from growing.
This is even more important if the baby is born premature because they are more vulnerable to dangerous illnesses.
Gives the child brain power
There is plenty of evidence that states children who feed exclusively on breast milk score higher in IQ tests and general academic performance later in their lives, especially when you breastfeed them during the first six months.
It is portable and convenient
We will be honest here: being a mother to an infant or toddler is exhausting, especially because you carry so many items belonging to your child – extra clothes, diapers, play toys, and so on.
You do not want to carry additional bottles of milk, especially when the baby is still very young.
The best thing about breast milk is that the temperature is always right, it is never too hot or too cold. It is also fresh, safe, and always ready for the child when they need it so you do not need to boil it or sterilize bottles.
All these make breastfeeding so much easier compared to using formula milk.
The size does not matter
When it comes to breastfeeding, your breast size is never an issue because they will still produce milk. This is because once you get pregnant, the breasts begin preparing milk for the baby very early on.
They can even begin producing colostrum from 24 weeks after you get pregnant.
As soon as you deliver the baby, the brain will activate certain hormones that trigger the breasts to begin producing milk, and this will continue as the baby grows. In fact, the breasts will even make more milk when the baby takes more of it, in order to keep up with demand.
It has benefits for the mother
Breastfeeding not only gives a ton of benefits to the baby, it also helps the mother. In fact, it is a measure of protecting the mother against ovarian and breast cancer, as well as weak bones.
Since the body utilizes calories when making the milk, breastfeeding is also a way of losing the weight you gained when you were pregnant. It also helps to shrink the uterus back to a relatively normal size, which helps you regain your figure faster (even though the uterus will always be slightly enlarged and will never go back to its original size after childbirth).
It creates a special bond with the baby
There is a special feeling that only a mother can have when they hold the baby in their arms and develop a close bond with them and breastfeeding is a perfect way to experience that. Because the baby learns to feel comfortable in your arms, it helps in building a strong, lasting relationship with them, as well as cuddling them to sleep when they get fussy.
The benefits last a lifetime
Even though the first six months of life are vital for the baby when it comes to breastfeeding, the best news is that the benefits never stop, even when the child is slightly older. In fact, it is even better when you breastfeed them until they are about two years old, and research continues to show that any amount is always good for them.
It has benefits for working mothers too
If you are a working mom, do not fret your baby can still experience all these benefits even if you need to go to school or work. You can do this by extracting the milk by using a breast pump and then leave it with the caregiver to feed your child or freeze it for future use.
While breastfeeding is a natural thing, you might need some help with it especially if it is your first time plus it also needs patience and time getting the hang of it. However, it has enormous benefits for you and baby, and these benefits are much better than using formula milk unless your doctor advises you to do so due to very special circumstances.
Mich is a 38-year-old semi-professional sports person who enjoys extreme ironing, drone photography and ferret racing. She is fit and disciplined, has a degree in sports science and has a severe phobia of cats.