Why Mom Benefits from Breastfeeding Just as Much as Baby
Yesterday morning, I was hanging out with my 2-year-old going through our normal Sunday morning pre-church prep when I thought my water broke (I'll spare you the details) but I immediately pushed that thought aside as I told myself this is absolutely normal as SO MANY weird things happen during pregnancy. Besides, I wasn't even having contractions (or so I thought). We finished getting dressed for church, packed up our Bibles and our bags and headed for the car when I started to feel cramping. Yikes! My husband was at work so I called my mom (my go-to in cases of emergency) and told her what happened. She said to come right over, drop Stella off with my dad and she would take me in. Better to be safe than sorry. While dropping Stella off, I called the doctor on call, told him my symptoms and that I'm 39 weeks, and he gave me the same advice as mom, so off to labor and delivery we went.
To make a long story short, the tests back as negative, meaning it was false alarm - braxton hicks in combination with normal (but weird) bodily pregnancy malfunctions. They told me I could go after they monitored the babies heartbeat for another hour or so. Before sending me out the door, they gave me a packet filled with tons of information ranging from what to pack for the hospital to resources for postpartum depression to the benefits of breastfeeding. Most of us know why breastfeeding is so beneficial for babies, but it was the section outlining the benefits to the mother that I found particularly helpful.
Some of these benefits include:
Breast milk is loaded with nutrients – particularly specific types of fat – that promote brain growth and development of the nervous system. In fact, studies have shown children who were breastfed as babies score higher on intelligence tests and have better eye function. In addition, babies can digest and utilize the sugars and protein in breast milk more completely and efficiently than those in formulas.
It helps fight infections
Only breast milk has several types of active cells, including antibodies, that help prevent infections in babies. Research shows that babies who receive breast milk have lower levels of infections of the ears, as well as the gastrointestinal, respiratory and urinary systems. Because of these special cells, if a breastfed baby gets an infection, it usually is not as serious or long lasting.
It's easier to digest
Newborns' digestive tracts are not fully matured, and they need nourishment that is easy to digest. Breast milk provides a nutritious food that your baby's body can easily process. All the great ingredients that make breast milk so good for your baby are completely available to help him grow healthy and strong.
It's more suited to baby's body
Breast milk is designed just for babies, and it's perfect for their developing bodies. Research shows this is a reason breastfed babies have lower rates of allergies and asthma.
Benefits for Baby and Mother
More and more studies prove that breastfeeding gives newborn babies the best possible start toward a lifetime of good health. Breastfed babies have:
- Fewer ear infections
- Less risk of asthma, food allergies and dental cavities
- Protection against diarrhea and gastrointestinal and respiratory infections
- Enhanced nervous system development and higher IQ levels
- Less risk of some childhood cancers
- Possible protection against sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)
- Lower rate of childhood obesity
- Fewer food aversions when they’re older
- Appropriate jaw, teeth, facial and speech development
Mothers who breastfeed have:
- Less risk of pre-menopausal breast cancer
- Lower chance of osteoporosis later in life
- Quicker return to pre-pregnancy weight levels
- A natural, healthy source of food for their babies, even during times of emergency when normal supplies of food and water might not be available
- Less chance of becoming pregnant before menstruation returns
Both mother and baby benefit because breastfeeding:
- Allows for deeper bonding between mother and baby due to the close skin-to-skin contact and maternal hormones released during feeding
- Saves time
- Saves money
- Is better for the planet because it requires no packaging or manufacturing and causes no waste
Read more helpful information on the benefits of breastfeeding HERE