Breastfeeding did not come easily to me. When my twins were born, I really struggled. I didn’t do much research beforehand thinking that when my babies came, all I’d have to do is put my boob in their mouth and all would be well.
Much to my surprise it seemed like a fight every time I tried to feed them. One twin would fight to latch on while the other could never keep awake long enough for a full feeding – even when stripping him down naked and put a cold cloth on him to keep him awake.
I also always worried about boosting my milk supply so I was constantly pumping after feedings as well. Through 4 long months of constant blocked ducts, pain, bleeding nipples, the inability to tandem feed and the complete lack of sleep, I was miserable. I felt like I was missing out on enjoying my children, rather than dreading feeding time where I would be in pain again. From then on, I decided to formula feed.
When our baby daughter was born, I knew I wanted to try breastfeeding again, but was hesitant since I had struggled with it so much the first time around. This time, I did my research. I really prepared myself on the best practices of breastfeeding and all about the importance of that early latch when they are first born. Though, I did struggle and did have a lot of the same issues I had when I first breastfeed, I stuck through it and today I am so grateful that I did. The first few months were hard but now I love the bond that my daughter and I share. My favorite part of the day is in the morning is when I get to hold her and nurse her. I love the way she stares up at me and plays with my hair.
Though my experience was not a good one the first time around, I’m thankful that I felt more prepared this time and much more relaxed. Maybe it was because all those first time mom jitters were gone or the fact I knew what to expect when breastfeeding. The fact is that this time around I was successful and got to enjoy all of the benefits that breastfeeding ultimately brings. I’m most proud of myself for trying breastfeeding again.
As the saying goes, “breast is best.” The following are some of the awesome benefits of breastfeeding that you should consider if you decided to try to breastfeed again:
1. Breastfeeding Helped With Weight Loss
When you breastfeed, your uterus contracts as it begins to start shrinking back to a smaller size (though unfortunately it will never be that young small thing that it once was). This usually feels like light menstrual cramps. Breastfeeding also burns off an average of 500 calories a day! By breastfeeding and frequent trips to the gym (they have child care which was an extra bonus to find a way to get a little “me” time), I was able to lose the pregnancy weight pretty fast.
2. Breastfeeding Is Easier Than Formula
Though there are some benefits in formula but when you can successfully breastfeed there are lots of things you don’t have to worry about. The main one is not having to always make sure you have bottles for when you go out. It was one less thing to worry about when packing my diaper bag. When out, I didn’t have to worry about heating a bottle, making sure I packed formula, bottle and water. I also didn’t have to worry about all those bottles that need to be washed.
3. Breast Milk Is FREE
When we were formula feeding our twins the amount of money that we spent each month purchasing it would be enough for a small car payment. The cost of formula is crazy expensive and I was constantly searching for formula coupons to help save some money. My husband and I were counting down the days to when we could finally put them on regular milk. We were able to save lots of money this time around with me able to breastfeed our daughter.
4. Breast Milk Stays Fresher Than Formula
Formula milk tends to spoil a lot faster which makes it hard to transport around. Pumped breast milk keeps for a long time, even outside the fridge.
5. Breastfeeding Helps You Relax And Puts You In A Better Mood
When you breastfeed a hormone called oxytocin releases into your body. It decreases your blood pressure and has the effect of calming you down. This also calms down your baby. A mother’s milk contains chemicals that actual help a baby sleep and even if they don’t fall asleep, it definitely calms them down. It has been said that if you choose to sleep through toddlerhood, you may not ever see signs of those “terrible twos.”
6. Breastfeeding Can Reduce The Risk Of Breast Cancers
Studies have shown that women who breastfeeding can reduce their risk for getting breast cancer. The study had shown that many women who did breastfeed their child showed a significant reduction of breast cancer than those women who did not. Breastfeeding could account for almost two-thirds reduction in breast cancer incidence. In ovarian cancer, breastfeeding for 12-24 months significantly reduces the risk by one-third.
7. Breastfeeding May Help With Maternal Endometriosis
Endometriosis occurs in women when cells from the lining of the womb grown in other areas of the body. They can lead to pain, irregular bleeding and can cause problems with getting pregnant. Breastfeeding may help stop the progress of endometriosis of growing further. There are some women who claim that breastfeeding had completely cured them from it. It has also been shown that the longer a women breastfeeds the less likely she is to get endometrial cancer.
8. Breast Milk Help Boosts Baby’s Immunity
Breast milk contains immunities to diseases and can help boost your child’s immunity. These immunities are called marcophages which are cells that can kill fungi, bacteria and viruses. What is even cooler is that a mother’s breast milk is custom made for that baby. A mother will produce antibodies to whatever disease may be present in their current environment making sure that their baby is safe against what they may be exposed to.
9.Breastfeeding Is Associated With Higher I.Q
Various studies conducted over the years have found that children who were breastfed as infants score higher on IQ tests and had better academic achievement than children who were fed with infant-formula.
10. Breastfeeding Lowers The Chances Of Allergies And Asthma
Breastfeeding protects your baby from developing all sorts of allergies such as respiratory allergies, food allergies and atopic eczema. Studies have also shown a link between developing asthma for those children who were not exclusively breastfed for at least 4 months.
11. It Can Decrease Risk Of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDs)
Researches have yet to find an exact cause for SIDS but there have been several studies that do show a link between breastfeeding and the reduction of instances of SIDS. The longer you can breastfeed for, studies have shown the lower the risk your baby has against SIDS.
12. Breast Milk Helps With Your Child’s Digestive System
Breast milk helps sooth your baby’s tummy right from the start. Colostrum, which is the first milk that comes after your baby is born, is designed to help move the meconium found in a newborn’s intestines when they are first born. It also protects them against digestive infections. Studies have shown that babies who are breast feed have far less digestive infections that those to babies who are formula feed. It can also protect your baby from bacterial meningitis. Bacterial meningitis is as infection that can cause inflammation on the membrane covering the brain and spinal cord.
13. Breastfeeding Helps Combat Adult Diseases And Health Issues
Children who were breastfed are less likely to developing rheumatoid arthritis as adults and decreases their chances for osteoporosis. According to studies, not only is a mother’s child protected against this disease but themselves as well. It has been shown that a child who has been formula fed has less bone mineralization than compared to those children who have been breastfed. Another disease it helps combat is adult obesity. Incidents of obesity were particularly smaller in children who were breastfed compared to children who were formula fed. It has also been proven that breastfeeding can help lower cholesterol later in life!
14. Breastfeeding Helps Combat Against Diabetes
Studies has shown that formula fed babies have a higher risk at developing diabetes later on in life. Formally known as juvenile diabetes studies have showed a link between lack of breastfeeding and insulin dependent type I diabetes. It has also shown that breastfeeding can help against Type 2 diabetes as well. If you are a diabetic mother and are breastfeeding, it has been shown that you may have less insulin requirements as well.
15. Breast Feed Babies Spend Less Time At The Doctors
Because breast milk is formulated to help your child fight off infections and sooth their digestive system, you are less likely to be visiting the doctor frequently which means less money you will be spending. An organization called the Kaiser-Permanente Health Maintenance Organization in North Carolina found that a formula fed baby costs averaged over $1,400 more per year in additional health costs than compared to babies that are breastfed.
16. Breast Milk Is The Best Pain Relief Medicine
If your baby is hurt it can be soothed away almost instantly from breastfeeding. Breast milk contains a chemical that suppress pain called endorphins. Babies find a lot of comfort in suckling and being held close. If your baby receives a vaccine, it is always good to breastfeed afterwards. Not only does it sooth your upset baby but it also helps enhance the vaccine’s effectiveness. Breastfed infants showed better serum and secretory responses to vaccines than formula fed babies.