Benefits to the Baby
1) Colostrum Production
After birth, a woman’s breast milk contains a special liquid called colostrum. This yellow liquid is chock full of nutrients and antibodies that do more for your baby than formula. A woman’s body is designed to give just enough of this liquid,and as your baby grows and develops, the concentration of colostrum in the breast milk also changes to suit the needs of your child. This golden nectar also helps to develop the baby’s natural immune system. Breast milk is also easier for the baby to digest, which ensures the child doesn’t need to adjust like it would with formula. This helps to reduce the likelihood of diarrhea and an upset stomach.
Benefits to the Mother
2) Money Saved & Convenience Made
The breastfeeding benefits are not limited to the health of the baby. Mothers who breastfeed reap a plethora of benefits as well. Firstly it saves money and offers a convenience that cannot be matched by formula. The breasts are always ready to feed your child and there is no preparation involved (unless you are putting on a nursing cover to breastfeed); saving time before trips and throughout the day. Imagine not having to buy bottles and formula. You don’t have to ensure sterilization of equipment and there is no warming of the milk needed. When your baby is hungry, you are ready!
3) The “Love” Hormone
One of the most significant benefits to breastfeeding is the oxytocin release experienced by both mother and child. Regarded as the “Love” hormone, oxytocin is released during breastfeeding (partly due to skin on skin contact), which creates a bond and provides overall well-being to those involved.
Breastfeeding is also linked to lower incidence of common health problems women experience: Type 2 diabetes, breast cancer, ovarian cancer, and postpartum depression.
4) Healthy Living
Breastfeeding helps society out immensely. As mentioned, it reduces the incidence of illness, which puts less pressure on hospitals to address ill health in our babies and youth, in general. Also, in countries less well off than other first world powers, the societal benefits of normalized breastfeeding should not be overlooked. It is a readily available resource in times of emergency and economic struggle. For those nations with poorer health care, the nutritional factors and presence of antibodies within breast milk could be the only guard the child has to prevent disease and hydration. Children fed breast milk do not need another hydration source, as breast milk provides all a child needs, even on the warmest and arid days.
A Few Problems?
The benefits of breastfeeding have been stated, but it is also important to consider the issues women can experience throughout this process. Like most things in life, you have to take the good with the bad.
Problem 1: Tender and sore breasts
When the breasts engorge with fresh milk, they may become extremely tender and sore. If you are using a method where breastfeeding and formula feeding are used in tandem, this tenderness may become amplified.
Solution: More frequent feedings will reduce discomfort. Then on the other hand, more frequent feedings can sometimes lead to sore nipples, which usually are a result of a baby suckling too hard. There are products available to reduce pain and start the healing process.
Problem 2: Infection
Another potential issue is breast infection, referred to as mastitis. This occurs when bacteria enters into the milk duct.
Solution: Elicit the help of a professional. It is important to visit your doctor if you feel as though an infection has occurred. If breastfeeding is done correctly, these problems can be minimized, and the benefits certainly outweigh the risks.
There are books that can be written on this subject. The benefits, problems, and solutions mentioned above are just a few on the subject of “breastfeeding.” With you being our reader (and probably a mom that breastfeeds or has breastfed), we would like you at add what you feel would add to the value of this article. What are some benefits you have experienced from breastfeeding? Have you ran into any problems? What solutions did you find?
**This is not the place to bully and belittle others. Be mindful, and considerate of other mothers that have chosen to breastfeed or formula feed. Everyone has their reasons, and no one should be criticized for their decisions concerning how they feed and care for their child. So, please help us to keep the negativity away.**