Disposable diapers vs cloth. Homemade baby food vs store-bought. Formula vs breastmilk. These are just a few of the very important choices that most new mamas are pondering upon finding out they are carrying a new life.
So, what’s the big deal with breastfeeding anyway, and what are the benefits of choosing nursing over formula-feeding?
I would like to first state that this article is not meant to shame any mom for her choice. The top priority is always a well-fed and thriving baby, no matter what feeding method you choose.
The top priority is always a well-fed and thriving baby, no matter what method you choose.
Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way … here are seven reasons why every new mom should attempt or at least consider breastfeeding.
- Brain Power: Studies show that babies who have been breastfed score higher on IQ tests as well as academic performance tests. They also tend to hit significant baby “milestones” a bit sooner.
- Custom Made: Every mom’s body makes milk that is designed specifically for her baby. Their milk contains the perfect amount of fat, antibodies, carbohydrates, protein, vitamins and minerals customized for their baby. As baby grows, or if the infant should become ill (cold, flu etc.) the contents of the breast milk will also change to keep up with their needs.
- Convenience: Who the heck wants to get up in the middle of the night to measure and warm up a bottle of formula? Breastmilk is always right there, at the perfect temperature, and the baby knows exactly how much they want and need.
- Liquid Gold: We’ve heard breastmilk referred to as “liquid gold.” It truly is! Natural antibodies found in breastmilk along with anti-infectious, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties make it possible to use for more than just a source of food for babies. Many moms swear by their breast milk as a home remedy for minor issues such as itching from a bug bite, diaper rash or even pink eye!
- Benefits for Moms: Many studies suggest that women who breastfed had a measure of protection against breast cancer, ovarian cancer or weakened bones later in life.
- Easy on The Pocket! These days, we’re all looking to save money, right? Well, breastfeeding is absolutely free! That’s right. In fact, by nursing, you can save your family an average of $1,200-1,500 in the first year, alone.
- Weight Loss: Several moms have found this benefit to be a big motivator in their decision to nurse. Although the actual weight loss will vary due to biological differences between women, studies have shown that moms who exclusively breastfeed burn around 600 calories a day.
So, there you have it. Seven reasons to at least consider taking a shot at breastfeeding. Remember: everyone’s experience is just that – their experience. Don’t compare you or your baby to anyone else. As beautiful as nursing is, it can also be very challenging and lonely for some. Surround yourself with people who will encourage and support you. Join local groups for breastfeeding moms such as Baby Café or La Leche League. And please, don’t be afraid to ask for help! Breastfeeding takes practice. This is new for both you and baby. Be patient with your baby and most of all, be patient with yourself.
Trust yourself! Give yourself grace! You’ve got this, Mama – and you’re doing an amazing job!
By Latashia Perry