Glad you asked. Whether you’re expecting a baby or you’re already nursing a little one, it’s good to know the benefits of breastfeeding. Some of us are still making the decision, some of us need encouragement to keep on going, and still others of us just like to be reminded from time to time how breastfeeding is nature’s way of helping baby develop strong health. Here are a few facts on breastfeeding that I uncovered with the help of La Leche League.
– Breastfeeding only (without additional formula) for the first six months of life lowers the risk of obesity.
– It lowers the risk of ear infections, viruses, diarrhea, chest infections, asthma, and other illnesses, even after weening.
– There are long-term cognitive benefits. Breastfeeding for eight months or more results in higher verbal and performance IQ scores in seven- and eight-year-old children.
– It decreases the risk of childhood diabetes.
– It decreases the risk of SIDS, makes baby’s potty more regular (and less stinky, I might add), and it puts off that first virus longer. When the first virus does occur, it’s shorter.
Don’t forget the benefits to mom either! For the nursing mother, hormones are released that calm her. What a great help in the beginning stages of motherhood! The food is free, compared to the high cost of formula. It’s already heated, it’s totally portable, and there are no late-night trips to the convenience store because – oops! – there’s no more formula in the house and baby’s hungry NOW.
Let’s not forget to mention the faster weight loss for mom. Breastfeeding burns at least an extra 500 calories a day. That means for the duration you choose to breastfeed your baby, whenever you take seconds at the dinner table, you’re allowed to say, “What? I’m breastfeeding.”
If you’re breastfeeding, what is you favorite reason? Share here and help others to make the decision!