As moms approach the end of their pregnancy, they begin to think about the choice of breastfeeding or formula feeding their baby. While both methods have their own advantages, there are certain aspects of breastfeeding that simply can’t be completely replicated by formula feeding. Each parent’s choice will be determined by their own unique circumstances and limitations such as physical ability or other factors. However, for those who do have the choice and are considering breastfeeding, here are five unique benefits that you can experience through breastfeeding.
Your breast milk is the optimal source of nourishment for your baby as it contains all the nutrients a baby needs during the first stage of its life. This includes many vitamins, minerals, and proteins that are easily digestible and all contribute to the development of a healthy baby. Furthermore, your body continues to care for your baby in incredible ways as the composition of the breast milk will change over time depending on your baby’s needs. This brings benefits such as altering the fat and water content and supplying more of a specific nutrient when the baby experiences a deficiency.
Babies receive not only essential nutrients from breast milk, but also antibodies, which can help protect them by boosting their immune system. This results in a lower risk of developing a variety of infections and conditions from respiratory illnesses to diabetes, to more serious conditions such as SIDS. Furthermore, the vitamins and nutrients your baby gets from breastfeeding can also protect against the development of allergies and asthma.
Not only does breastfeeding help prevent diseases and conditions in newborns, but it can also have long-term health effects as babies grow older and into adulthood as it encourages both cognitive and physical development. For children who were breastfed, the most notable benefits include a reduced risk of heart disease, obesity, diabetes, and even some forms of cancer.
Although breastfeeding has numerous advantages for the baby, it also provides health benefits for the mother. Breastfeeding can help your body return to its pre-pregnancy condition more easily and decrease postpartum bleeding. It can even delay menstruation, sometimes for several months.
Additionally, breastfeeding may also provide a lower risk of developing urinary tract infections, or more serious conditions such as breast and ovarian cancer. Finally, the skin to skin contact and the release of certain hormones during breastfeeding can help keep the mother emotionally healthy during this incredible bonding time with baby.
Mothers who choose to formula feed can expect to pay around $1,500 for the formula and other feeding supplies in their baby’s first year of life. As a result, while it’s far from the most important factor, choosing to breastfeed can result in financial savings.
Additionally, with breastfeeding, you will not need to worry about preparing formula bottles correctly for your baby or potentially forgetting and running out of formula at a bad time. Instead, breastfeeding is all about ease of storage and access in a pinch whenever your baby needs it, taking the pressure off so you can save that money and energy for other things.
Plus, as a natural source, breastfeeding produces less waste and requires much fewer resources to produce than formula feeding, something that environmentally conscious moms might also want to consider.
Overall, breastfeeding can provide an excellent source of nutrition and comfort for your newborn, but whatever your situation and choice of feeding when the time comes, remember to support those moms around you and cherish the moments you have with your baby.