The Benefits of Breastfeeding: The Untold Story
As an expectant mother, you need to understand the good, the bad, and the ugly side of breastfeeding.
Source: Todays Parents
“I have been breastfeeding my little boy for the past 6 months with no problems. He is a big/regular feeder. I'm now expecting our second child which I'm super excited about although it'll be hard work!”- Kat80zmx
“My 3-day old baby has been nursing well. She latched immediately after birth and we have been doing well with feedings... tonight randomly she would not latch. Tried every position, offered both breasts - burping her, etc. nothing ... I had a nipple shield and I put it on and she took it immediately. I am defeated because I did not want her to have anything but me.”
“My baby girl is a little over two weeks and I can’t get this breastfeeding thing down ... She doesn’t latch on properly and my nipples are so hurt that even pumping is uncomfortable. I’ve tried everything and nothing seems to work. I guess I’m just not one of those fortunate moms that get to breastfeed their babies.”- Adylen22
As you can see, every breastfeeding story is unique. Even with multiple births, you will have a different experience with each child.
The Advantages and Disadvantages of Breastfeeding
Lucky for you, breastfeeding is a personal choice.
Today, you can access a lot of information and support to help you make the right decision.
Whether you choose to rely on mom-blogs or only rely on doctors, you have autonomy on:
- How long you will breastfeed.
- Whether to pump and use a bottle or breastfeed directly from the breast.
- When and whether to introduce formula.
- How and when to wean off your baby completely.
But, make sure you weigh the pros and cons before making a decision for you and your little one.
The Advantages of Breastfeeding
Health Benefits of Breastfeeding for Both Mother and Child
Benefits of Breastfeeding for the Child
1. Nutrition for Your Baby
Most health experts recommend exclusive breastfeeding for up to 6 months. This helps you provide your baby with as much nutrition as possible.
Breast milk contains all the nutrients your baby needs as an infant.
It also comes in an easy to digest formula for your baby’s developing digestive tract.
If both of you are healthy, breast milk is all you need to sustain a normal growth rate for up to 6 months.
By breastfeeding, you encourage healthy weight gain. This reduces the risk of childhood obesity.
2. Protection for Your Baby
Breast milk contains antibodies and anti-allergens. These help boost your child’s immune system.
Every drop of breast milk is valuable, including colostrum. Colostrum is the thick yellowish milk you produce immediately after birth.
Colostrum has all the components needed to help your baby’s digestive tract develop.
Every drop of milk helps you:
- Provide your child with the antibodies needed to fight viruses and bacteria.
- Reduce the chances of your baby falling ill and ending up in a hospital.
- Lower the risk of your child developing illnesses such as leukemia and diabetes.
Benefits for the Mother
Admit it, feeding time is a chance for you to get some extra one-on-one time with your baby.
And it comes with added benefits. You can strengthen that bond while enjoying the benefits of breastfeeding, such as:
1. Losing Pregnancy Weight
Breastfeeding increases your body’s energy demands. It helps you burn up to 500 extra calories per day.
At first, your appetite will increase. Your body will most likely store fat to help with milk production.
But the magic happens after about 3 months of breastfeeding. Hormonal changes occur as you breastfeed beyond 3 months and will help you burn more fat.
Your baby’s growth will also increase energy demands. This will help you burn a few extra calories.
This, coupled up with a good diet and fitness routine will have you feeling like yourself faster.
2. Contraction of the Uterus
While pregnant, your uterus grows fast to create space for the baby.
After birth, the uterus undergoes involution. This is a contraction process to help it return to its original size.
Involution relies on the continuous production of oxytocin. Oxytocin production increases in labor to help you with delivery.
Breastfeeding also increases oxytocin levels in the body. This reduces post-birth bleeding and helps the uterus contract faster.
Emotional Benefits for Both
This feel-good hormone will help you feel better. Oxytocin helps with stress reduction and boosts positive feelings.
Breastfeeding also makes life easier in the first few months. Your breasts offer an all-inclusive nutritional feeding plan.
It saves you from the hassle of:
- Having to heat up milk every time you need to feed your baby.
- Cleaning feeding bottles after every feed.
- Transporting milk when you and the baby are on the move.
- Storing milk. Your breasts will always have a fresh batch.
Every minute you spend with your child on your breast increases skin-to-skin contact. You will also spend more time stroking and cuddling your baby.
The bond both of you form at this stage will help your child’s social and behavioral development.
After leaving the dark, warm womb into the loud, bright world, your baby might feel confused. Breastfeeding helps them feel reassured. They can gaze into your eyes and feel loved and protected.
This sense of security will strengthen their personality from a young age. You can build on this experience to help your child grow into a self-confident individual.
The Disadvantages of Breastfeeding
If both mother and child stay healthy, there are very few downsides to breastfeeding.
But, a lot of mothers struggle with breastfeeding. This creates a lot of emotional and psychological stress for both mother and child.
Breastfeeding is only good for your mental health if:
- You can get your baby to latch with ease.
- You produce enough milk and can feed your baby on demand many times a day.
- You and your baby are healthy enough to take part in the process.
- You are willing and ready to breastfeed.
Often, the negative experience around breastfeeding will come from societal pressure and a sense of guilt.
Regardless of your reasons not to breastfeed, you will come across a lot of ‘judgy Judy’s’.
Sometimes, your body will refuse to cooperate with your wish to breastfeed. You might experience:
- Breast infections
- Low milk production
- Birth trauma
- Postpartum depression
These issues can escalate into guilt, anxiety, and even depression.
As a mother, your mental and emotional health will affect your baby’s health. This will happen whether you are breastfeeding or not.
As a boss mum, you can still nurture your baby without breastfeeding. If you cannot breastfeed, always remember:
- Your choice is valid. You have the autonomy to decide whether or not to breastfeed.
- Your motherhood journey is unique. You do not need to meet the expectations of others.
- Breastfeeding is not a reflection of your abilities as a mother. A child needs a lot more than breast milk to develop into a well-rounded human being.
- Your mental health should be your priority at all times. Focus on that.
Healthy Choices for Mothers
Breastfeeding is one of the many choices you will make as a mother.
While it can feel daunting, you need to be kind to yourself. You will need that energy for millions of other choices coming your way.
New Bloom Maternity simplifies one choice by creating quality nursing bras. They save you the extra energy you’d spend trying to choose a good nursing bra.
Regardless of your breastfeeding decision, your breasts will grow a lot. The growth will start in pregnancy and continue after birth.
You need an everyday maternity bra to offer you the best support. The New Bloom Maternity bra is for you. It comes with:
- Soft and breathable fabric for extra comfort.
- Expandable fabric to give you the right fit at all times.
- Super supportive cups for your ever-growing cups.
Explore the range of available nursing and maternity bras and order from the comfort of your home.
Get your New Bloom EverydayMmaternity bra today.
Feature Image: Freepik