Text/Photo: Dr Blue, Founder of J&J Baby, Educational Psychology, Lactation Counselor, Former Chemist
Weight reduction? Yep. Improved disease immunity? You bet. Fights depression? Of course. The benefits to mothers who breastfeed their newborn seems just about endless. While you ultimately have the choice as a mother whether to breastfeed your baby, do consider the myriad of benefits to you before making this decision. The World Health Organisation (WHO) even recommends mothers to breastfeed their young until the age of 2. What benefits does it provide, you may ask? Read on as we walk you through the significant advantages to breastfeeding and list out why you should definitely consider the practice and help you make informed decisions along the way.
Helps Burn Fat
Breastfeeding can burn an average of 300-500 calories a day (that's 1.5 burgers!). This way, lactating mothers generally have an easier time of reducing their pregnancy fat in a healthy and natural way. Doing so in a controlled manner without the need to even diet!
Reduces the Risk of Depression
Postpartum depression is a serious issue that affects many mothers around the world. Plenty of women have reported that they experience depression symptoms as an after effect of giving birth. Having to contend with depression throughout your daily life as a mother with a baby will be an incredibly hard challenge. However, nature has provided us with a way to reduce this risk; many studies (The relationship between postpartum depression and breastfeeding - PubMed (nih.gov)) have shown that mothers who breastfeed their baby show a decreased chance of developing postpartum depression.
Helps Uterus Contract
You release a hormone known as oxytocin when your baby is nursing. This hormone helps your uterus to contract back to pre-pregnancy size, allowing you to minimize post-delivery blood loss. This effect is so efficient in fact, that it is able to help your uterus contract within 6 weeks after delivery, as compared to the usual 10 week period. It is not out of the norm to feel mild contractions within the first few weeks of nursing your baby.
Reduce Risk of Disease
Breastfeeding can help both the mother and baby boost their immune system against diseases. Not only are you transferring antibodies to your newborn, you are also getting a host of health benefits for yourself. Studies have shown that women who nurse their babies have a reduced risk of cancer later on in life. Not only that, but breastfeeding mothers also enjoy a decrease in heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and even arthritis.
Bonding Time with Baby
Now you most likely have heard this one from every mother who has breastfed before. And they are not wrong. Breastfeeding is one of the best tools a mother has at her disposal to bond with their newborn. Think about it, all that cuddling, eye contact, and soothing transfer of body heat will create a strong bond between mother and baby. Many state that it is empowering watching their relationship with their baby grow during the nursing period!