Benefits of Breastfeeding

Hi readers!
I'm taking part in a 'Keep Britain Breastfeeding' Blog Scavenger Hunt this month, read more about it here!





When I was deciding how to feed my child, Eric, I was about 90% sure I wanted to breastfeed, purely because it seems natural to me.  You have boobs, they're there to feed your child! There is also no vegan formula milk available in the UK so I was really determined to be able to breastfeed so I could raise him vegan from the start.  The 10% uncertainty about whether to breastfeed was that I wasn't really sure how to actually do it, and was worried I wouldn't be able to. If this sounds like you, try not to worry, it is very, very rare that someone is physically unable to breastfeed with the right advice, support and lots of practice, so don't let that influence your decision! I'll be writing a post about the basics of breastfeeding and how to get the support you need in a couple of weeks.  I'm aware that people who've chosen to (or felt they needed to) bottle feed can feel pressured or criticised by anything pro-breastfeeding, but I feel that the aim of the Keep Britain Breastfeeding Scavenger Hunt is to share experiences, help mothers make informed decisions, build confidence in their ability to breast feed if they choose to and hopefully change society's perception of breastfeeding.  If you are deciding how to feed your baby, and aren't sure whether to use formula or to breastfeed, read on for the positive benefits of breastfeeding...





Benefits for Your Baby's Health:
  • Your milk contains antibodies which help build your baby's immunity and reduce illness.
  • Breastfeeding reduces the risk of cot death.
  • Breastfed babies have a lower risk of obesity or being overweight or having high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, eczema, type 2 diabetes, leukaemia or asthma later in life.
  • Breast milk is custom-made by your body to contain the exact nutrients that your own baby needs at different times.  The breast milk composition changes day by day and feed by feed, to meet your child's changing needs.
  • Colostrum, your first milk, helps "seal" newborn baby's intestines which are permeable, which prevents harmful substances from penetrating the gut.
  • Colostrum contains growth factors and immune components that start to build your baby's immune system.
  • Colostrum has a mildly laxative effect which helps your baby pass meconium.  This reduces the risk of excess bilirubin causing jaundice. 
  • Breast milk has the perfect combination of proteins, fats, carbohydrate, and fluids that babies need.
  • The protein in breast milk is more easily and completely digested by babies than the protein in formula milk.
  • The cow's milk in formula milk can cause allergies and intestinal bleeding in babies, whereas they can't be allergic or intolerant to your breast milk. 
  • Breast milk is your baby's natural diet
  • Studies have shown breastfed children are more intelligent


Benefits for Bonding With Your Baby:
  • Oxytocin, the 'love' hormone, is released when you breastfeed which helps bonding and is also helpful if you have PND.
  • It's special quiet time with your child, when you are really in tune with each other.  Eric just fees once in the morning and once before bed now, and his night feed is my favourite part of the day, when we're all snuggly and cosy together. 
  • Feeding your child yourself feels very rewarding, you can feel proud of your body and what it can do.
  • It feels nice.
  • Eric strokes my skin when he feeds, which apparently babies do to try to make you love them even more. Awww!
  • It soothes and calms your child when they cry or are ill.
  • Your baby's natural reflex is to 'root' for the breast, so breastfeeding fulfils these natural instincts.


Convenience:

  • Your milk is always there at the perfect temperature.
  • You can't run out if you forget to go to the shop.
  • There is no preparation time, your milk is ready right away as soon as your baby is hungry and cries.
  • If you breast-feed, it is impossible to make any mistakes with the milk you give your baby.
  • It's free!



 
Benefits For Mummy:

  • Breastfeeding helps you lose weight after birth.
  • Breastfeeding is 'forced' relaxation!, where you can sit down, relax and enjoy one-to-one time with your child and have a cup of tea without worrying about anything else on your 'to do' list as nothing else is more important!
  • Breastfeeding reduces the mother's risk of developing breast cancer, ovarian cancer, type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure.
  • It can make your breasts bigger!
  • Breastfeeding a newborn burns an extra 500 calories per day which means that you could tuck into a nice, big piece of (vegan!) chocolate cake, which contains about 300 calories, and still lose weight!
  • Breastfeeding helps your uterus to contract after birth and to shrink back to it's normal size (which is especially important if, like me, you had a postpartum haemmorhage)
  • Breastfeeding is what your breasts were designed for!


Ethics:
  • Breast feeding is good for the environment.
  • There is no waste.
  • Breast feeding is vegan so it's kind to animals.


There are so many great reasons to try breastfeeding! If you're still not sure, why not try just breastfeeding once and seeing how you go? Or for one day, or one week? Your baby would get some great benefits and you might find that it's the right choice for you and you really enjoy it, and want to continue.  It is entirely your decision and you should feel happy and comfortable whatever you choose, so you can relax and enjoy your baby. 


For more Scavenger Hunt blog posts about the benefits of breastfeeding check out the following blogs:


Fi Peacock
Attachment Mummy
Mummy Constant
Radical Ramblings
Mama Geek



And if you're preparing for a new arrival don't forget to check out the Natural Nursery website. They have donated a prize for the Keep Britain Breastfeeding Scavenger Hunt Grand Prize!

Please complete the following Rafflecopter to enter the competition for the Keep Britain Breastfeeding Grand Prize.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

11 comments:

  1. There are some benefits here that I hadn't thought of. I also love that breastfeeding is environmentally friendly. My favourite benefit is getting a chance to sit down and forget the housework!

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  2. I don't have a favourite breastfeeding benefit, as it's the biologically normal (i.e. default) way to feed your baby, so all the things people mention aren't benefits, they're just the norm. And my daughter deserves no less than that basic standard :)

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  3. My biggest benefit is time, time to play and have fun and sleep all because I breastfeed rather than formula feed. It means that big sis gets my time as she needs even when baby brother is hungry

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  4. I love the bond it brings between mother & baby - when you look down into your your baby's eyes and see him looking up at you adoringly - it's magical :)

    @hannahmdy

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  5. I'd never thought of breastfeeding as supporting women who are vegan or vegetarion etc. So a nice other benefit to pass on to anyone I might talk to thanks

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  6. not having to spend a fortune on formula!

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  7. I think the environmental aspect of breastfeeding is often forgotten. Thanks for bringing that up.

    I love that it's completely non-consumerist too.

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  8. Its brilliant because you are not only doing the best for your child and yourself, you are also always prepared, you cant forget anything, you cant get the temperature or mixture wrong and you dont have to walk around the house when you are half-asleep to get a night feed set up.

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  9. I love the nutritional benefits for your little one aswell as the health benefits for you both it is definately priceless!
    I also love that special time you get together.

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  10. Definately the bonding, my baby boy is due in 3 weeks and I can't wait to start breastfeeding.

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  11. Thank you so much for sharing this informative post. I would understand the benefits of breastfeeding with the help of your blog,Thanks again.

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