In our modern lifestyles we no longer settle for following suit and doing what everyone has done before us. With constant research updating our ideas we like to move with the times and decide for ourselves which brand has the safest nursery furniture or what method of feeding will benefit our child the most. It’s not about whether breast or formula is best, but what you feel is right for your child. Here’s a few benefits to breastfeeding for both mum and baby that may help you decide what method you prefer for your family.
It adapts to your infant’s needs
Sissy Taufika, from Absolute Potential Health & Performance, is a functional nutritionist and recent first time mum who is passionate about supporting both mum and bub wellbeing. As she explains, breast milk benefits your baby by adapting to their diet needs as they grow.
“Breast milk from a healthy, nourished mama, contains not only essential macronutrients to support bub’s growing body, but also important immune-boosting factors, nutrients to support optimal brain development and compounds that protect babies from pain and inflammation. It also changes its composition: from the first antibody-rich colostrum to a liquid higher in carbohydrates and fats that aid nervous system development. Simultaneously, breast milk matches your bub’s developing digestive system, making it an ideal food! The key to good breast milk is mum’s diet so ensuring you eat nutritious food is essential for your bub to get the best start to life.”
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It can reduce your baby’s risk of disease
Breastfeeding in infancy has been shown to help reduce the likelihood of many common diseases. These include:
- Colds, ear and throat infections
- Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)
- Allergic diseases such as asthma and eczema
- Coeliac disease
For some diseases risks can be reduced by up to 50 percent. These protective effects are also sustained into adulthood, which suggests breastfeeding is beneficial for much longer than infancy.
It can help mum lose the baby weight
It’s not a magic pill that means you won’t need to focus on a proper diet and exercise. In fact in the first 3 months you may find you put on weight as your body is still learning how many extra calories it needs to hold onto to adequately produce milk. But once the hormones balance out and your body gets used to these changes, usually around 3-6 months, many women experience an increase in weight loss. Often losing more weight than mothers who did not breastfeed.
It can act as a natural contraceptive
When you’ve just made it through one pregnancy we doubt you’re ready to start that journey again soon. If you decide to breastfeed then it’s important to steer clear of all hormone based contraceptives, such as the pill. The good news is breastfeeding itself has been found to be 98-99 effective as birth control, but there are a few rules to the method. It will only work if:
- You are less than 6 months postpartum
- You are breastfeeding exclusively (no bottles, formula or pacifiers)
- You are breastfeeding round the clock - nights included
- Your period has not resumed
It’s not a guarantee so if you’re really not willing to risk another pregnancy then it’s best to double up on methods. But it’s definitely a benefit to mums that using your body’s natural feeding method tells it not to prepare for baby number 2 just yet.
Knowing these benefits may help you decide when it comes to debating breastfeeding or not, especially in the first few months. If you’re now thinking of breastfeeding then look out for helpful baby products that make feeding time an easy time. Accessories such as nursing pillows can support your body while it nourishes another.