The Benefits of Breastfeeding for Mom and Baby
Breastfeeding is one of the most important steps in the care of a newborn. It is critical for the health of both the mother and her baby. Breastfeeding has numerous benefits which help to ensure that both the mother and her child develop and remain healthy.
Benefits of breastfeeding for mom
- Reduced Risk of Pregnancy Complications: Nursing mothers are at a decreased risk of developing certain pregnancy complications. This includes preeclampsia, a dangerous condition that occurs in pregnant women and puts the health of both mother and baby in serious jeopardy.
- Shorter Recovery Time: Nursing mothers have been found to have faster recovery times following birth than those who do not nurse. This is due to the hormones produced during breastfeeding, which help the uterus to contract and return more quickly to its pre-pregnancy size.
- Weight Loss: Nursing requires additional calories, and as a result helps moms to lose the baby weight more rapidly. This can be of particular use for women who were already struggling with maintaining a healthy weight prior to the pregnancy.
- Emotional Support: Breastfeeding can be a very therapeutic experience for a mother, as the hormones produced during breastfeeding can provide the nursing mother with a sense of calm and relaxation. Researchers have also found that these hormones can raise levels of oxytocin, a hormone that promotes bonding.
Benefits of breastfeeding for baby
- Nutrition: Breastmilk contains antibodies, which help to protect the baby from infection and illness. Studies have also demonstrated that breastfed babies have higher IQs than those who were formula-fed.
- Immune System Support: Nursing babies are more likely to develop stronger immune systems, as breast milk helps to protect against illnesses and infections. This can be especially beneficial for premature babies, who are particularly at risk of developing infections.
- Gut Health: Breastmilk contains enzymes which help to protect the baby’s digestive system. Babies who are breastfed have been discovered to have improved gut health, due to both the immune elements of breastmilk and the fact that nursing reduces the presence of unwanted bacteria in the baby’s body.
- Bonding: Nursing creates an intense bond between mother and child, and helps babies to feel secure and loved. This can help to build an extended trust between mother and child, even after the weaning process is finished.
The many benefits of breastfeeding for both the mother and her baby make it an invaluable tool for fostering healthy development in the first months and years of a child’s life. If you are expecting a baby, and are considering whether or not to nurse, it is worthwhile to explore the many benefits which are available to both you and your baby.