Aside from being the optimal nutrition source for infants (which readily adapts to their nutritional and immunological needs) breastfeeding has tons of other kind of benefits for both mom and baby.
Here are just five of the many ways breastfeeding is good for the whole family:
Breastfeeding reduces the risk of cancer in both mom and baby. Breastfeeding has been shown to reduce risk of breast cancer in the mother, and the benefit increases along with the duration of breastfeeding.
The longer you breastfeed, the lower your risk of developing cancer.
Breastfeeding also reduces the risk of the child developing a childhood cancer such as leukemia. With its amazing cancer-fighting power, breastmilk is the ultimate medicine for you and your baby!
Also known as the love hormone, oxytocin is released in the body when we're engaging in activities of connection with those we love: birth, breastfeeding, hugging, sex... even during family dinner. Oxytocin reduces anxiety and produces feelings of calm, contentment, security, and attachment. Oxytocin is released during breastfeeding, and it feels great!
Breastfeeding aids in infant brain development. Breastfed babies have been shown to have higher IQs than infants fed milk substitutes, and studies have shown that children who were breastfed do better in school than children who were not (even after controlling for other influencing factors). What's more, the intellectual benefits increase the longer the child is breastfed—another great reason to consider nursing your child until she weans on her own!
Breastfeeding provides optimal time for both mom and baby to bond with each other. As baby grows older, nursing times allow for moments of connection during our hectic days. Particularly as baby becomes more mobile and active over time and grows into a toddler (and beyond!), sitting down to nurse can provide much-needed downtime for both mom and baby.
Built-in First Aid Kit
Breastmilk is packed with antibodies, so it's ideal for building baby's immune system. In addition to its benefits for baby internally, breastmilk can be used externally to treat many common ailments: diaper rash, acne, and pink eye (to name just a few). And it's not just for baby, either! I've used breastmilk to heal cuts and burns on myself, and to help treat pink eye in others. I even wrote a whole post about the many alternative uses for breastmilk. You may be surprised at all the ways breastmilk can be utilized!
What other benefits of breastfeeding can you think of? Share your ideas in the comments!
This gathering of breastfeeding support comes in response to the Weston A. Price Foundation’s (WAPF) continued stance on breastfeeding, which we all have a great concern with. While the WAPF does support breastfeeding as the best option for feeding babies, it does so with a caveat: Breastfeeding mothers must follow the strict tenants of the WAPF diet and mothers who are not following their nutrient dense diet recommendations would be better off feeding their babies homemade formula (based on the WAPF recipe). In addition, they are outspoken against using donor milk.
The bloggers sharing posts today are concerned with the confusion this may cause breastfeeding mothers. Not only does research support the myriad of health benefits of breast milk for babies regardless of the mother’s diet, it also outlines additional benefits of breastfeeding such as better bonding, deeper trust, and a long list of other emotional benefits. And let’s not forget the health benefits for moms!
We will have a complete list of all the blog posts published today (as part of this Blog Party) in a separate post on Sunday, March 31st. We welcome you to join this blog party by linking up your own new and previously published posts which focus on any positive aspect of breastfeeding and breast milk. Please enter using the Linky Tool which can be found at Hybrid Rasta Mama, Cooking Traditional Foods, Whole New Mom, Alternative Parenting, or African Babies Don’t Cry. (All links will be subject to moderation. Any link not following the spirit of the Blog Party will be removed.