6 amazing benefits of breastfeeding

Ideal nutrition aside, learn the positive effects nursing offers not just your baby, but for you, too!

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Hormones triggered by the baby’s birth, as well as by suckling, will cue your mammary glands to produce milk. That said, the size of a woman’s breasts — mostly determined by the amount of fatty tissue they contain — doesn’t affect the quantity of breastmilk produced.

Breast is best for your baby, but breastfeeding isn’t a bed of roses, as many mothers will tell you. While nursing has many benefits, it has its shares of woes as well — engorged breasts, clogged ducts, cracked nipples and sleepless nights.

However, mothers soldier on because they love these positive advantages that breastfeeding offers.

1. A closer connection with baby

Gazing into your baby’s eyes, having them skin to skin with you, stroking their cherubic soft cheeks… Mothers love forging a close bond with their infants. Also, they are thrilled to be the only person who can nourish their babies.

Breastmilk carries the necessary vitamins, fat and protein needed to build baby’s immunity and protect him from viruses, respiratory illnesses, ear infections.

2. Saves money

Formula milk is expensive. A tin of infant formula milk, which can set you back an average of $50 for 900g, probably only lasts a week. Think how much money mummy saves if she breastfeeds for six months!

3. Oh, so convenient

Unlike bottle-fed babies, nursing mums don’t need to wash and sterilise bottles and teats after every feed. On outings and even trips, they don’t need to bring along diaper bags filled with milk bottles and infant formula, or find hot water for the formula.

4. A healthier baby

Breastmilk carries the necessary vitamins, fat and protein needed to build baby’s immunity and protect him from viruses, respiratory illnesses, ear infections, plus, avoid diseases like diabetes, high cholesterol and high blood pressure. Breastmilk contains antibodies that formula milk can’t replicate. The most abundant antibody, immunoglobulin A (IgA), may help prevent allergies by protecting a baby’s intestinal tract.


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5. A healthier mother

According to research, women who have breastfed and who have an extended nursing journey have a lower risk of postpartum depression.

6. Helps you lose weight

Breastfeeding is said to burn 300 to 500 calories a day. A Danish study by the Centre for Health and Society, Institute of Preventive Medicine, found that the more a mother breastfeeds, the less weight she retains six months after giving birth.

Your body usually tries to meet your baby’s demand for breastmilk. When baby suckles, your prolactin levels increase to ensure the continued production of milk.

Signs you’re not producing enough milk

Most mothers produce enough sustenance for their babies, yet nursing mums often wonder if they have enough milk and how much baby is taking in. Signs that you’re not producing enough to meet your infant’s needs include.

* Baby not producing enough poop or pee Your baby’s diaper should be wet with pee each time you change it and he should have about five poopy diapers a day.

* Baby falls asleep when he nurses or is not feeding when he suckles If your baby gulps like a barracuda, you have nothing to worry about.

* No weight gain If he isn’t putting on weight despite feeding several times a day, he might not be getting enough milk.

* Fussing and crying after nursing If he suckles for long periods several times a day, and still fusses and cries after, he may still be hungry. Well-fed and full babies are usually content and sleepy after a good feed.

* Your milk supply drops Your body usually tries to meet your baby’s demand for breastmilk. When baby suckles, your prolactin levels increase to ensure the continued production of milk. If he nurses less or drops a feed, your milk production will decrease. Your ability to continue producing milk depends on how much milk he drains from your breast.

Ways to increase your breastmilk supply

1. Ensure the latch is correct.

2. Feed your baby on demand and regularly, usually about every two to three hours in the initial months. Do not go too long without breastfeeding.

3. At each feeding, allow your baby to feed from and empty both breasts.

4. To reduce nipple confusion, avoid supplementing with bottles of formula and limit pacifier use.

5. Consider using a breast pump to express breastmilk between feedings to build up your supply even more.

6. Keep yourself well hydrated and well nourished.

7. Get enough rest.

Photos: iStock

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