Pregnancy can be stressful and difficult for many women. Negative side effects and soaring hormones are hard to cope with, and many women can’t wait for it all to be over. After your baby is born, breastfeeding is a walk in the park by comparison. Breastfeeding really is the best and most natural way to feed your baby. There are numerous benefits of breastfeeding both for you and the baby.
The Benefits of Breastfeeding for Mom and Baby
Benefits for Baby
Boost Immune System
Multiple scientific studies from all over the world have shown that babies who are breastfed are less likely to catch stomach viruses, respiratory illnesses and ear infections. This is because immunity and resistance to infection is passed from your body through the milk you produce. When you breastfeed your baby, your body secretes a substance called immunoglobulin A. Found in large quantities in colostrum (your first milk), this substance guards against bacteria and germs by forming a protective layer on mucous membranes in your baby’s nose, throat and intestines.
Help with Allergies
Scientists believe that the immunity that is passed through breastfeeding also help prevent allergic reactions to food by producing a layer of protection in your baby’s intestinal tract. Formula fed babies often lack this layer of protection and are more vulnerable to intestinal inflammation and allergies, which can lead to other health issues.
Benefits for Mom and Baby
You may be surprised to find that your milk contains tiny traces of morphine. Don’t panic it’s not dangerous! It is perfectly natural, and scientists think it plays an important part in forming a bond between mother and child. Whilst breastfeeding your body releases the pleasure hormone oxytocin, making you feel relaxed and happy. Your baby also gets a dose of morphine which has the same effect, meaning that both of you feel good whilst breastfeeding. This feeling becomes associated with your connection together, and strengthens mother – child bonding.
Benefits for Mom
Reduces Stress Level and Risk of Postpartum Depression
A recent study of the National Institute of Health found that women who didn’t breastfeed or stopped breastfeeding early had a higher chance of developing postpartum depression. It is thought that this could be linked to the hormone oxytocin which is released whilst breastfeeding, which has been found to lower blood pressure and lower stress.
Reduces Risk of some Types of Cancer
Studies have found that women who breastfeed longer are less likely to develop breast and ovarian cancer. Nursing for at least a year appears to have the most proactive effect in preventing breast cancer. Whilst it is not definite how breast feeding helps prevent cancer, it is thought to be because of structural changes in breast tissue. Lactation also supresses oestrogen production which has been linked to ovarian and breast cancer.
Helps in losing pregnancy weight
Most women will gain weight during pregnancy. This fatty tissue is made to protect your body during pregnancy, and also to ensure you will have enough fat stores to support the baby through breast feeding once it is born. Breast milk is high in fat in order to ensure your baby grows and gains weight as quickly as possible. Most women find that they lose weight remarkably quickly when breastfeeding.
About our Guest Blogger
Beth Fisher is a family blogger. She breastfed her two children, and chose her nursing bras from http://www.totallyblooming.co.uk/.
“Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net”.