Choosing between breastmilk and formula is a personal decision, and either can be a good choice depending on your family’s specific circumstances. If you’ve decided to breastfeed, you should know that there are a lot of benefits that come with breastfeeding, both for you and for Baby.
Breast milk fits your baby’s needs
Breast milk contains all the nutrients babies need for healthy development. It also contains the antibodies to protect them as their immature immune systems develop, and help them fight against common childhood illnesses like the common cold, diarrhea, and pneumonia.
Breastfeeding takes fewer supplies
Breastfeeding can take time and practice, but once you get the hang of it, it requires less of an operation than formula feeding. You don’t have to sterilize any equipment, measure and mix formula, or warm bottles up before feeding.
Breast milk is easier for babies to digest
Formula is usually made from cow’s milk, so it’s not as easy for babies to digest. Breast milk, on the other hand, is easier on babies’ stomachs.
Breast milk protects babies from illness
According to the U.S. Dept of Health and Human Services and the World Health Organization, breastfed babies have lower rates of asthma, childhood leukemia, childhood obesity, ear infections, diarrhea and vomiting, lower respiratory infections, SIDS, and type 2 diabetes.
Breastfeeding can help you bond with Baby
The skin-to-skin contact that comes from breastfeeding stimulates the release of oxytocin, which is a “bonding” hormone that stimulates breast milk flow and can help you and Baby feel closer to one another. Mothers who breastfeed also have lower rates of postpartum depression.
Breastfeeding is cheaper
It costs money to buy formula and supplies, and these aren’t cheap. On the other hand, you really only need two things to breastfeed: you and Baby.
Breastfeeding might help you lose pregnancy weight
This doesn’t apply to every woman, but because breastfeeding burns calories (approximately 400 calories per day), some women find that breastfeeding helps them lose their pregnancy weight. According to a statement from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, women who breastfed exclusively for over three months lost more weight than women who didn’t breastfeed.
Breastfeeding helps mothers stay healthy
Women who breastfeed tend to have lower rates of type 2 diabetes, certain types of breast cancer, and ovarian cancer.
In the formula-vs-breast milk debate, there’s no one right or wrong answer, but if you’ve decided to breastfeed, there are some pretty undeniable benefits associated with that choice! If you have trouble breastfeeding, support is out there. Your doctor or Baby‘s pediatrician may be able to help you figure out what’s going on, or may be able to refer you to a lactation consultant, or provide other resources you might need.
- “Why breastfeeding is important.” Womenshealth.gov. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Jul 21 2014. Web.
- Alicia Dermer. “A Well-Kept Secret: Breastfeeding’s Benefit to Mothers.” llli.org. La Leche League International, Jun 28 2016. Web.
- “What are the benefits of breastfeeding?” nichd.nih.gov. National Institutes of Health, 2015. Web.