14 Reasons to Breastfeed Your Baby

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I am in no way trying to make any mom out there feel guilty about her choice on how to feed her baby.  I know that there are a number of situations out there where breastfeeding may be nearly impossible for one reason or another.  I also know that some moms may have a difficult time  for various reasons with prolonged breastfeeding.  But, as a mom of three, a childbirth doula, and a natural living advocate I highly recommend breastfeeding for as long as possible for any mom that is able to do so.  There are so many great reasons to breastfeed baby and it is more those moms who don’t even try for convenience reasons that make me a little bit sad.  Although I don’t condemn moms by any means who may not breastfeed for one reason or another I do require clients of mine to at least try, and at least plan on breastfeeding for as long as they are able.

I know that breastfeeding can be a hot button issue with moms.  Many moms can led to feel like they are less of a mom if they can’t breastfeed as long as others.  Hopefully, my explanation above can avoid any feelings of guilt.  So, let’s move past the guilt stuff and just get to the facts.  Here are the reasons that I feel as though you should at least attempt to breastfeed.  It really is best for your baby.

1.  It helps mom and baby bond more quickly. – From the time of birth skin to skin contact between mom and baby (or dad and baby) is so important.  Skin to skin contact helps develop baby’s brain as well as strengthen bonds.  When pairing skin to skin contact with breastfeeding mom and baby are able to bond more quickly an often feel more comfortable together.

2. It helps mom loose pregnancy weight – I just love this.  I have always been more hungry breastfeeding than during pregnancy.  I also happen to crave more breastfeeding.  You need many many calories to breastfeed.  Yeah for natural weight loss when you can still eat lots!

3. Helps the uterus shrink back to its original size – Not only good for baby, breastfeeding is so good for mama too.  Breastfeeding can also help in prevention of hemorrhage after birth.

4. Nutritional make up changes as Baby grows – Unlike formula the composition of breast milk actually changes as baby grows older to suit their needs.  How cool is that?

5. Easily digestible – Even though there are many babies that are sensitive to some foods that mama eats, breastmilk is made to be easily digestible for infants.  It is made for their little tummies that are slowly developing to handle solid foods.

6. Breastfed Infants have a higher IQ – Studies show that breastfed infants do have a high IQ than babies that are not breastfed.

7. Breast milk passes moms antibodies to baby reducing the risk of sickness in infants.  There are ALL  KINDS of sicknesses that breast milk is known to prevent and significantly reduce the chances of.  I won’t even take the time to list them all here.  Just trust me on this one.

8. Breastfeeding can be a natural contraceptive – You do have to be careful with this one.  All moms are different, but for many moms when you are breastfeeding your baby and not supplementing with formula it often keeps your body from ovulating and thus helping you to stay infertile.

9. Breastmilk is Free!  Formula is so expensive.  How great is breastmilk that it costs you nothing!

10.  Spit up stains are easier to clean.

11. Poop from breastfeed babies doesn’t smell bad. 

12. Breastfeeding lowers the risk of SIDS.

13. Breastfeeding reduces the mother’s chance of getting breast cancer. 

14. Breastfed babies have less chance of being obese.

If you do desire to breastfeed your baby and are having a hard time, please call a lactation consultant for help and don’t delay.  If you get the proper help early on you will be so happy that you did!  When troubleshooting breastfeeding problems with a professional moms are often able to continue breastfeeding when they otherwise thought they might have to quit.  Feel free to contact me if you would like a referral!

About Becky


Becky is the HC Parent associate editor, green living guru, and healthy living expert. She is passionate about empowering others to educate themselves about their health choices. She is a local childbirth doula and loves pregnant mommies, bellies and babies. Becky keeps herself busy between her three children under four, blogging, and serving women in childbirth.


Comments

  1. When our children were small, I tried breast feeding them but they only got frustrated. The nose worked better.

  2. Candice says:

    Well, Dr Ezzo and Dr Bucknam, authors of the “Baby Wise” series would disagree with many of these. Like IQ, bonding, sickness, and obesity. I would like to see some stats or statics for some of the points. One should put the studies down to provide adaquete notation. I would ask other moms to carefully reaearch this info and read books (like Baby Wise) that provide a different perspective before jumping to some of these conclusions. No one, save God, is infalliable. And everything on the internet is not true.

    • Hi Candice,

      In an effort to keep the article length to a minimum I did omit notation. Many of the reasons that I made reference to in this article are from notable studies and are widely accepted reasons to in fact breastfeed your baby.

      As far as “Baby Wise” disagreeing with many of these, I guess I find it strange that you have made the effort to reference them as a breastfeeding authority. Dr. Ezzo and Dr. Bucknam are known for their sleep training as well as their deep dependence on rigid scheduling in the Baby Wise series. Although their book contains some notable information on breastfeeding, in my own opinion I wouldn’t make them my “go to” source on breastfeeding information. And, as a childbirth professional myself, on of the few that has loosely used the Baby Wise program with some of my own children I would highly discourage parents with a high type A personality to use the Baby Wise method at all. Baby Wise is extremely controversial. Although I do tend to agree with some of their parenting philosophies and believe that the program can be used safely if used extremely loosely, I also caution those who use it to make it as it as stated as parented directed and not parent dictated.

      I will quickly give references to the points that you stated so that you can research them for yourself:
      Bonding – Breastfeeding stimulates the release of oxytocin in the mother. This is a hormone that is responsible for a euphoric state. This same hormone that is released during sex is also responsible for emotional bonding. If you’d like research you can find some here…”Uvnas-Moberg, Eriksson: Breastfeeding: physiological, endocrine and behavioral adaptations caused by oxytocin and local neurogenic activity in the nipple and mammary gland.: Acta Paediatrica, 1996 May, 85(5):525-30

      IQ- There are several studies available on how breastfeeding can improve and infants IQ The most recent study done in New Zealand where 1,000 children were followed for over 18 years. The academic achievement of those breastfeed was above those that were formula fed. orwood and Fergusson, “Breastfeeding and Later Cognitive and Academic Outcomes”, Jan 1998 Pediatrics Vol. 101, No. 1

      Sickness – It is widely known that infants who are breastfed get sick much much less than infants that are not. I can speak from personal experience on this one. They can also build immunity from the mother’s milk. Koutras, A.K., “Fecal Secretory Immunoglobulin A in Breast Milk vs. Formula Feeding in Early Infancy”. J. Ped Gastro Nutr 1989.

      Obesity – http://www.sph.sc.edu/news/breastfeeding.htm

      I also would like to conclude with the fact that I don’t believe either Ezzo or Bucknam would disagree with the reasons stated above. I disagree that they would disagree with any of the research on breastfeeding. Ezzo and Bucknam don’t seem to be antibreastfeeding at all. They simply state information for moms that are not breastfeeding in their book. They simply recognize that some make other choices than breastfeeding. That doesn’t null the research that is out there.