A note from Julie: The decision to breastfeed should be made ahead of time. This article describes some of the benefits. I breastfed my first son and am now going on to breastfeed our most recent addition to our family. It can be physically and emotionally exhausting at times but feel it is well worth it. It is especially tough for woman that work as not all companies are as supportive as they can be, but that is another story. Comments are welcome and we would be interested in hearing why other people made the decision to breastfeed or not.
The benefits of breast feeding to babies whose mothers are able to nurse them are numerous. Babies receive essential nutrients as well as antibodies that have not been successfully reproduced in any formula from their mother’s breast milk. Babies also have the correct jaw development through the process of breast feeding, which benefits them throughout life.
Benefit To The Mother
The benefits of breast feeding apply not only the nursing baby, but also the nursing mother. First, mothers have much less to spend their time on when breast feeding. They do not have to sterilize and mix bottles for the baby. They do not have to spend money on expensive baby formula, which is a financial benefit.
Another benefit of breast feeding is that the mother has an easier time losing the pregnancy weight. Mothers who are lactating burn more calories than those who are not. Also, breast feeding is a benefit to the mother in encouraging the uterus to contract, eventually returning to its pre-pregnancy size.
When considering the benefits of breast feeding to the mother, it is important to consider the benefit of rest after birth. Many mothers find it difficult to take the time they need to reset and recuperate after the exhausting job of birthing a baby, but nursing forces the mother to at least sit down for a few moments and spend time with her new baby. Some mothers resent this, as it cuts into their very busy schedules, but this time of rest is necessary to allow the body to heal after labor. Nursing forces mothers to take the time to rest.
Breast feeding totes the benefit of being a very natural form of birth control. Of course, nursing is not a 100 percent effective form of birth control, but nursing moms are very unlikely to ovulate, making it much more difficult for a nursing mom to get pregnant too soon after delivery. Those who do not want to get pregnant should ensure that they don’t by using an alternative form of birth control, and there are many hormonal birth control options that are safe for nursing moms and babies.
Benefits To Both
Studies are being done currently on the psychological benefits of breast feeding for both mother and baby. Breast feeding demands that a baby be held close and warm while being fed, and the distance from a mother’s face to the nursing baby’s eyes is the exact distance they can see at birth. Nursing provides a crucial opportunity for mother and baby to bond. The mother who may suffer some baby blues must put aside her feelings in order to feed her baby, which is a fundamental instinct for most mothers, no matter how depressed they are. This helps to deter the onset of postpartum depression for a lot of mothers. Babies are comforted by their mother’s presence, and the mother is encouraged in her ability to care for her new baby.
A note from Kevin: Hello, this is a dads perspective. I am a proponent and supporter of breastfeeding. Dads can feel a bit isolated at times and may not feel they are bonding as closely with their baby as they should. That will change as they grow. Breastfeeding offers a child a lot of security and love and has a lot of health benefits as the article points out. I have asthma and allergies and wanted to give my children any advantage I could so they would not go through the health issues I have gone through. The ultimate decision was my wifes and I love her for it and support her wholehartedly. I hope some dads will read this article and be a part of this important decision. A decision of love.