Breastfeeding can be challenging. While it’s a natural process, that doesn’t make it an easy one. Many new moms struggle with getting the hang of it, and it can be frustrating and disappointing. Although a rough start to breastfeeding can lead many moms to throw in the towel, remember that there are very good reasons to push forward. You are making an excellent choice for your baby as well as for yourself. Check out this list if you need a reminder of why it’s worth every minute of the struggle.
1. Building Baby’s Immune System
Formula can’t give your baby the antibodies needed to stay healthy in the first few months of life. Until around 3 months old, your baby’s body isn’t yet capable of producing its own antibodies, so breast milk is the only source. Even beyond the first months, the incredible combination of nutrients found only in breast milk will continue to strengthen your baby’s immune system. This means fewer colds, infections and other illnesses to make your baby (and you) miserable. It also means that those illnesses your baby does contract will likely be over faster and less severe, as your baby’s body is better able to fight it off.
2. Protecting Baby’s Future Health
Breastfeeding has been connected with a lower risk of a number of conditions later in life. Breastfed babies are less likely to obese, and less likely to be diagnosed with diabetes. They have a lower incidence of asthma, allergies and other respiratory issues. Breast milk has also been connected with a lower risk of childhood leukemia.
3. Providing Your Baby with the Perfect Nutrition
Breast milk is not just the perfect baby food; it’s the perfect food for your baby. Every woman produces breast milk that is designed specifically for her own baby’s needs. The balance of nutrition and composition changes over time, meeting the ever-changing needs of your baby’s growing body. This is something formula just isn’t capable of doing. While formula is one size fits all, breast milk is tailored perfectly for the baby it is being made to feed.
4. Protecting Your Health
The newest research indicates that breastfeeding isn’t only beneficial to the baby. Mothers who breastfeed have a lower chance of both breast and ovarian cancer. It also encourages postpartum weight loss, and research shows that not only do breastfeeding mothers lose more weight; they also keep it off better than non-breastfeeding mothers. Despite previous concerns about calcium being leached from the bones of breastfeeding mothers, the newest evidence suggests that breastfeeding actually strengthens bones and results in a lower chance of osteoporosis later in life.
5. Keeping Your Budget in Check
Have you looked at the price of formula recently? It’s expensive, and it adds up fast. Not only does breast milk save you a lot of money on formula, but also on bottles, nipples, washing and sterilizing equipment and probably on laundry too – formula spit up tends to stain while breast milk spit up doesn’t.
Whenever you feel like breastfeeding is just too hard, remember all of these important reasons to carry on. You are doing something incredible for your baby and for yourself, and you will see the benefits for many years to come. Although there may be hurdles to overcome as you settle in to breastfeeding, they will soon be a thing of the past. These benefits however, will last a lifetime.