The benefits of breastfeeding your baby exclusively for the first six months of her life have been highly publicized. Most of us know that it is the healthiest thing for babies to eat, and that it helps their immune systems, among other things. However, what you might not know is that breast feeding also has a number of significant health benefits for moms. Here are some of the main ones:
- Breastfeeding your baby reduces your chances of postpartum hemorrhaging.
- Beast feeding mothers do not resume their typical menstrual cycle again as quickly as mothers who don’t breastfeed. Breastfeeding mothers often don’t have a menstrual period for several months, whereas bottle feeding moms typically start menstruating again in 6 to 8 weeks. The natural benefit for breast feeding mothers is a form of natural birth control, helping to space pregnancies.
- Mothers who breast feed are less likely to be anemic. This is in part due to the delayed return of menstruation.
- The metabolic processes involved in breastfeeding are, frankly, good exercise. You will burn between 200 and 500 calories per day lactating. Alternately, you could swim 30 laps in a swimming pool, which offers about the same calorie burn.
- Breastfeeding has been shown to have benefits for mothers with diabetic conditions.
- Breastfeeding now can stave off osteoporosis later. Studies have shown that women who breast fed their children have stronger, denser bones than women who did not breast feed children.
- Certain cancers, notably ovarian and breast cancer, seem to be less prevalent in women who have breast fed their children.
Of course, all of this says nothing of the emotional benefits of breastfeeding your baby. Studies have also shown that women are less likely to suffer from postpartum depression while breastfeeding their babies. Mothers also benefit from the unique closeness that breastfeeding offers moms and their babies. This often results in lower anxiety levels and enhanced feelings of connectedness between mother and child.
This also says nothing of the financial benefits of breast feeding. Not only do breast feeding mothers save the expense of formula, but studies show that they may also save their families a good deal of money in medical bills, as babies who are breast fed tend to become sick considerably less often.