When you’re a new mom, it can be easy to focus on the stresses and challenges that come along with a brand new baby – like how it can feel like you are breastfeeding all…the…time. And that’s why it’s so important to remember all of the incredible things that come along with breastfeeding. From little perks to major benefits, we’ve rounded up just 10 of our favorite things about breastfeeding:
1. It’s convenient. Notice we didn’t say “easy!” Breastfeeding can be challenging – especially in the beginning – but once you get the hang of it, there’s no denying how convenient it is. Middle of the night feedings just mean opening your eyes and lifting your shirt. It doesn’t get much more manageable than that!
2. It gives you a reason to just be. Babies are hard work. But breastfeeding can give you a brief reprieve from the hustle and bustle of new mom life. Whether you’re nursing your sweet little one at home, or pumping at work, those 20 minutes are just yours. You can spend time simply staring at your baby wondering how you created something so, so perfect. Or you can use a work pump session as a relaxing moment away from the demands of your job.
3. It gives your body a greater purpose. After giving birth, your body can feel unrecognizable and leave you longing for your pre-baby body. But breastfeeding can ease some of that discomfort by giving you a reason to love it again. After all, you’re providing 100 percent of your baby’s nutrition straight from that beautiful, strong, and amazing body.
4. It’s cheap. Outside of a breast pump, bottles, and various storage supplies, breastfeeding is virtually free. And when compared with the cost of formula, breastfeeding can save you anywhere from $1,000 to $4,000 each year.
5. It can help you lose weight. In the first three to 12 months postpartum, your body burns between 300-500 calories a day producing breast milk. For many moms, this can mean an increase in weight loss without any additional exercise.
6. It can make you feel good. The feelings of euphoria that sometimes come with breastfeeding due to the release of the hormone oxytocin can combat some of those normal feelings of stress and anxiety that come with the arrival of a new baby. Oxytocin also helps you bond with your baby.
7. The poo. Oddly, babies who are exclusively breast fed have less stinky poop than their formula-fed (and solid eating) counterparts. And we count that as a win.
8. Lots of snuggle time. Regardless of if you’re exclusively nursing, exclusively pumping, or a combination of both, the time you spend with your baby during feedings is reason enough to keep at it. Because there’s nothing quite as sweet as holding them close and hearing those sweet little sounds they make when eating.
9. It’s built-in protection against illnesses. Breast milk contains antibodies, enzymes, and white blood cells that protect your baby from viral, bacterial, and parasitic infections and illnesses during breastfeeding. These benefits may even continue after your baby is weaned.
10. It’s an achievement! There’s no doubt there will be challenges during your journey, but no matter how long you breastfeed – a day, a month, a year – you should be proud of your achievement.
Moms – what would you add to the list? Share in the comments below.