Reasons why you should consider breastfeeding
Why should you breastfeed? Why not just go with formula? Does breastfeeding offer anything to mothers and their babies that formula doesn’t?
Let’s start by reminding parents that the method of feeding their baby will always be their own choice, but being informed with all the important information can help you make the best decision for you and your family.
Although formula is an excellent alternative to breastfeeding when a parent can’t or prefers not to breastfeed, it can unfortunately not compete with its counterpart. Although formula offers the nutrition needed for a baby to grow and even thrive, it does not offer any additional benefits like breastfeeding does.
So, what exactly does breastfeeding offer to you and your baby that’s unique to formula?
1) Optimal nutrition
Breastfeeding is not a one size fits all, it offers your child optimal nutrition. It contains the perfect amounts and bioavailability of vitamins, minerals, water, fats, protein and carbohydrates. It can even change to suit your individual baby’s needs.
Fun fact: breastmilk can completely sustain your child for the first 6 months of life, meaning your child needs nothing but breastmilk, and it still provides most of a child’s needed nutrition in the first year. Not only that, but it will still be a very important source of nutrition in the first few years of life. Breastmilk will never lose its nutritional value and benefits. It also comes in very handy when you have a sick child or a child who may be going through a phase of not wanting to eat.
2) Active and passive immunity
Your breastmilk contains a lot of amazing “ingredients” that help protect your baby’s health. Things like Lactoferrin not only helps with things like iron absorption, but it also helps protect babies from infection caused by bacteria and other microorganisms. Breastmilk also contains all of the Immunoglobulins known as antibodies. So, when you or your baby gets sick, your body will start producing antibodies for your breastmilk to help protect your baby from that specific illness.
Breastmilk itself also contains many antibacterial and healing properties. Which is why it works so well for ear and eye infections, sore and damaged nipples and even things like eczema.
Breastmilk protects your child against a range of infections and illnesses, including:
Lowering the risk of respiratory and other infections, gastrointestinal issues, asthma, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, allergies, otitis media, obesity, NEC (Necrotizing Enterocolitis) in premature infants, SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome), and childhood cancer and so much more.
Studies have also shown consistent neurodevelopmental outcomes of breastfed children in comparison to formula fed children have also found overall higher IQ’S, better school performance and higher income in breastfed children, better parent child bonding, independence later in life and so much more.
Breastfeeding also protects the mother against a range of health issues, including reducing the risk of postpartum blood loss, reduced risk of postpartum depression, rheumatoid arthritis, cardiovascular disease, breast and ovarian cancers, in addition to many other benefits to the mother.
Fun fact: for every 12 months that you breastfeed your baby for, you have a 4% reduced risk of breast cancer.
3) Financial benefits
Well of course this has to mentioned, who doesn’t like to save money? For some people who may be struggling financially, this is an incredibly or even the most important factor on why breastfeeding is so incredibly important.
Breastfeeding is free, no weekly stock, no bottles or any of those extra accessories, it’s completely free. Yes, sometimes you may need some support from an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC), but this is usually only once, and it will still be much cheaper than what formula would’ve cost you.
So, the money you would’ve spend on formula, is now yours to save and use on much more important things that you may need.
It’s been proven that breastfed babies are overall much healthier than what they would’ve been if they weren’t breastfed, so that’s reduced costs on you and the healthcare system too.
4) Eco friendly
Who doesn’t want a clean planet for us and our children? Well, here’s how you can do your part for our planet. Breastfeeding is 100% eco-friendly. It’s not being manufactured in factories and then transported by trucks, all things that pollute the air. It has no containers, plastic scoops and all the other accessories that further pollutes the earth. It’s just you, your breasts and your baby, completely eco-friendly.
5) Always available and easily accessible
No matter where you are in the world or what’s going on in the world, whether there’s a natural disaster or a war, breastmilk will be available and ready. There can also be no contamination or recalls on breastfeeding, leaving parents with a shortage of their babies’ milk. Breastmilk is safe and easily accessible. There’s no need to worry about a clean water supply or electricity to prepare it (in fact, it’s ready to go whenever baby needs it) and there’s also no need to worry about accessories or cleaning the accessories. It’s just you, your breasts and your baby.
6) It’s safer to bedshare when breastfeeding
Professor James K Mkenna, an anthropologist and the owner and founder of The Mother-Baby Sleep Behavior Laboratory, has been studying the effects of bedsharing and how it positively affects breastfeeding and the mother and baby bond. He has found that breastfeeding mothers tend to be much more attentive towards their babies and their sleep cycles and early hunger cues. He has found numerous benefits of bedsharing, especially when you’re breastfeeding.
7) Improves the mother and baby bond
It’s not just about the mode of feeding, but it’s more about the physical touch and skin to skin that comes with frequent breastfeeding and thus frequent physical contact that enhances the bond between a mother and her child. The act of breastfeeding itself releases the hormone oxytocin in both the mother and the child during each feeding. As we know, oxytocin isn’t called the love hormone for nothing. Oxytocin is the hormone responsible for triggering feelings of love and protection, and this is why we tend to bond so deeply with our babies.
Although formula offers your baby all of the nutrients they need, breastmilk offers a wide range of other benefits on top of that.
Remember, if you choose to breastfeed and you need help and support, it’s always available. Never hesitate to get any help or support that you may feel you need.