Before I was even pregnant with Phillip I knew I wanted to breast feed.
There didn’t seem to be any other option.
I grew up with aunts who breastfeed and once my family generation started having children, my cousins also breast fed. I remember helping my cousin express milk from her breast into a cup because she had become engorged (I held the cup, in case you were wondering).
Whether instinctively or sub-consciously I knew that breast milk was the healthier option for my baby. During my pregnancy I started to look a bit deeper into the health benefits for baby and mom while breastfeeding.
Decreased Risk of Developing Diabetes
What really stood out for me was the fact that breastfeeding decreases my chances of developing Type II Diabetes later in life.
Most of my readers know I developed Gestational Diabetes during my pregnancy. That alone increases my chances of developing diabetes, however, by breastfeeding I help to lower those chances and increase my odds for living a long and healthy life.
Women who give birth and choose to not breast feed their children for at least a month are twice as likely to develop Type II Diabetes.
Increased Bonding Between Mother and Baby
Breastfeeding also helps to increase the bonding between mom and baby. While bonding is a natural process, it isn’t always as easy or automatic as one might think. Majority of new moms experience “baby blues” which a period of deep sadness caused by the sudden drop of hormones.
I experienced “baby blues” during the first 2 weeks after I gave birth. I cried. A lot. Sometimes for no reason. My hormones were all over the place- add that to the stress of being a new parent and it can be very overwhelming, very easily.
Most mothers recover from the blues within 10 days. Some don’t, and that is usually referred to as Post-Partum Depression. Breastfeeding helps to regulate those hormones responsible for the emotional roller coaster many new moms face.
Other Major Health Benefits:
- Breastfeeding builds your baby’s immune system
- Breastfed infants have added protection against-
- Heart Disease
- Immune system cancers
- Allergies and Asthma
- Type 1 and 2 Diabetes
- Breastfeeding also reduces Mom’s risk of cancer and other health conditions (like Diabetes).
- Moms return to pre-pregnancy weight faster (oh yeah!)
- Middle ear infections
- Gastroenteritis (stomach flu)
- Urinary tract infections
- Necrotizing enterocolitis, a digestive tract disorder that is a leading killer of premature infants
One of the coolest pieces of information I found was about the antibodies that passed between mother and baby.
“Antibodies, or immune molecules, in a mother’s breast milk are transferred to the baby, giving them immunities to illnesses that the mother is immune to. The converse is also true--if your newborn is exposed to a germ, she will transfer it back to the mother while nursing. The mother’s body will then make antibodies to that particular germ and transfer them back to the baby at the next feeding.”- Dr. Mercola
Isn’t that neat??
So if you’re on the fence about breastfeeding or formula feeding I urge you to look into the research and really take a look at the health benefits you’ll be giving to yourself and your baby.