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Why Breastfeeding Is Wonderful for Momma

The advantages of breastfeeding to the mother are just as numerous. As soon as the baby is born, immediate breastfeeding helps mom's uterus to contract and reduces the risk of postpartum hemorrhage by decreasing the amount of lochia as well. The constant nursing of a newborn also encourages mom sit in one place and rest, at least for the first few weeks postpartum. Because making breastmilk takes extra calories, mom is likely to lose pregnancy weight more quickly. Breastfeeding also protects mom against some long-term health problems.

There seems to be less risk of breast cancer for those who have had breastfed, and the risk continues to go down as the amount of years one breastfeeds goes up. Breastfeeding also lowers the risk of uterine cancer. Because nursing can improve how your bones process minerals, the risk of osteoporosis also goes down. The level of "good" cholesterol (HDL) also seems to increase due to breastfeeding. Breastfeeding is also nature's best form of birth control, which benefits mom, baby, and the rest of the family. When breastfeeding exclusively, nursing is about 98% effective in delaying fertility for the first six months. This is the most natural way to ensure mom doesn't wind up with more than she and her body can handle. This method, known as the lactational amenorrhea method, is an easy and free way of child spacing.

One of the most important benefits of breastfeeding for mother and baby is the emotional closeness it allows by promoting skin-to-skin contact. Within the first few initial feedings, baby realizes how much comfort, safety and love he feels when at his mother's breast. From that first latch-on, babies get to smell, taste, feel , hear, see and know their mothers. Because nursing releases oxytocin, the mother also feels a sense of calmness and well-being come that is nature's way of protecting her baby. Breastfeeding is time spent together, in a closeness that is unique to nursing moms and babies. And because breastfeeding can be done without the use of one's hands, mom is also able to tend to the needs of her other children, or chores, at least occasionally.

Families benefit as well from breastfeeding. Children that have been breastfed are less likely to be sick. This reduces the amount of sick days and childcare costs incurred by the parents. Medical bills and health care costs are usually also lower. During baby's first year, a family will save over $1000 by not buying infant formula. Because there are often no bottles, breastfeeding is the easiest and cleanest way to feed a baby. And because breastfeeding is so portable, breastfed babies are easy to travel with.

Although exclusive breastfeeding (no supplements) is the most beneficial for mom and baby, partial breastfeeding has its benefits as well. Sometimes, breastfeeding exclusively is not possible. The mom may need to return to work, there may be ongoing feeding issues, or there may be a variety of other reasons. Even so, any amount of breastfeeding is better than none. The amount of nutritional benefits will depend on the amount of breastmilk a baby is fed. The partially breastfed baby will still receive many benefits, even if fed breastmilk from a bottle or cup. In the case of multiples, it is not recommended that one baby be fully breastfed and the other not at all. In this case, it would be more beneficial to the babies to each be partially breastfed. This way, they both receive nutritional benefits and there is less of a chance of difference in a mother's feelings for her babies.

Breastmilk is the perfect food for human babies. The immediate nutritional and anti-infective properties make breastmilk the recommended food for all infants. The mother receives numerous physical and emotional benefits that do not come with formula feeding. In addition, the entire family gains from the breastfeeding relationship. For these reasons, breastfeeding is recommended for as long as mother and baby can continue.










References:

England, Pam. Birthing from Within. Albuquerque: Partera Press, 1998.

Murkoff, Heidi, Arlene Eisenberg and Sandee Hathaway. What to Expect When You're Expecting. New York: Workman Publishing, 2002.

Simkin, Penny. The Birth Partner. Boston: The Harvard Common Press, 2001.

Somer, Dr. Elizabeth. Nutrition for a Healthy Pregnancy. New York: Henry Holt & Co., 2002.

Spangler, Amy. Breastfeeding: A Parent's Guide. Amy Spangler. 2000.

Electronic sources:

Breastfeeding Advantages. Retrieved January 19, 2005, from http://www.womanhealth.net/html/pregnancy/breastfeeding_advantages.html

Dermer, Dr. Alicia and Dr. Anne Montgomery. Breastfeeding: Good for Babies, Mothers and the Planet. 1997. Retrieved January 19, 2005 from http://medicalreporter.health.org/tmr0297/breastfeed0297.html

Newman, Dr. Jack. How Breast Milk Protects Newborns. Retrieved January 19, 2005 from http://kellymom.com/newman/how_breastmilk_protects_newborns.html







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