Are you wanting to breastfeed your baby? Do you want to understand why it is good for both you and your little one? I am sharing 10 benefits of breastfeeding for mum and baby from my personal experiences.
I am a mum to two and I believe it is crucial that everybody understands breastfeeding. Why? Because I believe it is normal, natural, biological and common sense to feed our babies with our breasts. I breastfed my first child for 3+ years and currently breastfeeding my second child who is almost 2 years of age.
Before we go further in this article, I am not here to dispute women who are truly physically unable to breastfeed, perhaps because a breast has been removed or the nipples are disfigured in some way. I do believe that there are many women who can be helped to breastfeed who think they can’t breastfeed when ultimately it is the power of their mind and confidence in their ability to breastfeed that can help the situation. We live in a culture that has turned its back on breastfeeding and it’s become a norm for a number of years to bottle-feed babies with cow’s milk. Again, I am not here to dispute this either. This post is a positive look at why breastfeeding is a beautiful gift from Mother Nature and God.
That being said, all of this is my opinion and I know this is a topic that can be quite sensitive for some people. Bear in mind, that I am 100% for breastfeeding and believe this is the way to feed a baby. I am here to share the joy of breastfeeding our little ones.
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What are the benefits of breast milk?
Before I dive into my personal experiences with breastfeeding, here are some great articles that show the health benefits of breastfeeding for both mum and baby.
- Benefits of Breastfeeding – UNICEF: “Our work to support breastfeeding is based on extensive and resounding evidence that breastfeeding saves lives, improves health and cuts costs in every country worldwide.”
- Breastfeeding – WHO: “Actively promotes breastfeeding as the best source of nourishment for infants and young children.”
- 11 Benefits of Breastfeeding for Both Mom and Baby – Healthline: “Breast milk contains antibodies and other elements that protect your baby from illness and chronic disease.”
- Benefits of Breastfeeding – Cleveland Clinic: “Lowers your baby’s risk of certain diseases and helps build a strong immune system.”
- Breastfeeding and Health Outcomes for the Mother-Infant – National Library of Medicine: “Worldwide, breastfeeding saves the lives of infants and reduces their disease burden. Breastfeeding also reduces the disease burden for mothers.”
Why is breastfeeding worth it?
Hands down, it is 100% worth it to breastfeed. Why? I am going to share my experiences below as to why it is worth breastfeeding. Let’s just say it is a wonderful gift to give our children to nurture and nourish their growing bodies with the powerful wonderful milk that our body produces. Wow, it is simply stunning what our body does when creating a human.
10 Benefits of Breastfeeding for Mum and Baby
I am going to share 10 benefits of breastfeeding for both you and your baby from my experiences as a breastfeeding mum. There are definitely more than 10 benefits, but I am sharing the ones that pop into mind as I write this for you.
Benefit 1: Biologically Natural
As women we have breasts, and the breasts have nipples. When we are pregnant, those breasts might change, they may get bigger, perhaps start producing breast milk and leak a little. When we give birth our breasts fill with milk, and given the chance, our babies will suckle at the breast.
Is it always easy? No.
Is it always simple? No.
Is it always straightforward for a woman with breasts to feed her baby? No.
Can we as women with breasts feed our babies? Yes.
Most of the time.
Here, I am talking about the biggest percentage of women whose breasts can feed their babies. However, how do you even know if your breasts can feed your baby? Well, you find out. I recommend whilst pregnant to read breastfeeding books. I highly recommend the book Ina May’s Guide to Breastfeeding. This book helped me a tonne when I was pregnant with my first child. I didn’t grow up seeing women breastfeed – is that the same for you?
I don’t know if my mum breastfed me, or if my grandma breastfed my mum. I didn’t see women breastfeeding in real life or in films. I knew that when I was going to be a mum I would breastfeed, but, errr, how?!?! What happens? What do I do? What does the baby do?
What I did know is I have breasts, my body makes babies, and it seems fitting that those breasts will feed my child. The best thing I did to help me get confident in my body’s ability to feed my child was to read about it, see pictures of women feeding their children and watch videos of breastfeeding. For my first child, I also hired a lactation consultant to answer any questions and have that support on hand if needed when my baby was born. I highly recommend doing this if you need that extra support when you don’t have friends or family on hand who breastfed, breastfeed or simply understand your priority to breastfeed.
What I know for sure is, that mammals breastfeed their young as seen in monkeys, dogs, cows, giraffes, elephants, pigs, sheep, and so on, and we too are mammals. We have breasts with nipples that produce milk. Watch other mammals, and take note that the mothers feed their young. We have a lot to learn from nature. Or rather remember from nature!
Benefit 2: Food + Hydration
Breastmilk is a wonderful food for babies, toddlers and young children. It provides nourishment to satisfy food needs and hydration needs. A baby gets all it needs from breastmilk, the baby does not need to be supplemented with food or water.
As the baby gets older there will be a natural transition into eating food and drinking water, and this will vary from one baby to the next when they are ready for food and water. There is zero rush to introduce food and water as breastfeeding exclusively will provide all the baby’s needs. Breastfeeding on demand 24/7 gives the baby what he or she needs.
Benefit 3: Comfort
Breastfeeding is a beautiful bond between mama and baby. Being able to comfort your little one with your body whilst snuggling them close is a precious gift. I feel blessed to be able to provide comfort to my children through the art of breastfeeding. Yes, breastfeeding feeds the baby, and it also serves as a way to nurture our children in times of needed comfort. Tired baby? Breastfeed. Upset baby? Breastfeed. Hungry baby? Breastfeed. Thirsty baby? Breastfeed. Teething baby? Breastfeed. Poorly baby? Breastfeed. Feeling scared baby? Breastfeed. You get the point.
Breastfeeding is a beautiful gift from Mother Nature to provide for our children in times of much-needed comfort.
Benefit 4: Soothes Teething
As mentioned above, breastfeeding is wonderful for comforting our little ones, especially when teething. I honestly can’t imagine what it would be like to take care of a baby when teething without breastfeeding.
Little ones love to snuggle at the breast, it is a very natural thing to do and when their gums feel sore from all those teeth growing through it helps babies to feel loved, soothes gums from the suckling at the breast and relaxes them to feel calm.
Benefit 5: Great for Sleep
Breastfeeding is a beautiful gift from God for helping little ones to sleep. I always breastfeed my little ones to sleep, it’s the most natural thing for me to nurture my babies that way. Night times are easy when little one is snuggled next to me and I feed them to sleep. I sleep next to my little ones which makes the process even easier.
Benefit 6: It’s Free
There’s nothing to buy, your breasts are ready to go to feed the baby. If you want breast pads to catch leaking milk and clothing that makes it easier for the baby to access your breasts then these are additional costs.
Aside from that, there are no milk formulas to buy, and you don’t need breast pumps unless that’s something required, for example, donating some of your breast milk to other mums to feed their babies or if you work out of the home and need to provide breast milk for someone to feed your baby.
Benefit 7: On the Go Food
Easy, peasy, food is ready! Wherever you go, your breasts are with you which is extremely beneficial for your little ones. Whether travelling long or short distances, there is no need to worry about a tired hungry baby. Just feed them wherever you are. The simplicity of mother nature.
Benefit 8: Bond Together
I feel very blessed to breastfeed my children as it creates such a beautiful bond when snuggled up feeding your little one. All the love hormones are released, it’s relaxing and a wonderful time to sit together for those moments in the day to be together.
There are many benefits of breastfeeding, and this one sure does get my vote as it brings you together to connect in a way that is hard to describe without experiencing this bond. Bliss.
Benefit 9: A Lesson for Future Generations
This benefit of breastfeeding feels very important. Growing up I didn’t see women breastfeeding. Not in my family, out in public, on films, not even in conversation. As I got older I knew breastfeeding was normal and natural and wondered why it wasn’t seen or heard about as if it’s as normal as brushing teeth or going to sleep.
I knew when I became a mum I would breastfeed and do my best to share the normal nature of breastfeeding our children. It has been an absolute gift to breastfeed my second child whilst my oldest sees her brother breastfeed. As both children have been breastfed it is very normal around here to see breasts and for them to be used for the purpose God created them. I want my children to be educated on how normal breastfeeding is!
It is great to see women breastfeeding in public and hear about them continuing to breastfeed past 6 months, yet there is still work to be done for future generations. All I can do is to keep spreading the good word about breastfeeding and how normal, natural and wonderful it is for mummy and baby.
Benefit 10: Boobs are Always with You!
This goes in line with benefit 7 of food on the go, wherever you go your boobs are with you. Wherever you and your little one are you can feed them anytime anywhere. Nothing else is truly needed. I understand that not all women choose to breastfeed or are physically not able to breastfeed, but with the right resources, support and mindset, our breasts can work wonders for nourishing our little ones.
Our breasts are here to feed our babies. They create milk when we have babies for a reason and that’s because our breasts are created to feed our young. Use those breasts for God’s wonderful creation!
I would love to hear from you. Leave a comment below if you have a question about breastfeeding, want to share your breastfeeding experience or you need support to understand how to get started.
You are not alone mama, breastfeeding is a beautiful thing!Leave a tip