We’re all aware that breastfeeding is beneficial to a newborn’s health and development, but did you know that the benefits of breastfeeding extend not only to your baby but also to yourself as a breastfeeding mother?
Here are 4 amazing breastfeeding benefits that a breastfeeding mother can reap!
Quickens recovery and lowers your risk of diseases
Breastfeeding is said to quicken recovery as it can help:
- promote uterine involution
- reduce bleeding
- reduce infection
Breastfeeding has also long been linked to lowering the risk of:
- heart diseases
- breast and ovarian cancer
- type 2 diabetes
- high blood pressure
There is no conclusive evidence or research to show how breastfeeding can help reduce the risk of all of these diseases; however, many medical experts do seem to believe that it may be linked to the hormone oxytocin (released during breastfeeding), which is known to relax blood vessels. Some medical experts, on the other hand, have attributed breastfeeding’s medical marvel to breastfeeding mothers’ overall healthier lifestyle choices as they begin nursing, primarily eating a well-balanced diet.
Natural birth control
Breastfeeding has also been recognised as a form of natural birth control, albeit not as effective as other more well-known methods of birth control.
Breastfeeding is said to delay ovulation, which causes menstruation to be delayed. This is because when your baby breastfeeds, the sucking action triggers the release of prolactin (the hormone responsible for breast milk production), which keeps oestrogen and progesterone at bay. Ovulation does not occur in the absence of these two hormones. No ovulation means no egg production in the body, which means no pregnancy!
Breastfeeding as a natural method of birth control is known as the lactational amenorrhea method (LAM). LAM, created to allow women to safely rely on breastfeeding as a method of family planning, is based on three conditions – all of which must be met simultaneously in order for it to be effective:
1. The baby must be less than 6 months old.
2. The mother must exclusively breastfeed her baby during the day and night.
3. The absence of menses in the mother.
Nevertheless, it is recommended that mothers continue to use other birth controls while breastfeeding as a precautionary measure.
Saves you time and money
Breastfeeding can save you a significant amount of time because it eliminates the need to:
- prepare formula before feeding
- spend time cleaning and sterilizing feeding equipment
- find a safe water source (when out)
In addition, breastfeeding is also more cost-effective than formula as it is generally free (barring expenses for any breastfeeding gear and health support). For starters, there is no need to spend money on formula. There’s also the benefit of not having to buy expensive, portable bottle warmers for when you travel with your little one. Most importantly, however, is that there is no waste when it comes to breastfeeding, as breast milk can be stored for up to 12 months, depending on your storage method.
Reminder: Breast milk storage recommendations may differ from baby to baby. Additionally, according to research, the longer breast milk is stored, the more vitamin C it loses. Hence, keep all of these considerations in mind before deciding on a method for storing your breast milk.
Helps you lose baby weight
We bet you’ve heard this one before, and if you’re wondering how true it is, let us tell you – it is! Breastfeeding does, in fact, help you melt off the baby pounds. When you breastfeed, you can burn up to 500 calories a day. However, it isn’t unconditional. Your body can only burn these calories if you eat the recommended number of calories each day, live a moderately active lifestyle and exclusively breastfeed. So keep in mind, mommies, that a healthy, well-balanced diet is critical.
TIP: Our well-balanced, dietitian-guided breastfeeding diet plan menu is packed with nutrients and lactation-boosting ingredients, so look no further, mommies!
Now that we’ve covered the benefits of breastfeeding, it’s only fair to also let you in on the ways to increase breast milk supply so that you can reap all of the benefits mentioned above!
1. Power pump between feedings
Power pumping for 10-20 minutes after each nursing session for 2-3 days in a row can essentially help boost your breast milk supply. As breastfeeding works by the law of supply and demand, the more your breast is stimulated and emptied, the more it refills with breast milk.
2. Breastfeed on both sides
The stimulation from having both breasts breastfed can help increase breast milk production. So, have your baby feed from both breasts at each feeding. Start nursing your baby with either of your breasts. Then, when your baby’s feeding appears to have slowed down or stopped, try offering your other breast.
3. Get adequate rest
The majority of our cognitive, behavioural, and bodily functions require a good night’s sleep to function optimally. Sleep deprivation and exhaustion, therefore, may have a negative impact on your breast milk production. So, even though it may be difficult as a new mother, make sure you’re well-rested, mommies!
4. Eat and drink well
One of the best ways to support breast milk supply is to eat and drink well, as a mother who’s dehydrated or undernourished, is more likely to feel unwell and have less energy to breastfeed. So make it a point to prioritise eating and drinking your recommended daily amount. Oh, and don’t refrain from snacking if you’re hungry, mommies! Snacks, such as healthy lactation cookies, can actually do you more good than harm.
Breastfeeding Tip: MumChecked has a wide range of breastfeeding items and accessories to help new mothers breastfeed more easily and comfortably, so be sure to go check them out!