Family & Relationships

What Are the Benefits of Breastfeeding for Mothers?

Breastfeeding benefits both the nursing baby and the mother.

In this article, I'm focusing on the medical, psychological, and economical benefits breastfeeding has on new mothers.

Why breastfeeding is smart economically

Clearly one of the principal benefits of breastfeeding is that it costs nothing. A mother with a well-balanced diet produces milk that is a perfect source of food for her baby. And this comes without the cost that formula-fed babies will incur.

One more concern a mother who just gave birth might have is becoming pregnant again. However, one additional economic benefit of breastfeeding is that it naturally delays the next pregnancy. Breastfeeding tends to delay a woman's period for six months -- possibly longer. Scientists call this the €lactational amenorrhea method,€ and claim that has nearly 100% efficacy during the first six months.

Why breastfeeding is smart psychologically

Nursing strengthens the bond a new baby has with her mother. Skin-to-skin touching, and the knowledge that her new baby completely relies on her for growth doesn't compare to any other relationship.

What's more, a new mother's body secretes prolactin while she is nursing. Contentment and calmness coincide with this, and it helps to prevent a woman from succumbing to postpartum depression.

This psychological calmness continues throughout a nursing mother's life -- even after she weans her child. Her oxytocin levels remain higher than non-nursing mothers, helping to permanently keep psychological issues from bothering her.

Why breastfeeding is smart medically

The suckling effect that releases oxytocin starts the flow of milk.

It also begins contracting the uterus back to pre-pregnancy size. This simultaneously reduces her risk of postpartum hemorrhage.

As I wrote above, breastfeeding will delay a woman's period from returning for at least six months. This is keeps her body's iron levels high, which prevents anemia.

Perhaps the biggest music to a new mother's ears is that it is the best way to lose pregnancy weight.

A nursing mother requires an additional 500 calories per day to produce milk.

This is likely why women do not breastfeed typically retain 7.5 centimeters more of fat on her waist.

Now that we've discussed the short-term health benefits, let's look at the long-term health benefits.

Breastfeeding will lower a woman's blood sugar levels, often to a level even better than before she became pregnant. Some studies also suggest it lowers a woman's chances of contracting diabetes when she is older.

Plus, a breastfeeding woman will have higher levels of HDL, or good cholesterol. Coupled with lower levels of blood sugar, a woman's risk of developing heart problems is drastically lowered. This may be one of the most significant benefits, since heart disease is still the main cause of death among women.

Finally, breastfeeding may lower a woman's chances of getting osteoporosis and reproductive cancers of the breast, uterus, or ovaries.

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