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Benefits of Breastfeeding

Posted by elizjcurran on October 29, 2014 at 7:55 AM

This is a reblog from: http://crazy8breastfeeding.wordpress.com/2014/10/29/benefits-of-breastfeeding-part-1/


Our topic this month is:

“The Benefits of Breastfeeding”

Since I started this blog this week, this topic will continue as the topic for the month of November also.


Breastfeeding has so many benefits for the mother, baby, and even society I am going to discuss a few here and then continue to work on more in later posts. These will be documented benefits not just my own opinion. This will not be an exhaustive list, just what I find useful when working with moms who are asking questions about nursing their babies.

INFANTS:

Breastfeeding actually strengthens the bond that a mother has with her baby. When the baby nurses a hormone called oxytocin is released in the mothers brain.(1) Oxytocin is called the “love” or “trust” hormone. This hormone actually causes the mother to feel a stronger bond of love towards their infant. This hormone also lowers anxiety, stress, and fear.


What a perfect hormone to be flooding through our brains every 5 minutes while we are nursing. We all know that having a new baby can be a stressful time. Let alone the stress of getting to understand your new life as a parent. Who doesn’t need a little burst of calm and love during that 3am feeding.


I am not saying that a bottle feed baby and his/her mother cannot bond as well as a breastfeeding couple, please do not take this the wrong way. I am pro-whatever you feel is right for you and your baby. Feed you baby and love your baby, you do not have to breastfeed to do that. But this is a breastfeeding blog :-) (Just my 2¢.)


How does this help the infant? A mother that is calmer is able to interact with her baby in a more relaxed way.  Say your baby is fussy, just plain fussy. You are exhausted and feeling a bit overwhelmed. You sit down and pull that baby close to you and start to nurse. You feel relaxed, the baby calms, and you sit. You take a few minutes just sitting holding your baby when he/she is done nursing. You drink a big glass of water and enjoy this short time we have with our little ones before they are all grown up.

MOTHERS:

Breastfeeding actually reduces a mothers risk of breast, ovarian, and uterine cancer. When I first found this out I was like, you have got to be kidding me. But the research is there. I understood the breast cancer part, but the others I didn’t get that so I looked it up. The reason that it reduces cancer in each of these areas is because:


Breast cancer: The relative risk of breast cancer decreased by 4.3% for every 12 months of breastfeeding.(2) So the longer a woman breastfeeds has been associated with a greater protection from breast cancer. This one makes sense to me because nursing involves the breasts.


Ovarian cancer: Breastfeeding can reduce the chance of ovarian cancer by two-thirds. Some researchers believe that because breastfeeding reduces the number of times that you ovulate that this decreases your chances of producing mutant cells which may start the disease. Growing evidence indicates a protective effect of breastfeeding on ovarian cancer risk.(3)  Okay, so that makes sense to me. I know that most women have no periods during the time they are breastfeeding so it would make sense that they are not ovulating either.


Uterine cancer: Breastfeeding reduces the risk of uterine (endometrial) cancer.(4) During breastfeeding there is less stimulation of the uterine lining and therefore decreased risk of uterine cancer. This makes sense also because of the same reason I stated above: decreased periods = decrease uterine work.

SOCIETY:

Breastfeeding decreases the amount of trash we send to the landfills.

Waste heading to landfills is decreased but how?

There is less formula packaging itself thrown away. This includes:

  • the cans
  • the scoops
  • the lids
  • the paper on the packaging
  • the metallic tear off lids


There are fewer

  • bottles
  • plastic nipples
  • and the packaging for these


and (interestingly enough) less:

  • sanitary napkins
  • tampons
  • and the packaging materials for these


Now those last two kinda threw me for a minute. But because nursing your baby usually causes you to have no menstrual cycle for a few months then these items heading to the landfill would decrease. I personally had about 16 months after each baby that I was able to save those last few items from heading to the landfill.


Also fewer

  • diapers and
  • wipes
  • including the containers and boxes these come in

What? you ask…

Well, because babies are able to digest breast milk more efficiently there is less that comes out. So that means less diapers to change.(5) That sounds nice doesn’t it?


I hope this information was helpful to you.

What now? Leave a comment and let me know what you think.

Bibliography:

  1. http://wrap.warwick.ac.uk/4433/1/WRAP_Feng_Emergent_Synchronous.pdf
  2. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12133652
  3. http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/early/2013/01/02/ajcn.112.044719
  4. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10977111
  5. http://www.notmilk.com/greenbm.html

Categories: Breastfeeding, Benefits

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