Breastfeeding Benefits for Mom
So far I’ve only talked about the benefits of breastfeeding for the baby. There are some benefits for Mom too.
Getting your Body Back:
When a newborn sucks at his mother’s breast, a hormone called oxytocin is released in the mother. This hormone causes her uterus to contract so that it can shrink back to its normal size.
Getting your body back to its original state is what every postpartum mom wants. Also, having your uterus contract in size will prevent other complications like infection and hemorrhaging.
Speaking of getting your body back in shape, the act of making breast milk burns calories. So, all things being equal, breastfeeding benefits for mom may include loosing weight quicker than a mother who chose to formula-feed. Don’t get too excited though because breastfeeding alone will not guarantee that you will shed those extra pounds.
On a long term basis, some studies show that breastfeeding women have a lesser chance of getting ovarian, uterine and breast cancers. Women who have breastfed babies also have lower rates of urinary tract infections and osteoporosis. All this however, is still undecided because some studies showed no difference in cancer rates among breastfeeding and non-breastfeeding mothers.
Menstruation and Fertility:
Another benefit is that breastfeeding prevents you from having your monthly period (this is called amenorrhea). Okay, this may not be an actual “benefit”, but it is definitely a “perk”. The reason breastfeeding prevents monthly menstruation is because Baby’s sucking prevents ovulation. When you don’t ovulate, you don’t menstruate.
If you have had a natural childbirth, then you might be interested to know that exclusive breastfeeding is a natural way to prevent pregnancy. The sucking action by Baby prevents ovulation, and if you don’t ovulate, you won’t get pregnant again. In fact, you can use breastfeeding as a method of contraception. This form of natural birth control is called LAM (Lactational Amenorrhea Method) and an extensive discussion on how a baby’s sucking affects a woman’s fertility can be found here. Please note, LAM is not 100% effective therefore you cannot rely on it as an absolute method of preventing pregnancy. Consider this reader’s comment here.
In the past, royalty and rich folks wanted large families with 10+ kids. Here, the mother would hire a wet-nurse to breastfeed the newborn. By not breastfeeding her own children, the birth mother regains her normal fertility cycle and is capable of getting pregnant again. I don’t know about you – but I’m glad I’m not rich or royal!
Lastly, some breastfeeding benefits for mom cannot be quantified. Many women feel a sense of calmness or ease when they are breastfeeding. This may be because breastfeeding allows you to (finally) sit down and rest for a bit. Perhaps Baby’s sucking causes the release of hormones that encourages relaxation. Suffice to say that you need not feel that breastfeeding is something you do just for your baby. Breastfeeding is good for you too.
- read about the composition of breast milk
- read about why women choose formula feeding.
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