Proven beyond a doubt, dramatic health benefits pass from mother to child through breast milk--from antibodies which protect an infant at birth, to the exclusive nutrients in mother's milk which have been shown to prevent a number of childhood diseases--the benefits are incalculable. In fact, it is said that there is no other single action by which a mother can impact the present and future health of her baby so greatly.
As most everyone is aware today, breastfeeding is the most natural and beneficial act a mother can do for her child.
Proven beyond a doubt, dramatic health benefits pass from mother to child through breast milk--from antibodies which protect an infant at birth, to the exclusive nutrients in mother's milk which have been shown to prevent a number of childhood diseases--the benefits are incalculable.
In fact, it is said that there is no other single act by which a mother can so greatly impact the present and future health of her baby than breastfeeding.
But what many mothers are unaware of is the many health and practical benefits they themselves enjoy from the breastfeeding experience.
>Women who breastfeed reduce their risk of developing breast cancer by as much as twenty-five percent; the more months or years a mother breastfeeds, the lower her risk of breast cancer.
>Breastfeeding deduces the risk of uterine and ovarian cancer. Since estrogen levels are lower during lactation, breastfeeding fights cancer. Studies show that the less estrogen available to stimulate the lining of the uterus (and perhaps breast tissue also), the less the risk of these tissues becoming cancerous.
>Breastfeeding helps the uterus contract after birth to control postpartum bleeding.
>Non-breastfeeding women have a four times greater chance of developing osteoporosis than breastfeeding women, and are also more likely to suffer hip fractures in the post-menopausal years.
>Breastfeeding reduces the risk of anemia.
>Breastfeeding benefits child spacing. Since breastfeeding delays ovulation, the longer a mother breastfeeds the more she is able to practice natural child spacing, if she desires.
>Depending on the total time lactating, breastfeeding reduces the risk of mortality for women suffering rheumatoid arthritis.
>Breastfeeding promotes emotional health. In addition to developing a special emotional bonding with her child, the hormones produced during nursing have an endorphin-like effect which gives mom a relaxed feeling; improving her sense of well-being. Studies show that breastfeeding mothers display less postpartum anxiety and depression than formula-feeding mothers.
>Breastfeeding helps the mother's body return to its pre-pregnancy state faster by promoting weight loss; 1/2 of the calories needed to produce milk is drawn from fat stores, meaning nursing moms can burn from 500-1,500 calories per day. Also, breastfeeding mothers show significantly larger reductions in hip circumference and more fat loss by one month postpartum when compared to formula-feeding moms.
>Breastfeeding costs far less than formula feeding. With formula-feeding costing around $1,200 a year on average, even factoring in the increase in food costs to a breastfeeding mother, the American Academy of Pediatrics estimates that a breastfeeding mother will save around $400 during the first year of breastfeeding.
>Since breastfed babies are sick less, that means reduced healthcare costs for moms; fewer doctor visits, prescriptions, over-the-counter medications, and hospitalizations.
>Most moms can nurse while sleeping; nursing moms get more rest than formula-feeding moms.
>Breastfeeding saves moms about seven hours a week off their feet.
>Breastfeeding moms have no need to get up in the middle of the night to heat formula, meaning less interrupted sleep.
>Breastfeeding is more convenient: Since the milk is always available, sterile, and at the perfect temperature, when traveling, your biggest concern is diapers.
>Breastfed babies know their moms and will never confuse them with a sitter, or suffer nipple confusion.
>Breastfeeding requires the use of only one arm, allowing you can do other things while breastfeeding, (except cooking or driving, of course!)
Images as credited; thumb via http://images.teamsugar.com/files/upl1/10/107379/46_2008/f0ca0b16a37038f0_nursing.jpg
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