Thanks to scientific research and moms (and dads) around the world taking a stand, society is finally beginning to understand the importance of breastfeeding. Not only is it a healthy option for your baby, but there are a long list of benefits for both babies and mamas. And if that weren't enough, there are some pretty amazing things that happen between you and your baby when you breastfeed, and scientists are only beginning to discover them.
Did you know that in order to produce breast milk, a mother's body has to melt her own fat? And then produces exactly the right compounds tailored to her baby's needs. It's pretty remarkable, actually. No two baby's are the same, and no mothers' milk is exactly alike. Breastfeeding bonds you to your baby like nothing else can. It supports your child's physical and psychological development and has some pretty great benefits for you too.
Between both of my daughters, I've been nursing for more than two years. And while I know that many moms can't nurse or choose to use formula – and I'd never judge them for choosing those options — what I've learned about breastfeeding has convinced me that it's pretty fantastic. Here is just a sampling of the incredible things that happen between you and your baby when you're nursing.
1. Your Brain Changes
On a scientific level, breastfeeding does amazing things to a mothers brain. A 2011 study published in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry found that among the participating mothers, the ones who were breastfeeding showed a heightened sensitivity to their baby's cries which suggests greater bonding and empathy. They concluded that this same connection is more likely to last as the child become more social.
2. You Release The "Love Hormone"
According to the Daily Mail, the physical act of that baby sucking stimulates the mother's brain to produce oxytocin— or what is often called "the love hormone," further promoting bonding and a sense of protectiveness. The hormone is released during sex, childbirth and breastfeeding.
3. You Bond With Your Baby
The psychological benefits of breastfeeding aren't just great for you. According to Healthy Children, as your baby looks up into your eyes, it helps develop feelings of trust and security and he gets used to life outside the womb.