I breastfed my kids for a long time. It wasn't something I set off to do, but it worked out that way. I loved the time I spent bonding with my babies — the distinctly maternal sense of rightness I found as a mother feeding her children in this most primal of ways. I honestly didn't think to examine how it was affecting me other than making me wicked hungry and sort of sore about the nipples. It turns out there are some real mental health benefits of breastfeeding, and it's doing as much good for you as it is your baby.
While there are plenty of documented studies to the benefits of breastfeeding for babies, there often isn't a lot of study done into the benefits for the mother. Breastfeeding is mostly considered as solely the work of the mother for the betterment of the child, but the reverse can also be true. In fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) even notes that breastfeeding enhances maternal behavior and bonding.
I spoke with International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) Miranda Bonet to find out what the top mental health benefits of breastfeeding are in relation to the mother. Turns out, the practice isn't just for the good of your babies.