It's well established that breastfeeding provides both moms and babies with numerous health benefits. But what about all of the other unexpected benefits of breastfeeding that aren't as common knowledge? It's well known that breastfeeding strengthens babies' immune systems and it provides defense against many childhood diseases and cancers (even cancer in moms too!) but there are some lesser known, and less expected, benefits that make nursing even greater.
When I was a first-time mom getting in the swing of breastfeeding my daughter, I was amazed at not only how normal it felt after a while, but how easily it integrated into my everyday life. Sure, there were times when I had to cancel plans because of a teething baby, or because I didn't really want to nurse my child at a particular place, but by and large, breastfeeding did nothing but make my transition into motherhood more smooth and seamless.
Although breastfeeding takes serious commitment and work for many moms, focusing on the little everyday benefits that you may otherwise take for granted could make breastfeeding a whole lot easier on the days when you just want your boobs to yourself. These benefits aren't revolutionary, and they certainly won't change your life, but sometimes, in the craziness of motherhood, it's the little things that become the most important.
1It's Extremely Convenient
There's no late night prep or planning ahead, everything you need is literally attached to your body.
2It's The Best Excuses Ever
Don't want to make dinner? Gotta nurse the baby. Need to leave a party early? Your baby is probably hungry. There's absolutely no shame in using something you already have to do to get out of a situation you don't really want to be in.
3It Promotes Emotional Health
According to a study from UCLA, breastfeeding moms have been shown to experience less postpartum depression and report stronger feelings of emotional bonding. Similarly, the emotional benefits of breastfeeding for babies, especially as they get older, are nothing but positive.
4It Give You Alone Time
Well, alone time with baby. Breastfeeding can be amazingly relaxing, especially if it's your first child. You'll have time to sit down for a while, catch up on your favorite shows, read a book, or take a quick nap.
5It Strengthens Your Bones
Though it may seem like breastfeeding would decrease your bone strength because of the calcium used in producing milk, according to La Leche League, the opposite is actually true. Experts are finding that breastfeeding actually increases your bone strength and may decrease your chances of osteoporosis as you age.
6It Saves You Big Bucks
One of the biggest benefits of nursing is that it's completely free. Although formula tends to cost anywhere from $1,000 to $1,500 per year, according to Medela, breastfeeding only costs you the amount needed for a pump.
7It Empowers You
Although motherhood in general is pretty empowering, there's something amazing about watching your baby grow and develop from nutrients you produced with your own body.