Top Ten Reasons Moms Breastfeed Their Babies

by Lodovica Trevisan Top Ten BreastfeedingRemember the ample bosom that appeared one day during your pregnancy? After childbirth, nursing will increase, or at least maintain the size of your new assets. Some women are pleased with this outcome, others not so much. However, breastfeeding has another bonus you may not be aware of. You use more calories -- and this lets you get back to your pre-pregnancy weight sooner. But beyond these couple of reasons, why do moms choose to breastfeed?

Top Ten Reasons Why Moms Breastfeed

1. Recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics

"Human milk is the preferred feeding for all infants, including premature and sick newborns. It is recommended that breastfeeding continue for at least the first 12 months, and thereafter for as long as mutually desired."

2. Breastfeeding Saves Money

Breastfeeding for one month saves between $75 and $180, not counting bottles and other feeding paraphernalia. At six months, the family of an exclusively breastfed baby will save formula costs of between $450 and $1080. If your baby nurses for a year, you will have saved enough money to buy a major appliance.

3. It's Good for Baby

How does breastfeeding help your baby?

  • Allergies: nursing babies are less likely to suffer from allergies, especially if exclusively breastfed.
  • Components in human milk protect the digestive tract from foreign proteins, which could cause allergic reactions.
  • Breastfeeding boosts your baby's immune system. From colostrum, called "nature's vaccine for the newborn," through toddlerhood, breastfeeding helps your baby combat illnesses.
  • Studies find that children who were breastfed had IQs higher than those who received only formula.
  • Babies can digest human milk easier than formula.

4. It's Good for Mom

Breastfeeding helps a mother's body recover quicker from childbirth by releasing hormones that contract the uterus and prevent excess bleeding. It promotes emotional health. Moms who breastfeed are less likely to suffer from postpartum anxiety and depression. Not breastfeeding after birth seems to put women at higher risk for breast and ovarian cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and many other serious health conditions.

4. Breastfeeding Fosters Bonding

Oxytoxin, a chemical released when baby nurses, helps moms feel close and connected. Mom cuddles her little one. Fathers who take an active, supportive role in breastfeeding forge a special relationship with their babies, too.

5. Easy and Convenient

Breast milk comes in a nice package and is always ready and the right temperature. As soon as the baby "drinks from the bar," moms body starts pumping out more milk. No worries about mixing formula, running out in the middle of the night, washing or warming bottles.

6. Breastmilk is "Green"

Breastfeeding is great for the environment. Human milk comes directly to the consumer without any pollution, unnecessary packaging or waste. In the U.S., over half a million women formula feed their babies from birth.

7. Breastfeeding Reduces Childhood Obesity

Babies fed only or mostly breast milk during their first six months of life had a 22 percent lower risk of being overweight during adolescence. The longer babies were breastfed exclusively before being switched to formula or food, the lower their chances of starting school overweight or obese. For mom, the extra calories to make that breast milk help reduce fat around the middle, even long after breastfeeding ends.

8. Breastfeeding Fosters Independence

According to Dr. Jack Newman, the tot who breastfeeds until he or she weans (usually from 2 to 4 years), is usually more independent, and, perhaps, more importantly, more secure in his or her independence.

9. Lessens Trantrums and Tumbles

IBCLC, Nancy Mohrbacher says, "Nursing can help you and your child through the tears, tantrums, and tumbles of toddlerhood." Moms say a couple minutes of nursing can change tears to smiles. During those trying toddler years, a mom appreciates all the help she can get.

10. Breast Milk's Great for Preemies

The milk produced by women who deliver prematurely differs from that produced after a full-term pregnancy. During the first month after the baby's early arrival, pre-term milk maintains a composition similar to that of colostrum. Studies show a partial protection against necrotizing enterocolitis. Do you have your own items you can add to this list? Photo courtesy of istockphoto.