The Advantages and Disadvantages of Breastfeeding
We all know that there are so many wonderful benefits of breastfeeding for your baby, but have you ever sat down and really looked at how many advantages there really are? I am honestly surprised that more mothers don’t do it. We live in a world where mothers are almost shamed for breastfeeding, but I think if we can get the word out about all the wonderful things it does for the baby and the mother then more people will be willing to except it. So in the post I am going to explain just that.
Breastfeeding benefits for baby
Natural mother’s breastmilk has countless health advantages for your child. In order to encourage new mothers to continue breastfeeding their babies, we have put together a huge list of reasons why you shouldn’t give up. Lets go!
Reducing the risk of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome)
All mothers are scared to death of SIDS. We have all went to check on our new babies, and watched to make sure they are breathing. We get up throughout the night to check on them. Did you know that breastfeeding your baby can reduce the risk of SIDS by 50%! That is Huge. Not to mention a great peace of mind, especially if you follow all the other ways out there to reduce SIDS.
Colostrum (liquid gold)
Colostrum is your first milk and full of healthy antibodies for your baby. Also, colostrum is thick and yellowish (liquid gold). Not only does it have important antibodies for your baby and help the immune system, but it also helps your baby’s digestive tract develop and prepare itself for breast milk.
Colostrum comes in very little amount, and is very precious due to the great load of benefits for the baby. Therefore it is important that you as a mother do not waste a single drop of it. Some mothers even started saving up their colostrum during the later stage of their pregnancy to ensure that they get enough for the newborn. Others may have some difficulties with expressing the milk, and requires additional stimulation.
If you are a frequent visitor of mommy forums, you would notice that the Spectra Baby USA S2 Breast Pump is the number 1 recommendation when it comes to hospital-grade breast pumps. This amazing pump comes with “massage mode” that greatly helps with the stimulation for good results. During “expression mode”, you can also adjust the strength of suction to ensure the mother’s comfort.
Remember, the more frequent you breastfeed or pump, the more consistent your breast milk supply will be.
A Healthier Baby
Breastfeeding can also reduce the chances of Pneumonia, colds and viruses. It is also known to reduce the risk of ear infection, and things like diarrhea and also vomiting (spit up). As a nurse diarrhea and vomiting can be devastating for a new baby, or any baby for that matter. It’s important that they stay hydrated. Breastfeeding also decreases hospitals stays by at least 57%, some say it’s much higher at 74%. Some added breastfeeding benefits are that it reduces the risk of asthma.
Yep, you see that right. Breastfeeding your baby reduces the risk of obesity even when he/she is older. There are several reasons scientist think breastfeeding affects your child’s weight.
- Breastfed babies eat until they are no longer hungry. So later in life this leads to healthier eating habits.
- Formula has a lot more insulin in it than breastmilk.
- Leptin is found in babies that are breastfed, researchers say that it controls appetite and fat.
- Breast milk is easier to digest, and has the perfect mix of everything your baby needs, no manmade formula can compare.
It also helps mom with weight loss. Nursing your baby can burn up to 500 calories a day. If your anything like me, you will do anything to get that baby weight off.
Reduce The risk of cancer
Childhood cancers are one of the worst childhood diseases! Why not help reduce the risk and breastfeed? Breastfed babies are less likely to get cancer like Hodgkin’s disease, and Leukemia. Plus, breastfeeding can also lower the risk of breast cancer, and ovarian cancer for mothers.
Your milk is made for your baby
A mother’s breast milk is custom made for her baby and his/her needs. Formula is a one size fits all kind of thing. Your breast milk changes for different stages of your baby’s life. Colostrum is what your baby gets before your milk comes in, it is some amazing stuff!
It has all the antibodies and high in protein, so even a tiny amount can go a long way for your baby. Full milk is also made for your baby, it is high in sugar and easy to digest. It really does just have the perfect amount of fat, vitamins, and proteins your baby needs to thrive.
Protect your child from allergies
We are sure parents that have kids in school or daycare are well aware of the increase in allergies around the U.S. I know when I was a kid we could take treats to school and our parents didn’t have to worry about what they packed in our school lunch.
I now have 5 kids of my own and we are very limited on what we can send to school or daycare, because of the allergies. Breastfeeding your baby can reduce the risk of allergies. Scientist think that IgA (only on breast milk) is responsible for helping to prevent allergic reaction. IgA adds a layer of protection to your baby’s intestinal tract.
Better response to vaccines
I know there are parents that don’t want to vaccinate, but there has been research done that show breastfed babies have a much better antibody response to vaccinations. Also studies show that breastfed babies have a reduced risk of getting fevers or becoming fussy after routine vaccinations.
Enhanced immune system
Infant’s Immune systems are not fully developed until they are about 2 years old. Breastmilk contains a very high count of white blood cells. All of the white blood cells are then given to your baby, which then gives your baby the ability to fight infection from viruses, and bacteria.
Breastfeeding benefits for premature infants
Breastfeeding Premature infants is often difficult and very hard on mothers, I know because I have done this. I also believe that the benefits of breastfeeding them are totally worth it! At some NICU (Newborn Intensive Care Unit) They even have a breastmilk bank (storage for breastmilk) for your baby.
Breastmilk provides your fragile baby with much needed antibodies, and a lower risk of gastrointestinal infection. It also reduces the hospital cost, as well as the length of time your baby will have to stay in the hospital.
Breastfed babies also have enhanced brainstem maturation, what this means is they have higher I.Q. scores later in their future. I had a son born at 31 weeks and breastfed and pumped using the Spectra S2 Breast Pump for almost 2 months, and he has had no complications with development, and is now 12 years old.
Long-term breastfeeding advantages for your baby
I think it’s also important to point out that breastfeeding also has some great long-term benefits as well. Breastfeeding your little one reduces the risk for chronic conditions like, type 1 diabetes, Celiac Disease, and even Crohn’s Disease.
More breastfeeding benefits for mom
I also wanted to take a minute to make sure mothers know that it’s not only the baby that gets some great benefits of breastfeeding, moms do too. As I mentioned above breastfeeding reduces cancer and helps you lose that baby weight, but it also has many other benefits, like faster post-delivery.
Breastfeeding helps your uterus contract after delivery, and reduces blood loss. It takes about 6 weeks for a uterus to get back to its normal size after delivery if you breastfeed. If you feed formula it will take 10 weeks.
Mothers that breastfeed have a reduced risk of developing postmenopausal osteoporosis. Apparently when your breastfeeding your body absorbs calcium more effectively.
Bonding and feeling that connection to your baby
Has anyone every told you how amazing you feel after you breastfeed your baby, not only will you build a relationship and bond with your baby more closely but you feel amazing. There are so many mothers that feel a like they have accomplished something after they have breastfed for a full year.
You look back and think wow, I did it. It’s also amazing to know you helped your baby grow and thrive, and you added all these extra advantages of breastfeeding while doing it. Also the physical closeness, skin-to-skin contact, and eye contact also help you baby bond with you and feel secure.
Throw out your Tampons, can I get an AMEN
This was all the motivation I needed to breastfeed. Ha-ha! If you can breastfeed with no supplementing you will delay ovulation in most cases. Which means throw out your tampons and enjoy your mentation vacation!
This is how it works breastfeeding cause you to release prolactin, which keeps you from producing estrogen and progesterone so ovulation isn’t triggered. Eventually you will have to break out the tampons, but enjoy the several months you have without it.
While you at it throw out the condoms too
Ok maybe not throw them out, but breastfeeding can be 98% to 99% effective as a birth control option. There are some rules you have to follow though. You have to feed or at least pump every 4 hours around the clock. After 6 months this method isn’t as effective, and you must not have started your period.
Saving money and time
Formula is expensive! Formula cost $130 to $500 a month, that is a whopping $1,600 to 6,000 a year. YIKES! So, how much does breastfeeding cost? Well you will need breast pads about 4 dollars a box. Well that is it, unless you want a breast pump. Breast pumps range in price from really cheap to that is my house payment.
Ha-ha! Oh yea, your insurance provider will also usually cover the breast pump. So make sure you check into that before you go out and buy one. It saves you money because you don’t have to buy bottles, nipples, bottle drying racks, or bottle warmers.
However, if you have trouble breastfeeding or latching, and need an immediate solution to continue providing breastmilk for your baby, getting a breast pump will be the next best alternative.
As mentioned above, Our number 1, and only recommendation for a hospital-grade breast pump to solve all your breast pumping issues is the Spectra Baby USA S2. Investing in a good breast pump is the smartest way to save lots of money, as compared to buying formula milk every month.
Among all the advantages of breastfeeding your baby, you also save a lot of time. You won’t need to measure formula, sterilize nipples or bottles or wait for them to warm up.
It can make you money
I did just say it can make you money. If you have ever used formula you know that stuff stains clothes. Once you get the formula stains on them they are ruined. Plus, formula smells horrible. Breastfeeding can make you money, because you won’t get the nasty stains on them and you can resell them.
If they have nasty formula stains on them no one will want to buy them. Also when your baby has what I call a blow out, breastfed babies stools are easier to get out and don’t leave huge stains either.
There is literally nothing more simple that pulling up your shirt to nurse your baby. You don’t have to pack any gallon jugs of water, or cans of formula. You don’t have to warm the bottle up and then test to make sure it’s not too hot.
Breast milk is always ready and the perfect temperature. Not to mention night time feeding, it is so much easier to just put your baby on your breast than getting up and preparing and warming up a bottle.
I know you are wondering how can breastfeeding make me friends? Especially when I said that moms are often shamed for breastfeeding. There are tons of support groups for moms that are breastfeeding, you can talk to the moms, meet at each other’s house and talk about what has or has not worked for you.
There are even Facebook groups. I have even found Facebook groups for a milk exchange. I will get into that a little later. When you’re talking with other mothers about parenting styles, feeding or even how awful it is to feel engorged, nursing your baby will help each mother build positive relationships.
I mean it’s only natural for mom to sit around and breastfeed and talk right? Your new breastfeeding moms can also help you remember the ABCs of breastfeeding.
A = Awareness
Watch for your baby to act hungry, feed them when they are hungry. Breastfed mothers often do what we call on demand feeding. I know in the beginning it will seem like you are always feeding your baby, and that is probably because you are, it is the most difficult time in breastfeeding.
Your baby may eat upwards of 12 times in 24 hours. Some signs to be aware of that indicate you baby is hungry are, putting his/her hand towards their mouth, making sucking noises, or moving towards your breast. They say if you wait for you baby to cry he/she has gotten too hungry, so watch for the signs.
B = Be patient
let your baby nurse for as long as they want to on each side. Make sure you are not rushing your baby while they eat. On average your baby will eat 15 to 20 minutes on each breast.
C = Comfort
This has to be my favorite of the ABCs. Make sure you relax when you are breastfeeding, this cause your milk to “let down” and flow better. Get some pillows for support for your arms, back, head and neck. Use a footrest to support your legs and just look at that beautiful baby.
I know there are certain circumstances that mothers cannot breastfeed. Well your answer is the breastfeeding exchange. There are actually mothers out there that know the importance and are willing to pump their milk to feed your baby.
That way your baby still will get all the advantages of breastfeeding that you wish you could provide. They have Facebook groups and also places that test mothers for diseases and stuff so you know the milk is safe.
It’s a great alternative if you have a medical condition like an active TB, are getting chemotherapy or are on prescription drugs. Before I go further I want to say that not all prescription drugs mean you cannot breastfeed, so talk with your doctor before you make any decisions.
These mothers and groups can also help mothers that are adopting. So make sure if you can’t breastfeed you look into other options out there, before you give up and say it isn’t possible.
Don’t worry about giving your cold
If you have a cold or the flu that shouldn’t stop you from breastfeeding. Breast milk will not make your baby sick! What it will do is give your baby antibodies for that particular cold, helping your baby fight off the illness more effectively.
Knowing the Importance of Breastfeeding
According to studies published in the journal of pediatrics the united stated would save about 13 billion per year in medical cost if more mothers would breastfeed. Employers also end up suffering for increased health claims, and mothers spend less time at work caring for sick children.
Let’s not forget the cows that contribute to global warming. Dairy cows are raised to help make infant formula, and have a huge impact on global warming. Cows produce tons of methane gas, that is hurting our atmosphere.
Then of course we are not adding to the trash either. We are not using bottles, are not using up water to make the formula and we don’t have any formula can’t to throw away.
What are the benefits to dad, if mom breastfeeds?
Let’s not forget too include dad in all this. I know there are not a ton of ways that breastfeeding can benefit dad, and honestly some dads may resent the fact that they can’t feed their baby.
Here are some ways breastfeeding can work for both parents to feel involved. Moms can always pump after the baby is 4 weeks old, and he too can feel that connection with your baby. He can get up in the middle of the night to change the baby.
Daddy can also do skin-to-skin contact after mom is done feeding the baby, this will help with bonding and the baby will feel his heart beat and stay nice and warm. Cuddles are always the best part. It can also improve your relationship, what is more beautiful that seeing your wife attending to your baby with such love?
What can be more satisfying that knowing your wife is providing for and nourishment to your baby to help them thrive? Plus, not to mention daddies don’t have to wear condoms, for at least a few months. Remember the natural birth control? Yep a definite benefit, if you ask me.
Your Wife needs your Support
Another way to build that relationship with your wife is knowing she needs her husband to support her during breastfeeding. Guys, this is not easy! You are at the beck and call of your baby 24 hours a day, and in the beginning breastfeeding hurts! We need our husbands to be supportive and tell us how great we are doing.
You can build your relationship just by doing simple things like, adjusting our pillow, bringing us a drink, and helping us get that baby to latch. Sometimes it will take 2 of you to get the baby to latch right, especially when mom and baby are both just learning.
As I said before you can feed the baby too, it’s not all on mom if she can pump for you. Tell her if that is important to you and you would like that. Most moms would be glad to be able to have a free moment while someone else feeds the baby.
Dads can also find other ways to bond with the baby like, taking a bath with the baby, taking him/her on a walk, or just holding them while they sleep. Dads are also more than welcome to change diapers, and remember breastfed babies’ diapers are not as nasty as formula fed babies.
All in all
All and all it’s not hard to see all of the amazing benefits that breastfeeding offers to everyone in the family. Just remember no matter what anyone says or does you are doing what is best for you and your baby! You are providing what your baby needs to get off on the right foot and thrive. No one can argue with the tons and tons of research done and all the benefits to mom’s heath and baby alike.
Some of the main things that helped me decide to breastfeed are my baby will be heathier, I will lose weight faster, it reduces the risk of cancer and the risk of SIDS, and that feeling of accomplishment. I also have 5 kids, so once I had a couple kids it was out of necessity! We didn’t have the money to spend on formula and in reality I had enough to do, without needing to wash bottles and run to the store all the time for formula. So why have you chosen to breastfeed or not to breastfeed?