You’ve heard all about breast being best for babies. It’s the natural method of feeding and something that will ensure babies have all the nutrients that they need. If you can breastfeed, doctors and nurses will encourage you to do this.
The breastfeeding benefits focus solely on the baby. After all, your baby can’t advocate for themselves, so they need someone to help. They need professionals to tell you the best way to care for them, especially in the earlier days if you’re a first-time mom!
What the experts don’t tell you is all the benefits for moms when breastfeeding. Sure enough, it’s not just the baby that will benefit from this method of feeding. Here’s all you need to know about the breastfeeding benefits for moms – and you’ve likely never heard of them before.
It Can Lower Your Risk of Rheumatoid Arthritis
Okay, so this is a condition that you may not have heard about. It is something that you may not even be that concerned about – you don’t have it yet, and neither do the people you’re close to. But that doesn’t mean you won’t get it.
This is an extremely painful type of arthritis and the one that is most likely to affect you. Your joints swell and stiffen, to the point where you lose function in them. It’s not just your hands and knees, but every part of your body that suffers. You’ll find it much harder just to walk around and do day to day tasks.
It mostly appears in women, and it’s one of those conditions that researchers are still learning about. We don’t know how or why it forms, but there are hormonal, genetic, and environmental links to it.
In short, doctors don’t really know what you can do to prevent the disease. That is except one thing: breastfeed.
Studies have shown that breastfeeding helps to reduce the risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis later in life. The study in China looked at more than 7,000 women over the age of 50 and asked a series of questions. Those who breastfed had a 50% less chance of developing this type of arthritis later in life.
Reduce the Chance of Developing Heart Disease
If rheumatoid arthritis isn’t enough to get you to think about breastfeeding for your own health, what about this other health problem? Heart disease affects more of us than we care to admit. This is especially problematic for people in their 60s and above, but you can make some slight changes to the way you raise your baby to help lower the risk.
Breastfeeding for just one year can significantly reduce the risks of developing heart disease, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. The risk drops to 10 percent just for breastfeeding for a year – that risk doesn’t lower anymore if you breastfeed for longer than that. There’s also nothing about breastfeeding for one whole year straight. That means if you have two children and breastfeed them both for 6 months each, you will get the health benefits!
There are other heart benefits to breastfeeding. Women involved in the studies also showed that their blood pressure and cholesterol levels were reduced. Women were less likely to suffer from heart attacks or strokes because of various problems with their blood flow and heart health.
It is unclear just why this is the case. It could be that breastfeeding encourages a healthier lifestyle since you want to get the best nutrients for your baby. After all, your baby gets the nutrients that your body can absorb.
The benefits could also be due to more exercise when breastfeeding since you want to remain as healthy as possible. You also reduce your alcohol intake and could focus on other lifestyle changes that will, in turn, protect your heart health.
Lower Risk of Developing Diabetes
One of the breastfeeding benefits for babies is a lower risk of diabetes later in life. But it’s not only the babies that will benefit this way. The mothers have also shown a lower risk of developing diabetes at some point in their life. This applies to both Type I and Type II diabetes.
Diabetes is a debilitating condition especially when you’re still getting used to your blood sugar levels and medication (if you need to take it). It will require an overhaul of your diet in most cases and can lead to other serious health problems later in life. If you can make changes to your life early to avoid diabetes, it is worth taking the chance.
Breastfeeding helps you to change your eating habits and overall health. You will find it that your blood sugar levels remain low since you focus on food that will sustain your body for the whole day. Breastfeeding is certainly draining the energy since you’re providing food for another person – a tiny person that just seems to eat all day!
When you don’t intake as much sugar, your body doesn’t need to release as much insulin. You don’t build a resistance to it, and you will find it much easier to keep diabetes at bay. Of course, there are other health benefits linked to the heart, which help to keep diabetes at bay.
Less Bleeding After Giving Birth
The body gains blood during pregnancy to help support the baby. After birth, that blood has to go somewhere. It isn’t all removed during birth, even if you have a c-section. Instead, you expel the blood as if it was menstrual blood. It’s usually bright red, and you should find that it slows down after a week or so. But it can take a couple of weeks to dry up completely.
While this is completely normal, you can help your body get rid of the blood sooner. Breastfeeding helps to decrease the post-pregnancy bleeding. While it may continue for weeks, it won’t be as heavy, so you won’t need to go through as many pads. You may even find that you don’t need the thick postpartum pads that you did in the first week or so.
There are some major benefits to reducing the blood flow, and not just for your own sanity! One of the biggest is that you will have more energy.
Losing blood is tiring. You’re losing red blood cells, and it’s harder for the oxygen to get around your body. Most women during the bleeding part of their menstrual cycle will find they are more tired than usual. They crave sweet things because they want to replenish the energy that they are losing.
This is the same with postpartum bleeding. The difference is that the low energy levels can make the baby blues worse. They can also contribute to postpartum depression. By breastfeeding, you can increase your energy levels by reducing the blood loss, which means you lower the risk of other problems.
Fewer Periods While Breastfeeding
Like with less postpartum blood loss, when breastfeeding you will find that you have fewer periods. Your hormones change slightly, as your body provides all the nutrients necessary for your little one. This hormonal change is good.
One thing that it does is slow down your menstrual cycle. Most women find that they have no periods at all while breastfeeding and release no eggs now.
Not only do you get rid of the hassle of bleeding each month – and hoping you got your calendar right, so you’re prepared! – But you can do some family planning around it. It is possible to use it as a form of contraception, although you will be advised by a doctor to use another, more trusted form.
Your Uterus Will Return to Its Original Shape Faster
Breastfeeding tells your body that hormones need to change and that the baby has been born. Your whole body gains the notice and starts to make some changes. One of those is your uterus going back to the shape that it was before pregnancy.
This happens whether you breastfeed or not. The benefit of breastfeeding is that it will happen sooner than it would if you didn’t breastfeed.
A shrinking uterus offers a few benefits. The first is that it gets rid of that pregnant look. When Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, gave birth to her first child, women everywhere thanked her for showing off her “mummy tummy.” Sure enough, she had a small bump that made it look like she was still carrying a baby because the uterus hadn’t shrunk back to its normal size.
Every woman gets this, but very few celebrities and people in the public eye show it off. There’s this embarrassing feeling about it.
The uterus shrinking back sooner also means that the rest of your organs have some space. They’re able to return to their rightful places, so you don’t feel like you have as much indigestion or heartburn on a daily basis.
You’ll Find Your Pre-Baby Body Comes Back Sooner
It’s not just the uterus shrinking that will help with this. Breastfeeding has been linked to better weight loss. However, it’s important to note that not all women do lose weight quickly by breastfeeding.
When you breastfeed, the body needs to burn more calories. It is turning the nutrients into something that your baby can take and digest. This means your metabolism runs at a higher rateso you will burn far more calories daily than you did before.
Of course, that will make you hungry. You will need to eat more calories to make sure you are healthy for your baby. There’s only so much that your body will be able to take from the stores.
If you want to take up this benefit, you can focus on a healthy and balanced diet. Many diet plans with breastfeeding support will encourage you to increase some of your calorie intakes by a small amount. You’ll still create a calorie deficit, but you will have enough energy to give to your growing baby.
Exercise is good, but you will need to do the right exercises. Focus on the core muscles first and try low-intensity workouts to get your body’s strength back before you throw yourself into your old exercise routine.
It’s a Free Way to Feed Your Baby
One of the biggest benefits for moms is the cost of breastfeeding. It is completely free to do. Sure, there are breast pumps, nursing bras, shawls, and nipple creams that you can buy but they aren’t necessities. Some of them are comforts and help to shield your baby from some rude passersby – you know, the ones who think that women shouldn’t feed their child in public! – but you don’t have to go out and buy them.
If you choose to bottle feed, you will need to buy all sorts of equipment. It’s not just the bottles and the formula. You will need to buy a sterilizer, spend money on the electric to sterilize, buy the right cleaning items, and many other items.
Your baby is also more likely to suffer from trapped wind and gas when bottle feeding. Babies take in air that they wouldn’t get from breastfeeding. You may find yourself up half the night wishing that you gave breastfeeding a go.
A Potentially Lower Risk of Developing Female Cancers
There is a genetic component to cancer, along with other lifestyle factors. However, breastfeeding has shown some benefits to the health when it comes to cancer. This is especially the case for female cancers, like ovarian and breast cancer.
This is possibly due to the hormonal element of breastfeeding. You won’t have as much estrogen in the body as you would when you’re not breastfeeding. Remember, you’re not as likely to have a period while breastfeeding! It’s estrogen that has been linked to some of the female cancers.
At the same time, you focus on a healthier diet. There is a higher chance of getting plenty of antioxidants. They help to fight against free radicals in the body, which affect the cells and allow cancers cells to start growing.
Potentially Reduce the Risk of Osteoporosis and Hip Fractures
Osteoporosis is another one of those ailments that mostly affects women. There are some men who get it, but it is widely in older females. It leads to brittle bones, so hip fractures are extremely common later in life.
There are some studies that have shown some potential benefits to breastfeeding when it comes to osteoporosis. Those who breastfed in the past were less likely to develop the bone-weakening condition in their later years.
The reasons are unclear yet, but it is possibly due to the hormonal element. Shifting hormones and more menstrual cycles make it harder for the body to absorb all the nutrients. The body doesn’t get the calcium that it needs, so the bones and teeth aren’t as strong as they can be. It doesn’t matter whether you’re vegan or an animal-product drinker, you will struggle to get the calcium and vitamin D.
However, breastfeeding encourages a healthier lifestyle while reducing the nutrient loss through blood loss. Your body is able to take in more in your younger years, helping to protect your bones when you get older.
Are You Ready to Start Breastfeeding?
There are many pregnant women unsure about how they will feed their babies. They know that breast is supposedly best for the baby, but there are a lot of questions and concerns. Women worry about what breastfeeding will do to their bodies, and there is too much focus on the negatives.
Breastfeeding is extremely beneficial to both mother and child. Even just breastfeeding for six months to a year can offer some of the major health benefits later in your life. The 10 above are ones that you may have never heard of before but are worth deeply considering.