Breastfeeding Support & Resources
By now you likely know all the
wonderful things breastfeeding does for
your baby, but did you know that natureís most perfect feeding system is
as beneficial for you as it is for your little one? Here are some of the
many ways nursing your baby can improve your life, emotionally and
The release of breast milk has a
soothing effect on your body, stimulating the production of
Ŗ-endorphins, chemicals that bring on feelings of peace and relaxation
and suppress anxiety and irritability. Nursing also requires you to sit or lie
quietly with your infant many times throughout the day, encouraging you
to rest and refuel.
Those same natural chemicals - and the time spent holding your child
-promote feelings of affection, well-being, and intimacy that help you
bond with your baby. That connection is important not just in the early
weeks, when you are getting to know each other, but also later on when
you may be returning to work and spending more time away from your
Breastfeeding releases a hormone that
stimulates your uterus to contract, helping control blood loss and
return to its pre-pregnancy shape. Nursing also helps return you to your
pre-pregnancy shape - and keep you there - by burning 200 to 500
calories a day, the equivalent of swimming 30 laps or biking for an
hour. This natural weight-loss program is unusually effective, providing
not just relatively rapid but also lasting results.
Women who breastfeed are 75
percent less likely to develop osteoporosis than women who feed their
babies formula. While most mothers lose a small amount of bone mass
during nursing, within months of weaning, their bodies have replaced it
with new, denser, stronger bone.
Reduced cancer risk
Women who have nursed their babies are
less likely to develop breast cancer, ovarian cancer, and uterine cancer
than women who have never breastfed. Some of this protection has been
shown to grow over time, increasing with the number of months or years a
Nursing simplifies your life by
eliminating the need to plan and prepare food for your infant. Whether
you are at home, out and about, or just trying to get a good nightís
sleep, breast milk is ready at
a momentís notice, in the perfect quantity, at just the right
temperature, and in the ideal formulation for your child.
A healthier family
Because your breast milk contains
powerful antibodies, your baby will have an easier time fighting off
illnesses, which means you will spend less time caring for a sick child.
This reduces stress for the whole family, whether you are at home with
your child or returning to work.
More money for you
Breastfeeding saves you plenty over the cost
of bottles and formula - as much as $1,400 a year, according to our
calculations. Thatís money you can spend on other things, like taking
care of yourself so that you can better take care of everyone else!
Charlotte Meryman is editor of Parenting from the