5 Reasons Breastfeeding is Good for Mom

Thursday, April 13, 2023

Primary Blog/5 Reasons Breastfeeding is Good for Mom

Most new moms and moms-to-be are aware of the breast feeding benefits for baby. You may have heard from your doctor that breastfeeding helps prevent allergies and ear infections. Some of you may have heard that breastfeeding can decrease the risk for childhood obesity. While these benefits are wonderful, baby is not the only one who benefits...

Did you know that breastfeeding can also be good for you as well? Here are 5 reasons why breastfeeding is not just good for your baby:

1. Breastfeeding reduces risk for postpartum hemorrhage.

The hormone, oxytocin, which is released to allow milk let-down, stimulates uterine contractions. This can cause some contractions/cramping that may be felt while breastfeeding for the first 6 weeks postpartum, but those contractions help the uterus return back to its pre-pregnancy state, and help decrease postpartum bleeding.

2. Breastfeeding can reduce cancer risk.

Breastfeeding can reduce a woman's risk for developing breast cancer or ovarian cancer later in life. Breastfeeding for longer than 6 months can reduce a woman's exposure over her lifetime, to hormones such as estrogen, which can contribute to hormonal-driven cancers. When you breastfeed, you also shed breast tissue, which can help cell turnover and potential DNA damage.

3. Breastfeeding reduces risk for postpartum depression.

Breastfeeding releases oxytocin, that same feel-good hormone that is present when we're in love, or doing something we enjoy, and the same hormone that helps get the baby out, also helps us feed our babies. Many mothers report a feeling of fulfillment with breastfeeding. More importantly, if a mother wants to breastfeed, having adequate support to be successful in their journey can help prevent depressive symptoms that may develop if a mother stops breastfeeding before she is ready. I can say firsthand, that if not for the support I had received, I likely would have developed PPD as breastfeeding was something I really wanted.

4. Breastfeeding reduces risk for Type II Diabetes.

Breastfeeding increases gastrointestinal hormones which can help improve insulin sensitivity. The state of being pregnant can change how our bodies use glucose (what much of our food is converted to for energy). This can lead to gestational diabetes, which is why when we're pregnant we all get to drink a sugary beverage and have our blood drawn near the end of the second trimester, or sooner. Insulin is a hormone that helps our cells use glucose for energy. When we are pregnant, elevated levels of estrogen, along with hormones produced by the placenta can block insulin, increasing insulin resistance. The act of the baby suckling, during breastfeeding, can help increase the efficacy of insulin and improve the body's glucose-storage abilities, returning insulin activity back to its pre-pregnancy state.

5. Breastfeeding is convenient, and free (kind of)!

This is a good one! While breastfeeding can take some practice, after all, you and baby have to learn this together, once you and baby get the hang of it, breastfeeding can be incredibly convenient. There is no worry about access to clean water to mix formula, carrying around bags of formula, cleaning and sanitizing bottle parts, or running out of formula when you breastfeed. Breastfeeding is also much cheaper, over the long run, compared formula. Breastfeeding is not completely free - many of us invest in a breast pump, manual pump, nipple creams, breast pads, nursing bras, not to mention lactation support and classes to help us on our journeys. However, in the long run, the cost of breastfeeding is much lower than that of formula. Formula can cost anywhere from $60 to over $200 per month. And those middle of the night feeds can become much easier when you don't have to mix up a bottle. Breastfeeding does not continue to require that level of investment. 

If breastfeeding is important to you, or something you want to try, I encourage you to reach out for support. There are some great benefits, but it doesn't always come easy at first, and that is why lactation consultants are ready and eager to help you achieve your breastfeeding goals and provide you with support and encouragement on this wonderful and exciting journey!

Photo credit: Lauren Wright Photography

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Hi, I Am Donielle

CEO Of Breast to Table

I am a registered dietitian and international board certified lactation consultant. I am also a mom of two. I had a very difficult breastfeeding journey with my oldest and after much support and education, I realized my desire to help others in their journeys. My expertise is in helping women optimize their nutrition during pregnancy, postpartum and throughout their breastfeeding journey. I also help families introduce solids to their little ones through a baby-led approach. I love working with families from preparing the body for breastfeeding, to eating solid foods and weaning - providing support from breast to table.