Benefits for Mom and Baby
Your milk is amazing stuff! Your body makes it just for your baby, it's designed for your baby's age and it is by far the best thing for him. Formula is a poor substitute and should only be used if you cannot breastfeed or when medically necessary.
Best for Baby
Your breast milk contains the perfect combinations of nutrients for your baby – over 100 of them! These nutrients change according to your baby’s needs. A newborn needs a higher level of fat than a six month old. Your body knows that and adjusts appropriately.
- Your breast milk contains large amounts of antibodies from your body. These antibodies help your developing baby to resist illnesses. They also improve your baby’s immune system. It has been shown that breastfed babies have fewer incidences of a host of illnesses including: asthma, pneumonia, diarrhea, ear infections, allergies, SIDs, childhood cancers, multiple scleroses, Crohn’s disease, diabetes, appendicitis, and obesity.
- Hormones in your milk create a feeling of sleepiness and general well-being. This can help soothe a colicky or teething baby and help get baby to sleep after a feeding.
- Breastfeeding helps with brain development. Breastfed babies score an average of 6 points higher on IQ tests than formula fed babies.
- Breastfeeding is psychologically good for baby and promotes bonding with mom. Bottles can be propped, but you can’t prop a breast. Even if you are reading or checking email while you breastfeed, your baby is still getting the benefit of the warmth and security of snuggling close to your body. By the time a baby is old enough to hold a bottle, many self-feed.
Best for Mom
- Easy weight loss! Breastfeeding burns extra calories, 200-500 a day. Let other women sweat it out at the gym, all you need to do is cuddle up with your baby.
- Breastfeeding is free. Formula costs about $40 a week. That is over $2,000 in the first year! And on top of that there are bottles, nipples, liners and the like, all of which you have to buy and then keep clean.
- Breast milk is always there. No mixing formula or waiting for it to heat up while baby screams inconsolably. No worries about running out in the middle of the night or not having enough with you when you are out and about.
- Breastfeeding is a natural form of birth control. Nursing on demand, rather than scheduling feedings, suppresses ovulation.
- The release of the hormone Oxytocin while breastfeeding promotes feelings of calm, well-being, and love for your baby.
- Breastfeeding is good for your health. Breastfeeding helps the uterus return to normal size faster and prevents hemorrhaging. Women who breastfeed have fewer incidences of osteoporosis and some kinds of cancers including breast and ovarian cancer. For pre-menopausal women, the longer a woman breastfeeds, the lower her risk of developing breast cancer.
For the Planet
- Formulas are made with either cow’s milk or soy. There are issues of cows overgrazing and chemicals being used to grow soy.
- Formulas and bottles must be manufactured and packaged, all of which takes energy and resources. They must then be shipped to stores. Consumers use fuel to get to the stores to purchase the formula.
- The plastics used to make bottles and liners may contain chemicals, which can be leached into formula.
- Packaging and old bottles must be disposed of.
So, remember, every time baby latches on, you aren’t just feeding him, you are nurturing him in countless ways, doing good things for your own body, and helping the planet!