A popular opinion says that breastfeeding is a great sacrifice on woman's part for baby's good. The truth is this way of feeding is advantageous not only to the baby but also to the breastfeeding mum.
The nature arranged it so wisely that the breastfeeding mum invests both in her baby's and her own health. How is it possible? After all, she has to get up in the night to feed the baby (and nobody can replace her!), and, moreover, if the baby turns out to be allergic to anything, she must pay attention to what she eats. She also must be near her baby all the time... And yet, nevertheless, breastfeeding is definitely the most comfortable method for feeding the baby that is also very healthy for the nursing mum. Here you will learn why.
When the newborn sucks the breast, it stimulates production of oxytocin, the hormone not only controlling milk letdown, but also responsible for faster shrinking of the uterus back to its normal size during the puerperium. This way, the puerperium in the breastfeeding mum passes faster, more efficiently and safely, as the risk of postpartum hemorrhage is reduced.
A few days after childbirth, majority of women undergo postpartum depression, a difficult emotional condition manifested as depressed mood, feeling uncertain in the new role, various fears and worries, together with enormous weariness. A breastfeeding woman goes through this specific phase more smoothly and copes better with the hardships of maternity. This is caused by hormones controlling lactation, which at the same time influence woman's mood, and a breastfeeding mum feels happier, has more strength, optimism and acceptance for problems related to nursing a newborn. She also has more occasions for forced rest, as nobody else can replace her at breastfeeding (while it is certainly possible at washing or at cleaning ), so she must sit or lie down, take the baby in her arms and let him suck as much as he needs.
It does not mean that only breastfeeding mums love their babies. Love does not depend on a method used to feed the baby. However, breastfeeding means more than just feeding. Breastfeeding also means an exceptional relationship, an intimate bond, and mutual dependence resulting in love. The nature has taken care of that, and hormones controlling lactation also promote a bond between a mother and her baby, ensuring his survival. Frequent latching the baby on to the breast is, at the same time, an occasion to cooperate with your own baby while learning correct grasping and suckling. Feeding on demand teaches a fast reaction to signals sent by the baby. This is why the breastfeeding mums find motherhood easier, and faster understand non-verbal messages of their baby.
After childbirth, woman's figure is usually fuller as her body prepared some stores for lactation, treated by the nature as an obvious follow up to birth. Therefore, you should not worry about this accumulated fat, you just need to breastfeed, without any supplementation, so the baby's hunger is satisfied only by suckling the breast. This is necessary for correct functioning of lactation and beneficial for mum's figure. Breastfeeding burns about 700 calories a day, so stored fat quickly melts away and mum's figure is slimmer. Breastfeeding helps many women to get the figure of their dreams! However, you mustn't treat the natural feeding as a weight loss program, because this is risky to your health. Therefore, when your figure is back to its former shape, you should eat additional 400–500 calories a day throughout the lactation period.
Usually, the breastfeeding time (similarly as pregnancy) is a special time in woman's life when for baby's sake she gives up unhealthy habits. Many mums, being aware that nicotine, caffeine and alcohol get into their milk, give up smoking, do not drink alcohol, and limit coffee and drinks containing caffeine. And it does not end with that. Breastfeeding mums usually pay more attention to their diet, ensuring their meals are fresh, chemicals-free, without excessive amounts of saturated fats, but full of vitamins.
Breastfeeding is really convenient. Mum's milk is produced automatically, you do not have to remember to buy it (and you do not need a prescription), you do not have to prepare water in a clean bottle, measure formula powder, mix, shake, heat or cool it. Milk in the breast is always ready to serve any time and anywhere: at night, at auntie's birthday party, in a park, at a doctor's or on a beach. When you have to breastfeed the baby outdoors, you do not have to take a bottle with clean water with you and, separately, formula powder to prepare the mixture, you do not have to worry about milk sterility or temperature, etc. Breast is a perfect vessel, self-filling, never empty, providing wholemeal, sterile and perfectly fresh milk, as it is freshly produced, warm, and even diversified (first water, than calories).
Can there be a more convenient and healthy way for feeding your baby? And breastfeeding practically costs you nothing. You can, of course, complain about accompanying costs, of mum's healthy diet, lactation pads, or a good bra. However, the healthy diet will lead to good health (and is good for any woman after pregnancy), and many mums buy a new bra after childbirth, even those feeding with a bottle. And the cost of lactation pads will certainly not exceed the cost of sanitary napkins, which intensively breastfeeding mums do not need for a long time. When you decide not to breastfeed, you have to buy bottles, teats, formula, water to mix the formula, food warmer, bottle boiler...
Breastfeeding is an investment in your health. And it does not only mean your figure or healthier diet. Breastfeeding for at least six months significantly reduces a risk of breast or ovarian cancer in the future, it also protects against osteoporosis. Women who breastfed for longer than nine months, less often develop arteriosclerosis or type 2 diabetes, or suffer from heart attack or hypertension. Recent studies also indicate that longer breastfeeding, at least for over a year, reduces a risk of rheumatoid arthritis. So, breastfeed for health!
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