Health Benefits of Breastfeeding for Moms

It's Not Just Good for the Baby!

Mother breastfeeding baby in living room
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Are you pregnant and trying to decide whether breastfeeding is right for you and your baby? You have probably heard all the ways that breastfeeding can benefit your newborn, but breastfeeding provides substantial health benefits to the mother as well, from a lower risk of developing certain cancers to giving you more energy. Here are some of the health benefits of breastfeeding for moms.

Lose Weight Naturally

Many women find that their baby weight seems to melt away when breastfeeding. That's because fat deposits are laid down during pregnancy for early milk productions. While breastfeeding, your body uses these fat deposits, resulting in steady weight loss.

Lower Your Cancer Risk

It's not exactly clear how, but the hormonal changes from breastfeeding could lower your risk for certain cancers. This could explain why women who have never had children are at a higher risk for ovarian cancer, breast cancer and endometrial cancer than women who have had children.

Research has found that women's breast cancer risk declines in inverse proportion to the duration of breastfeeding: That is, the longer you breastfeed your baby, the lower your risk for developing breast cancer. In addition, having a child and breastfeeding during your early reproductive life has the greatest risk-lowering effect. It is possible that the low estrogen level during breastfeeding may be the protective factor.

Lower Your Osteoporosis Risk

Osteoporosis is prevented by the fact that mineral bone density has a rebound effect following weaning. That is, while calcium is used during lactation, when the mother ceases to lactate, the body actually increases former bone density, thus protecting against later bone loss.

Experience the Pleasure of Parenting

Prolactin, the milk-producing hormone, is called the "mothering hormone" because it physiologically intensifies 'motherliness,' or the pleasurable care of a child. Psychologically, this increases the symbiotic bond between the mother and her child. In addition, prolactin has a relaxing effect, causing the breastfeeding woman to feel calm, or even euphoric, during the feeding.

Have More Energy

Breastfeeding is less time-consuming than bottle-feeding, resulting in more time to rest and recuperate. Preparation of bottles, buying formula, cleaning bottles, heating bottles and getting up out of bed to prepare for a feeding all take more energy for the mother. The amount of time spent feeding is roughly the same. In addition, a breastfeeding mom can easily pick up her baby by her side and nurse in bed, allowing both to doze on and off during the night. Thus, energy saved is energy not drained.

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