Alright ladies I will not sugarcoat it for you, the first few months of breastfeeding can be difficult. Anyone who tell you it’s so easy in the beginning obviously hasn’t had a baby struggle with latching, low milk supply or even mastitis (it's awful).
What I can promise is even though breastfeeding can be a challenge and a job all on its own the benefits for your newborn outweigh the negatives. So whether you pump, breastfeed or even do both, breast milk is by far the best choice for your newborn. So here is a look at why breast milk is better than formula.
10 Easier on Digestion
I’m sure most new moms have heard breastfed babies have to be nursed more often. So while this may seem like a major negative, it isn’t.
Breast milk is easier for a baby to digest, which is why you will have to nurse your new baby every 2-3 hours. There is a superb reason for this. Breast milk has more of the protein whey then formula does. This protein allows babies to digest more quickly. This is good thing as it is easier on your baby’s digestive system.
To be honest as well some formula babies eat every 2-3 hours as depending on how fast their metabolism is. So how often you feed your child depends really on them. But by giving your child breast milk your deciding to make it less uncomfortable for them to metabolize their food.
9 Helps Resist Illness
No parent wants their baby to be sick. When a baby is under a year, anytime they get sick it is essential to make sure they do not become dehydrated. This can happen fast and sometimes medical attention is needed.
But the great news is breast milk keeps your baby healthy making them less likely to get sick. When a baby is introduced to a new germ, a mother’s breast milk will create antibodies to that germ. Which means your baby will get the antibodies need to resist the illness.
I can tell you from personal experience that even when you become sick, your baby will either not get sick at all, or just get a mild version of what you had. The best thing you can do for your baby even when you are sick is to continue to breastfeed. This milk makes it possible for your baby to have a strong immune system.
8 Lowers Sudden Infant Death Syndrome
One of my biggest fears as a new mom was SIDS. But according to Healthday News exclusively breastfeeding a baby can lower the risk of SIDS by up to 73%.When your child is breastfed they are more easily aroused since they need to eat more often.
So while every new parent wants a good night sleep, that increases the risk of SIDS. So when you’re getting upset that your baby wakes up every 2 hours to nurse, be happy that they are. Their ability to digest so quickly is lower the chances of SIDS.
A second reason is breast milk helps to reduce illness, which is another reason why SIDS affects babies who sleep through the night more often than breastfed babies. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends mothers to breastfeed for at least the first 6 months and continue for the first year with supplemental foods. The evidence is clear breast milk saves a baby’s life.
7 Baby Will Be Smarter
Every parent thinks their child is smart. Well now scientist have stated that babies who are breastfed longer than 6 months score 3.8 points higher on an IQ scale than bottle-fed babies. This study was done over the course of seven years in Jagiellonian University Medical College in Poland. Professionals believe the DHA found in breast milk is the cause to the raised intelligence level.
Which is why many baby formulas have included this in their products. Regardless of how breast milk helps to make your baby smarter, the only way this can happen is if you only give breast milk for 6 months or longer.
I haven’t met a parent yet that doesn’t want their child to be a genius. The truth is the nutrients found in breast milk are difficult for commercial formula companies to replicate. In fact, breast milk promotes a more chemically balanced brain composition.
6 It Cost Nothing
Who doesn’t want something to be free? Frankly, to be honest babies are expensive. They come with so much stuff! So if you want to save money then breast milk is by far the cheaper choice.
The cost of formula can range from $60-100 a month. Remember as your baby gets older they will drink more formula, so the cost will continue to increase. There is also the possibility that your baby could be allergic to standard formula and need a more expensive alternative, such as soy. If that happens your formula cost can increase.
Parents can save money by using coupons, buying in bulk or even using powder instead of liquid. No matter how you try to save when purchasing formula, the cost will never be better than free. Women who give their baby breast milk are not only giving them the best formula possible, but the cost is nothing!
5 Lowers Obesity Risks for Mother and Child
The stress of losing your pregnancy weight is real! All I wanted was my post pregnancy body. Well, breast milk actual can help mothers lose those extra pounds. When nursing or even pumping you are losing the fat you gained while pregnant.
For parents who are formula feeding, those new mothers tend to keep that extra fat longer. Studies have shown by nursing your baby longer determines how much longer the mother will take to lose the weight on their own.
Also, babies who breastfeed are less likely to eat more than they need, which means that those babies are learning at a young age to follow their internal cues. Unlike formula-fed babies who are told by their parents to finish a feeding.
Being formula fed means adult makes the decision of how much their baby is eating. The only way you can lower the risk of obesity in both mother and baby is to provide breast milk for six months or longer. This will help your child maintain a healthy weight as they get older.
4 Type 2 Diabetes
So the perks of breast milk keep getting a little better. For moms who exclusively give their baby breast milk for longer than 6 months, there is a 54% lower risk of developing diabetes. The reasoning behind this is simple. Lactation gives your body a chance to take a break from making insulin-producing cells.
Erica Gunderson, a senior research scientist at with Kaiser Permanente North California, states that breastfeeding allows a mother’s body time to recover from the pregnancy.
After you deliver your baby, it's normal for the body to go into overdrive to produce insulin to keep blood sugar levels under control. By lactating, your body need not worry about producing too much glucose, because it's being transferred to your milk production. Who knew that breastfeeding would be a great reset for your body.
If you think about it, being pregnant does cause a major hormonal shift to a woman's chemical balance.
3 Soothe Babies to Sleep
Breastmilk has been known to give a soothing sleepy effect, which means after your baby nurses they will usually go right to sleep. What new mom doesn’t want that? Breastmilk can also help to ease teething and even colic.
In most cases breastfed babies do not get colic based on the nutrients they get from their mother’s milk. I can tell you from personal experience once your baby nurses they will have this cute little sleepy look in their face. Sometimes they even fall asleep while nursing. It’s so adorable to watch.
Regardless of whether you nurse or give them breast milk from a bottle, your milk provides a specific comfort to your child. So on days where you feel powerless to calm your baby down just remember that magical liquid your body makes.
2 No Period
I will admit it, I loved not getting my period. I don’t know one woman who loves getting a period. Well here’s the good news, most women if they nurse or pump daily can delay their ovulation. Which means no period!
Breastfeeding releases prolactin which keeps your estrogen and progesterone at bay so no ovulation. But remember ladies, this does not mean you cannot get pregnant again. In fact, if you do not want to get pregnant than make sure you use some form of contraception.
If you're nursing and using estrogen based birth control, this is a serious no-no, so make sure you talk to your doctor. There are pills you can take to prevent pregnancy while nursing, make sure to talk to your doctor if you don't want to get pregnant again any time soon. Still, the good news is most moms can be period free for 11 weeks or until they stop nursing.
I went an entire year without my period since I breastfed daily! I don’t know about you but that’s some serious incentive to uses breastmilk over formula.
1 Reduces Constipation
Constipation can be a very painful and uncomfortable for a baby to go through. With formula-fed babies, constipation is more likely to occur do to the fact it can firm up poop. To make it worse your child can even have a milk protein allergy to baby formula which can also cause severe constipation.
Breast milk does the opposite for your baby. A mother’s milk is designed to be easier to digest which means that your baby will poop more often. While that doesn’t sound like a great thing, I promise it is. The easier it is for your baby to poop, the more comfortable they will be. So no constipated baby means they will be happier.
Regardless, it is important to check and track your baby's stool from how often, to how it looks. This way you know of when your child is constipated. I also forgot to mention breast milk poop doesn’t smell!
Breast milk has been the number one choice for most mothers as a way to feed their baby. At one point in time it was the only option available. Thanks to research, more women are deciding to nurse their babies for more than 6 months. The benefits outweigh the negative not just for your baby, but for you as well.