I've talked about breastfeeding before, and many of you will know that I'm a peer supporter at our local breastfeeding support group. Breastfeeding is really important to me, for so many reasons and I'd love to do whatever I can do to help other people to breastfeed their babies too. So to encourage anyone who is sitting on the fence or trying to make up their mind whether to breastfeed here are my top 10 reasons why you should breastfeed.
- Breast milk is ready to go. No washing and sterilising bottles. No waiting for the milk to heat up. No running out of formula. You will have milk on tap at the perfect temperature for your baby literally whenever and wherever you are. Trust me this is important if you get stuck in a traffic jam on a motorway (has happened to me). Or if something happens to the production of your babies favourite formula and it becomes hard to find (I've also seen this happen). It means no getting out of bed to feed the baby in the night and not having to carry around a lot of extra stuff on a night out.
2. Breast milk is free. Seriously, when you are on maternity pay and have a lot of things to buy for your new baby this one is a great reason to breastfeed. Formula can be £10 a tub and you will probably get through one a week. Breastfeeding saves you an amazing £40 a month or £480 a year. Not something to sniff at.
3. It is the best food for your baby. There is simply no arguing against that in most cases. Breast milk has 300 extra ingredients that formula doesn't have. It contains antibodies that help your baby fight of illnesses and infections. The flavour of breast milk changes slightly depending upon the mother's diet, preparing a baby's palette for weaning. Breast milk also changes as your child gets older, making it the absolute perfect food for them.
4. Breast milk has amazing health benefits for baby. It can help prevent sickness and diarrohea. Babies who are breastfed get fewer ear and chest infections. It contains antibodies that help protect against diseases. Babies who are breastfed are less likely to develop type 2 diabetes or become obese. (see the NHS website for more details on these amazing health benefits)
5. Breastfeeding has amazing health benefits for you. Mothers who breastfeed are less likely to get certain cancers such as breast and ovarian cancer.
6. Breastfeeding can help you get back into shape after giving birth. Every time you feed your baby hormones are released that make your uterus contract. This really helps you get your waist back! These contractions get stronger with every baby you have. Honestly I didn't look like I had been pregnant a week after having my third baby the contractions worked so well! Breastfeeding also burns off 500 extra calories a day which will help you lose any extra baby weight.
7. It gives you an extra special bond with your baby. Of course I'm not saying that mums who bottle feed don't bond with their babies but there is something really special about feeding them yourselves. You hold them close to you, they rely on you, you get to spend much more time with them than you would a bottle fed baby. It is really the most special thing.
8. Breastfeeding reduces the chance of cot death. I am so worried about cot death, I can't honestly imagine anything worse. Studies show that breastfeeding reduces the chances of cot death which is a no brainer for me.
9. Breastfeeding can raise your child's IQ. Studies have shown that babies who have been breastfed are more intelligent. It is thought that this is down to the contents of the milk. Formula milk mimics cows milk which is designed to fatten cows and bulk them up physically. Human milk differs because humans don't need to be so fat and strong, they need to be cleverer and so the ingredients of the milk are different.
10. It will make you feel really proud. I am so proud I did the best for my babies and breastfed them. I loved having them weighed - especially Baby S who would put on a pound a week. That was all my hard work I'd think to myself. What a fantastic achievement to grow a baby from an egg and a sperm and still be providing their sole nutrition at 6 months old. It is an amazing achievement.
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