Breastfeeding has both short- and long-term benefits for mothers.
When mothers breastfeed their babies, they’re providing them with all the essentials nutrients an infant needs to grow. But along with helping their babies start off on a healthy path, breastfeeding moms are also doing themselves a favor. Here are some of the benefits of breastfeeding for mothers.
Immediate Physical Benefits
As a newborn baby starts to breastfeed, he or she triggers a complex and beneficial process in the mother’s body. The act of suckling stimulates the production of the hormone oxytocin in the mother. The hormone has several functions:
- Signaling the body to begin the flow of milk to the baby
- Causing the mother’s uterus to contract, which helps prevent bleeding
- Inducing, through those contractions, the uterus to return to its normal, pre-pregnancy condition
- Helping a mother feel a deeper emotional connection to her baby
In the months right after childbirth, breastfeeding delays the mother’s return to a regular menstruation cycle. This means she conserves iron and lowers the risk of developing iron-deficiency anemia, compared to mothers who don’t breastfeed. This delay in menstruating also acts as a natural birth control method, meaning the mother can wait before returning to other methods.
Long-Term Physical Benefits
Studies have shown that women who breastfeed their babies reduce their chances of developing various illnesses or medical conditions later in life, including:
- Breast cancer
- Ovarian cancer
- Uterine cancer
- Type 2 diabetes
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
The simple act of breastfeeding can make life easier for mothers and their families and help the planet. Here’s how:
- Breastfeeding is cheaper than buying formula.
- Parents don’t have to prepare formula in the middle of the night.
- Breastfeeding mothers tend to lose weight gained during pregnancy faster than mothers who use formula.
- Breastfeeding conserves water and energy, compared to using formula.
At Lower Keys Medical Center, the health of expecting and new mothers and their infants is a top priority. We offer a variety of medical services, classes and the Cuddlebugs program. To schedule your delivery here or to register for a class, call (305) 294-5531, extension 4209.