The Coolest Things About Breastfeeding

Let’s face it, breastfeeding is hard! It’s not always fun and sometimes it hurts and it certainly is not always easy.

But is it worth it?

That answer, of course, will vary from mama to mama. Many mothers cannot breastfeed for a number of reasons, but for a mother who is willing and able to give her child breast milk— the benefits are endless.

Image by shingleback under Creative Commons License

 
This is also good information for grandparents and other relatives who don’t understand why you breastfeed.

Here are the top reasons to breastfeed your baby:

  • Your first milk, colostrum, is protection against all the germs your baby is suddenly exposed to. Colostrum also works as a laxative to get his intestines working to help clean out all the meconium. It’s comforting to know that the small amount of colostrum you’re making IS enough. A newborn’s stomach is only about the size of a teaspoon!!
  • Breastmilk will meet all of your baby’s nutritional needs. Many of the vitamins and minerals in breastmilk haven’t even been discovered or named yet!
  • Your breastmilk is literally the perfect food. The composition of your breastmilk will change as your baby gets older and their nutritional needs change.
  • ANTIBODIES are the coolest things about breastfeeding, in my opinion. If you are sick, you won’t have to worry about passing your germs along to your baby. Your body is already working to protect your little one by passing along antibodies through your milk! Also, if your baby picks up some germs from some other kids at a playgroup or from a cart at the grocery store, the germs will be communicated to your body at the next nursing session and— BAM!— your body will start making specialized antibodies to keep your baby from getting sick. Awesome! More about immunities and breastfeeding. 

(This isn’t to say breastfed babies don’t get sick. They do, but less often and for shorter periods than babies who are not breastfed.)

Image by Daquella manera under Creative Commons License

  • Breastmilk has SO many uses! Does your baby have acne on his face? Spray some breastmilk on it. A stuffy nose? Spray a few drops of some breastmilk up his nose! Pink eye? Put a few drops of breastmilk in his eye. Rub a little breastmilk on a bug bite to relieve itchiness. Ear infections! Cradle cap! Diaper rash! Breastmilk is liquid gold and can help treat or cure so many ailments. And if you have sore or cracked nipples from breastfeeding, you can just put some milk on them to promote healing and keep them from getting too dry. How awesome is that?
  • Image by hugabub under Creative Commons License

    You simply cannot overfeed a breastfed baby. A breastfed baby will nurse until they are full, not until your breast is empty, like a bottle. On average, a baby empties 67% of the milk you have available at any time. Because of this, breastfed babies are less likely to become obese when they’re older.

  • Of course you can bond while feeding a baby with a bottle, but a breastfeeding mother and her infant bond chemically as well. Your body will produce oxytocin and release prolactin, allowing both you and your baby to relax and feel comforted.
  • Your baby isn’t the only one who benefits; you benefit too. In my opinion, the coolest is that breastfeeding mamas have less of a chance of getting cancer! Breastfeeding also makes your uterus contract, bringing it back down to its pre-pregnancy size faster. This ensures you have less of a chance of a postpartum hemorrhage. Breastfeeding lowers your risk for osteoporosis, too.
  • By the way, breastfeeding burns a ton of calories— about 500 per day!— so many mamas will likely lose their baby weight faster if they are breastfeeding.

There are countless more benefits, but I think these are the coolest. Breastfeeding isn’t only a way of feeding your baby, it’s a way of parenting.

Personally, I am a mother breastfeeding a baby and a toddler. I speak from my own knowledge and my own experience. I am currently in the process of becoming a certified La Leche League leader. However, I am not a medical professional and I’m not medically trained in any way. Most of the information in this article comes from what I’ve learned reading the book The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding, the official La Leche League International handbook.

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17 Responses to The Coolest Things About Breastfeeding

  1. Great information! BFing rocks :) I feel so lucky and blessed that I’m able to do it.

  2. Awesome article! I totally agree with Mary Ellen, I feel so blessed that I was able to breastfeed my son for as long as I did. So many benefits for both mama and baby!

  3. Love this! Another awesome perk to breast feeding is being able to take a break from annoying relatives any time you want by saying “excuse me, I need to go feed the baby”.

    • That’s so true! When my first was a little baby, sneaking away to ‘feed the baby’ was a saving grace when visiting in-law relatives. ;)

  4. Thank you for spreading the benefits of BFing! It’s such an amazing and beautiful thing, and it needs more positive light shed!

  5. Another favorite perk was being able to ditch the diaper bag since I wasn’t dragging around anything for feeding. And never had to worry if I brought enough if I got stuck somewhere longer than expected. It was so easy having an unlimited supply (within reason) of the perfect baby food directly on tap at just the right temperature with me at all times

  6. So tired of this … Breast is best … Blah blah blah … formula fed babies bond with their moms…they may also have very high IQ’s…they aren’t always sick….they don’t develop diabetes because you didn’t breast feed them….children become obese when they are older because they may have poor diets and aren’t exercising not because they were bottle fed as a baby …my god people…thus debate is old and tiresome …. Stop pitting one against the other and allow a mom to make her choice … One that is best for her and her baby !!?

    • Thanks so much for your comment S!

      Cassie has absolutely no intention of pitting formula mamas against breastfeeding mamas. Every mama has to choose the best she can for her baby. She is simply here to share the benefits of breastfeeding for both mama and baby. It’s surprising how many mamas aren’t educated on these benefits when they are pregnant.

      There are scientific studies that prove many of the points she has listed above. Of course bottle-fed babies bond with their mamas, there is no question about it. Of course not all formula fed babies will become obese or have diabetes.

      But the “breast is best” claim isn’t a debate anymore. It is scientific fact that breastmilk IS best for babies. But when a baby can’t have breastmilk, for whatever reason, we are SO incredibly thankful that there are other feeding options for mamas and babies. And any amount of breastmilk that a baby gets is a benefit to both mama and baby, even if it’s just a few days, a few weeks, or a few months. It’s not an “all or nothing” kind of thing.

      You’re right, every family should do what is best for them. In the end, what works is what is BEST.

    • I totally agree with Alex, and I’m sorry to hear you’re ‘tired of it’, S… even though you seem to be educated on the benefits of breastmilk.
      I’m not saying formula isn’t great- formula is AMAZING science… the fact that a mother has a choice of whether or not to breastfeed (or a back-up plan in case she can’t) is such an incredible privilege of our time- it wasn’t even an option 100 years ago.
      Formula is not poison and I don’t mean to make it out to be so. Every mother needs to make the choice of how to feed their baby. My hope is that more mothers are better educated on why breastmilk is best. We all just want to do what’s best for our children, and educating each other will help other moms make informed decisions.
      Thanks for the comment, S, and for reading MSW!

  7. When I had my 6 wk PP checkup, I got “in trouble” for losing so much weight, when all I had done was breastfeed!:P

  8. YAY BFing!! Hated it with my first son but am loving it with the second :)

  9. Don’t forget that breast milk is FREE, and there’s no need to pack any gear for feeding, sterilize bottles, warm it up, or wash bottles after. The ultimate in convenience!

  10. love reading this as an encouragement. I have a condition which makes it hard to breastfeed but we’re trying to do as much as we can with supplementing to help out. At 3 months we’re still doing half feeds on breast (8 weeks longer than my own mom managed with the same condition)

  11. Heather Sprunger Reply

    I love breastfeeding, but like you say, it’s incredibly hard. Even at 10 months pp, it’s still hurts sometimes. But, knowing how good it is for baby makes it worth every single moment. Both the ups and the downs.

  12. Love this article! Thanks for the info!

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  14. The part about BM being a cure for many ailments is true! My son had a clogged tear duct, the dr prescribed us 2 different eye drop medicines that did not work, she said the symptoms could come and go until he is 9 months old. One day I put a few drops of BM in his eye when he was 4 or 5 months old and we never had an issue with it again. The dr was even surprised.

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