Benefits for Mom
Nursing doesn't only benefit your baby -- it can boost your health as well. Breastfeeding:
- Lowers your risk of breast and ovarian cancer. Studies show that women who breastfeed have less risk of these cancers later in life.
- Helps you lose pregnancy weight. Because milk production burns about 300 to 500 calories a day, nursing mothers tend to have an easier time losing pregnancy weight in a healthy way -- that is, slowly and without dieting.
- Triggers your uterus to shrink back to prepregnancy size. In fact, in the first few weeks, you might feel mild contractions while you're nursing.
- May lower your risk of osteoporosis. Research is still being done, but for now, it appears as if bone mineral density increases if you've been breastfeeding.
- Can give you some natural birth-control protection. Granted, it's not as reliable as the pill or most other forms of birth control, but breastfeeding can keep you from ovulating if your baby is feeding day and night and is less than 6 months old.
- Gives you closeness with your baby. Most moms who breastfeed cite this as the biggest benefit. Nursing is something special the two of you share. You and baby exchange looks, noises, and cuddles during a nursing session, and communicate love to each other.
- Saves you money. Breastfeeding is essentially free. Even if you choose to buy an electric pump, a nursing pillow, and several nursing bras, you'll still only spend about half the cost of a year's supply of formula.