1. Build Babe’s Immune System.
According to the CDC, colostrum (the thick, yellow first milk that nourishes your newborn before your human milk comes in) and breast milk decreases baby’s risk of battling infectious diseases as well as common viruses, such as a cold or an ear infection. You can also pass your antibodies to baby through your milk supply.
2. Lose Pregnancy Weight.
Breastfeeding burns an average of 500 calories a day to meet baby’s needs. (That’s a whole lotta calories within the first year!) Lactating women report losing weight easier while nursing, though this is not always the case.
3. Bond with Your Baby.
Bonding over a bottle works too, especially for your partner, but the intimacy of nursing is unique, thanks in part to a boost in oxytocin, the love hormone. Studies also support breastfeeding mothers having a lower risk of developing postpartum depression. (Skin-to-skin contact is also great for bonding.)
4. Reduce the Risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
Post-neonatal mortality rates in the United States are 21 percent lower in breastfed infants.
5. Fight Certain Cancers and Diseases.
Breastfeeding decreases your risk of breast cancer and ovarian cancers. Mothers who breastfeed also have a reduced risk of developing type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and osteoporosis later in life.
6. Save Time and Money.
Infant formula costs around $150 per month, so start a savings plan for your little one (or buy yourself a present!) with the money you save by breastfeeding your baby. Also, who wants to wash bottles when you could be playing with your newborn or taking a nap?
7. Keep Feedings Simple.
No formula feeding means no bottles and no warmer necessary, so you’re ready to feed your baby any time, any place. Granted this zero-hardware perk changes if you’re using a breast pump, but less dish duty in any capacity is still a worthy breastfeeding benefit.
8. Give Your Little One a Smart Start.
Studies propose breastfed infants have higher IQs.
9. Ensure You’re Offering Custom Nutrition.
Breast milk is the best source of nutrition. As your peanut grows, your breast milk will change to meet the evolving nutritional needs of your infant. (This also applies to when baby is sick. Mama’s milk to the rescue!)
10. Prioritize Baby’s Future Health.
Health care research is continually revealing more benefits of breastfeeding and the use of human milk. Recent studies suggest breastfed babies may have less risk of obesity and lower cholesterol levels as adults.