August is National Breastfeeding Month! To celebrate, let’s talk about some of the wonderful benefits of breastfeeding, for both baby and mom. Some of these benefits include stronger immune systems for baby, decreased risk of disease for moms, as well as many other benefits.
If you are a mom that is unable to breastfeed, feeding with formula will still provide all the nutrients your baby needs, so don’t worry.
Breastfeeding Benefits for Baby
Reduced Illness – Breastfeeding may reduce the risk of infection and illness. Research shows that breastfed babies have fewer colds, ear infections, allergies, and other diseases (1)(2). They even have shown to have a 50% reduced risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) after the first month (3).
Nutrient Balance – Breastmilk contains all the nutrients a baby needs for growth and development. It has the perfect balance of protein, carbohydrate, fat, and minerals while adjusting to the baby’s needs (4). It also contains antibodies, which helps the baby fight off bacteria and viruses (5).
Healthy Weight – Studies show that obesity rates are lower in breastfed babies compared to formula-fed babies (6). The reason for this may be due to more beneficial gut bacteria and higher leptin levels, which is a hormone that helps to regulate appetite (7).
Bonding – Skin-to-skin contact during breastfeeding has been shown to strengthen the bond between mom and baby. Research shows babies to have emotional benefits from this contact (8).
Breastfeeding Benefits for Mom
Quicker Recovery – Breastfeeding has shown to release higher levels of oxytocin, helping the uterus to contract back to normal size and therefore decrease recovery time (9).
Weight Loss – Women who breastfeed typically lose more weight postpartum that those who don’t (10). Although diet and exercise are still important, breastfeeding moms require an increase in about 500 calories per day and often will experience an increase in appetite and fat burning (11).
Reduced Risk of Disease and Depression – Breastfeeding helps improve mood and decrease risk of postpartum depression, research shows (12). Research has even shown breastfeeding to lower risk of breast and ovarian cancer (13). It also may be protective against metabolic syndrome and other diseases (14).
Time and Money – Breastmilk is always ready to go with no cost or prep, while formula can be very costly and requires more effort. Breastfeeding takes away the hassle of cleaning bottles, mixing, and calculating.
An Added Boost
As a new mom or mom-to-be, it’s important to eat a healthy diet of whole foods so you can pass along those nutrients to your baby. However, nutritional gaps can still happen in even the best diets. That’s where prenatal supplements come in to help provide essential nutrients, such as folate, for both mom and baby during breastfeeding.
If you’re pregnant or breastfeeding and would like high-quality supplements to help nourish you and your baby, we’ve got you covered. Take our assessment for doctor-approved supplement recommendations and convenient, daily vitamin packs delivered to your door each month.
- Duijts L, Jaddoe VW, Hofman A, Moll HA. Prolonged and exclusive breastfeeding reduces the risk of infectious diseases in infancy. Pediatrics. 2010;126(1):e18-25.
- Ip S, Chung M, Raman G, et al. Breastfeeding and maternal and infant health outcomes in developed countries. Evid Rep Technol Assess (Full Rep). 2007;(153):1-186.
- Vennemann MM, Bajanowski T, Brinkmann B, et al. Does breastfeeding reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome?. Pediatrics. 2009;123(3):e406-10.
- Jenness R. The composition of human milk. Semin Perinatol. 1979;3(3):225-39.
- Sadeharju K, Knip M, Virtanen SM, et al. Maternal antibodies in breast milk protect the child from enterovirus infections. Pediatrics. 2007;119(5):941-6.
- Koletzko B, Von kries R, Monasterolo RC, et al. Infant feeding and later obesity risk. Adv Exp Med Biol. 2009;646:15-29.
- Savino F, Costamagna M, Prino A, Oggero R, Silvestro L. Leptin levels in breast-fed and formula-fed infants. Acta Paediatr. 2002;91(9):897-902.
- Liu J, Leung P, Yang A. Breastfeeding and active bonding protects against children’s internalizing behavior problems. Nutrients. 2013;6(1):76-89.
- Prevost M, Zelkowitz P, Tulandi T, et al. Oxytocin in pregnancy and the postpartum: relations to labor and its management. Front Public Health. 2014;2:1.
- Van raaij JM, Schonk CM, Vermaat-miedema SH, Peek ME, Hautvast JG. Energy cost of lactation, and energy balances of well-nourished Dutch lactating women: reappraisal of the extra energy requirements of lactation. Am J Clin Nutr. 1991;53(3):612-9.
- Jarlenski MP, Bennett WL, Bleich SN, Barry CL, Stuart EA. Effects of breastfeeding on postpartum weight loss among U.S. women. Prev Med. 2014;69:146-50.
- Henderson JJ, Evans SF, Straton JA, Priest SR, Hagan R. Impact of postnatal depression on breastfeeding duration. Birth. 2003;30(3):175-80.
- Breast cancer and breastfeeding: collaborative reanalysis of individual data from 47 epidemiological studies in 30 countries, including 50302 women with breast cancer and 96973 women without the disease. Lancet. 2002;360(9328):187-95.
- Stuebe A. The risks of not breastfeeding for mothers and infants. Rev Obstet Gynecol. 2009;2(4):222-31.
This information is not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other healthcare professional or any information contained on or in any product label or packaging. Do not use the information from this article for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing medication or other treatment. Always speak with your physician or other healthcare professional before taking any medication or nutritional, herbal or homeopathic supplement, or using any treatment for a health problem. If you have or suspect that you have a medical problem, contact your health care provider promptly. Do not disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking professional advice because of something you have read in this article.