As the saying goes, “It’s not nice to fool Mother Nature”. After a few generations for which breastfeeding out of fashion, the benefits of breastfeeding have been rediscovered, and more mothers are opting to feed their babies the natural way. This is not just a “getting back to nature” trend, but the benefits of breastfeeding have been proven; the American Medical Association recommends that women should breastfeed for at least the first six months of their baby’s life. Breast milk contains all the nutrients a baby needs as well as antibodies which prevent illness. The baby also experiences emotional well-being and bonding by spending time at the breast.
The benefits of breastfeeding are not limited to providing the baby with food. Mothers also experience benefits of breastfeeding. One of the best ways of regaining one’s figure after delivery is to breastfeed. A woman can burn as many calories breastfeeding an infant “full-time” (with no formula feedings) as a long distance runner. Breastfeeding also works as a natural contraceptive, for at least the first six months of life (although it should not be relied upon as an accurate method of family planning, since conceptions can occur). The benefits of breastfeeding are also felt in the pocketbook; a woman who gives only breastmilk to her baby for the first 9 months to year after birth can save up to $1,000 in the cost of buying formula. A mother always has portable, non-perishable food for her baby, and putting a baby to the breast is a good way of ending tantrums. The benefits of breastfeeding are also psychological; breastfeeding releases a hormone in the mother which produces feelings of well-being and bonding with the baby. Mothers who work full-time can still experience the benefits of breastfeeding and can pump milk while they are away from their babies. This milk can be frozen or reheated and given to the baby by a caregiver.