The benefits of breastfeeding are pretty incredible. It’s almost like nature designed the perfect system, handed it to us for free, and said have at it.
That said, it’s not always easy right away. At Juna, we like to give it the 6 weeks rule. (You can listen to Sarah talk to Kara Hardin about this in the Juna Women Podcast – Episode 001).
Just don’t give up before 6 weeks. If you can stick in for that long, you’ll find that all of the craziness associated with breastfeeding – trouble latching, bleeding nipples, engorged breasts, painful placenta contractions — all go away by about 6 weeks.
By then your routine will be established and you’ll have it down and reap all of the benefits, some of which are:
Reducing The Risk of Disease
The cells, hormones, and antibodies in breastmilk help protect babies from illness. This protection is unique and changes every day to meet your baby’s growing needs.
Research shows that breastfed babies have lower risks of:
- Leukemia (during childhood)
- Obesity (during childhood)
- Ear infections
- Eczema (atopic dermatitis)
- Diarrhea and vomiting
- Lower respiratory infections
- Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)
- Type 2 diabetes
Enhancing Bonding and Emotional Connection
Your newborn also benefits from the physical closeness of nursing. Thrust from the close, dark womb into an overwhelming experience of bright lights, loud noises, and new smells, your baby needs the reassurance of your continued physical presence.
By holding him safe in your arms and giving nourishment from your body, you offer him a sense of continuity from pre- to post-birth life. Gazing into your eyes, your baby comes to understand that he is loved and protected and that you are there to provide for his needs as he adjusts to this new world.
Providing Your Baby With All The Essential Nutrients He/She Needs.
Human milk provides virtually all the protein, sugar, and fat your baby needs to be healthy, and it also contains many substances that benefit your baby’s immune system, including antibodies, immune factors, enzymes, and white blood cells.
These substances protect your baby against a wide variety of diseases and infections not only while he is breastfeeding but in some cases long after he has weaned. Formula cannot offer this protection.
On average, the cost of feeding a newborn formula for the first year of life is an estimated $1,733.75. Families who breastfeed can save between $1,200 to $1,500 in the first year alone, according to the U.S. surgeon general.
Helps You Lose Weight
While breastfeeding, your belly should look much slimmer by the time you’re six weeks postpartum. Breastfeeding burns up to 500 calories a day. … On average, if you’re taking in the recommended amount of calories each day and breastfeeding exclusively, you should lose about 1 pound every week or two.
Better For The Environment
Breastfeeding does not waste scarce resources or create pollution. Breast milk is a naturally-renewable resource that requires no packaging, shipping, or disposal.
How Long Should I Breastfeed?
The American Academy of Pediatrics reaffirms its recommendation of exclusive breastfeeding for about 6 months, followed by continued breastfeeding as complementary foods are introduced, with continuation of breastfeeding for 1 year or longer as mutually desired by mother and infant.
What If My Baby Won’t Latch?
You can always use a pump to help keep your milk supply up and then bottle feed your baby. While, it’s preferred to have the skin to skin contact and feed directly from the breast, sometimes women are unable to sustain breastfeeding for a variety of reasons. At Juna, we strongly recommend investing in a good breast pump. Here is one of our favorite:
What Types of Breast Pumps are There?
There are four main categories of breast pumps:
- Hospital-grade breast pumps: These heavy-duty pumps feature powerful motors and a greater amount of “sucks” per minute. They extract milk quickly and are generally fairly quiet, but they’re bulky and lack easy portability. Hospital-grade pumps are usually rented, as they are upwards of $1,000 to purchase.
- Electric breast pumps: Efficient, portable and adjustable for both suction and speed. While all require electricity to function, some models feature rechargeable batteries, giving you the freedom to pump without being tethered to an outlet. Electric pumps also typically come with a carrying case and cooler for milk transport, making them a popular choice for working moms. Single electric breast pumps are available, but a double pump is the more popular—and more efficient—choice.
- Wearable electric breast pumps: Gaining in popularity over the last few years, wearable breast pumps are just what they sound like—a hands-free, completely portable breast pump that you can wear right in your bra. The pump is made up of pump “cups” that fit over each breast, flanges and milk bags. Wearable pumps let you pump discreetly and in many different positions, anywhere.
- Manual breast pumps: These breast pumps use the pressing motion of your own hand to create suction and pump your milk. Some are easy to operate with one hand, while others require two hands. Because they lack a motor, these pumps are quiet and small (about the size of a bottle), making them a good choice for travel or for occasional pumping.