Did you know, August is National Breastfeeding month? Breastfeeding is very beneficial to you and your baby, but is also a completely personal decision and has both pros and cons depending on your situation.
Here are a few benefits and quirky facts about breast feeding:
1. Breastfeeding can actually reduce baby’s risk of disease later in life, including:
2. Human milk boosts a baby’s immune system—helping baby fight viral, bacterial, and parasitic infections, including:
3. Breastfeeding reduces the mother’s risk of ovarian and breast cancer, heart disease, and osteoporosis. The longer she breastfeeds, the higher the benefit. And did you know, breastfeeding a baby girl actually reduces her lifetime risk of breast cancer by 25%?
4. Breastfeeding saves a family approximately $2 to $4 thousand dollars annually (compared to cost of formula).
5. Breastfeeding helps the mother heal faster in the postpartum, helping her uterus return to pre-pregnancy size faster and lowering overall postpartum blood loss.
6. Breastfeeding can help the mother return to her pre-baby weight. It takes 1,000 calories a day on average to produce breast milk. Women are advised to consume an extra 500 calories a day, and the body dips into reserves it built up in pregnancy to make the rest (it’s important to consume those extra calories or the body actually goes into “starvation mode” and holds onto the reserves).
7. Producing breast milk consumes 25% of the body’s energy; the brain only uses 20% by comparison.
8. On average, babies remove 67% of the milk the mother has available—they eat until fullness, not until the breast is emptied.
9. Almost 75% of all moms produce more milk in their right breast, whether they are right- or left- handed.
10. The mother’s body is constantly making the perfect milk for the baby. Milk changes its nutritional profile as the baby grows (milk made for a 3 month old is different than for a 9 month old). Milk can even change day to day—for example, water content may increase during times of hot weather and baby-sickness to provide extra hydration.
There are even more benefits to breastfeeding and it’s a great month to celebrate them. Happy Breastfeeding Awareness month!