Did you know August is National Breastfeeding Month? If you're a mom, you’ve already heard time and time again how "breast is best" and that breastfeeding has tons of health benefits for your baby (which is true!). The antibodies, cells, and hormones that come from the breastmilk and nourish your baby may actually reduce the risk of childhood ear infections, asthma, eczema, lower respiratory infections, and possibly even causes of cancer. Breastmilk has also been linked to better brain development for the baby and helps fight off germs that can cause allergies and other illnesses. The list of pros goes on and on!
Another aspect of breastfeeding you've also most likely heard about is how the more DHA you have in your breastmilk, the better. DHA is a special fatty acid found in breastmilk and vital to brain and eye development for babies. Many women take prenatal vitamins with nutrients to help boost the DHA content in their breastmilk, but how can you be sure these vitamins are truly working? That's why EverlyWell introduced an at-home health test specifically for mothers who are curious what their own DHA levels may be and whether their prenatal vitamins are helping to produce more DHA--but whether your DHA levels are low, average, or high, it is ALWAYS best to breastfeed as opposed to not breastfeed at all. Reasons to breastfeed for health benefits are endless, but did you know there are a few other reasons as well that have nothing to do with health reasons? Here are a couple you may want to share with new moms or mamas-to-be.
You can do it anywhere.
What if you forget your formula at home while out on-the-go, and your baby starts crying because they're hungry? Then what? You're left in a panic either needing to drive back home or find formula to buy and prepare as soon as possible. With breastfeeding, you can skip the stress because your formula is right there with you! Breast milk is always available and always at the right temperature. Simply pull up your shirt and nurse. And did you know breastfeeding in public is legal in all 50 states except 1 (Idaho)?
You probably already knew this, but let me reiterate: babies are expensive. Seriously. You probably never thought you’d have an entire credit card just for diapers, a budget for toys alone, and daycare costs that can sometimes be compared to college tuition. Breastfeeding is obviously cost-effective. Hey, you’ve already got the milk anyway, so why not put it to good use? You'd be saving hundreds of dollars by foregoing formula, that's for sure.
You'll form a deeper connection with your baby.
Not only are you literally connected while breastfeeding your child, but it's also the fastest way to bond with your baby. You’re giving them nourishment and comfort all while holding them close and enjoying snuggle-time. You will also learn cues and mannerisms faster from your baby since you have to rely on your own instincts and your baby's behavior to know when your baby is full.
You gain an entire new support system.
No one understands what a mother is going through more than other mothers--especially when it comes to breastfeeding--which can be difficult sometimes. Breastfeeding helps cultivate relationships with other moms; whether it's talking about parenting styles, nighttime feedings, or relating to each other about those 3am wake up calls, nursing allows women to forge positive postpartum relationships. Sometimes a new mom can feel alone in her struggle with breastfeeding, so having a community of other moms who can relate and support her can really help her confidence and relieve feelings of stress.