100 Reasons Why Breast is Best – Part One (the First 25)

Share the goodness...Share on Facebook207Pin on Pinterest24Tweet about this on Twitter11Share on Google+0Share on StumbleUpon0

Breast is Best Wmk

Welcome to the Breastfeeding Support Blog Party! Bloggers around the world have gathered together to share posts which provide current or soon-to-be breastfeeding mothers with a wealth of well-researched information, personal stories, and statistics designed to help you have the most successful breastfeeding experience possible. Be sure to scroll to the bottom of this post to learn more about this movement as well as to link to and read more informative breastfeeding support posts.

*******

Breastfeeding is the way that babies get nourishment from their Mommas.

Baby cries.  Momma feeds them.

But is that all that breastfeeding is for?

There’s some buzz in the whole foodie community that if mom isn’t getting good enough nutrition, then maybe breastfeeding isn’t the best way to go.

I completely disagree.

Here are 25 reasons why breastfeeding your baby is the best decision to make–if at all possible.  With more reasons on the way.

I’d have put all 100 in one post, but it’s just waaay too much information to read in one sitting.

So–here goes….and here’s hoping I can get to 100 :).

1. Breastfeeding meets the child’s built in emotional needs

God made it so that a baby will want his mother. When baby is hurt, upset, etc., the little one wants mama. There are many studies showing babies need lots of touch. In my opinion, the best relief comes when the child is reconnected to his mother the way he was just after birth.  Nursing. Mom is a real anchor for the child’s soul. (Source)

2. Breastfeeding Saves time

The last thing I had time to do when I had a nursling around was to spend time sterilizing and preparing bottles. Mom’s milk is always the best temperature, and the package is always ready :).

3. Breastfeeding Tightens the uterus after childbirth

“The uterus of non-breastfeeding mothers will never shrink back. It will always remain slightly enlarged” (Chua S, Arulkumaran S, Lim I et al. “Influence of breastfeeding and nipple stimulation on postpartum uterine activity.” Br J Obstet Gynaecol 1994; 101:804-805).

4.  Breastfeeding is cheaper than formula-feeding

This goes without saying. Even if mom eats a nutrient dense diet, it is far cheaper for mom to eat well than to buy formula.

5.  No need to buy menstrual products

This is true for most breastfeeding moms, for at least a good amount of time.  Breastfeeding, especially on-demand, will keep your menstrual cycle at bay for quite awhile. I recall reading that nursing your baby between the hours of 1am and 6am would tend to prevent most mom’s cycles from returning.

6.  Easier to Manage Food Allergies

It is so much easier to manage a little one’s allergies by changing mom’s diet than by trying to find a formula. I told our breastfeeding and food allergy story in Eczema and Food Allergies-From Despair to Healing. Food allergies are on the rise–and what’s a bottle-feeding mum to do if baby is allergic to cow’s milk, goat’s milk, and then soy? Breastfeeding gives you all the options you need.

7. Nourishment for an ill child.

So many times, my kiddos would get sick and they wouldn’t eat or drink anything. But they would nurse for comfort during their sickness, and they’d nurse themselves to sleep. I was sooo grateful at those times that I had pushed through the tough times of breastfeeding. Without it, they would likely have ended up in the hospital when ill due to dehydration. They’d nurse for comfort and the breastmilk would follow naturally.

8.  Helps mom lose post partum weight

Breastfeeding requires the use of 200 to 500 calories per day, on average–the equivalent of swimming at least 30 laps in a pool or bicycle uphill for an hour. Studies confirm breastfeeding moms lose more weight and keep it off better than non-breastfeeding moms. (Source)

9. Reduces Risk of Osteoporosis in Mother

Since women lose calcium while breastfeeding, many believe that breastfeeding moms have a higher risk of osteoporosis than other moms. Studies show, however, that after weaning breastfeeding mothers’ bone density returns to prepregnancy or higher levels (Sowers 1995). Lactation may even result in stronger bones and reduced risk of osteoporosis in the longterm. In fact, recent studies confirmed non-breastfeeding women have a higher risk of hip fractures after menopause (Cummings 1993). (Source)

10.  Less Postpartum Iron Loss for Mother

Breastfeeding causes some iron loss, but less is lost in breastfeeding than with the menstrual cycle that will return more quickly in the non-breastfeeding mother. “The longer the mother nurses and keeps her periods at bay, the stronger this effect (Institute of Medicine 1991). (Source)

11.  An “Easy Out” of Uncomfortable Situations

There were times when I really needed to get out of a bad situation. Saying “I need to go nurse my baby” was a very welcome means to get away.

12.  Good For the Environment

No tin formula cans or other packaging to add to the landfill.

13.  Breastfed babies just smell better

Yes, this is subjective but I think it’s pretty obvious :).

14.  Helps Mom Rest

Sometimes breastfeeding moms tote their child in a sling while nursing, but it does require a bit of extra skill to do so. Most of the time nursing moms are forced to get much needed rest several (or more) times per day.

15. Less Chance of Multiple Sclerosis in Baby

It appears breastfeeding needs to continue for at least 4 months for this protective effect. (Source)

16.  Breastfed Baby’s Have Higher IQs

There are other articles stating that the reason breastfed babies have a higher IQ is due to breastfeeding mothers having a higher IQ. However, this study made statistical adjustments for mother’s IQs. (Source).

17.  Breastfeeding Leads to a More Peaceful Home

The milk-making hormone, prolactin, seems to produce a calmness in mothers. Breastfeeding mothers have been shown to have a reduction in intensity of their response to adrenaline (Altemus 1995). (Source)

18.  Breastfeeding Contributes to Adrenal Health

I am making this assumption based on the above study.  If breastfeeding has a beneficial effect on stress response, then mother’s adrenal health should be better. (Source)

19. Breastfeeding May Help Prevent Chron’s Disease – Source

20.  Helps Prevent Jaundice

Colostrum, baby’s first milk, acts as a laxative and helps clear the infant’s intestines, therefore decreasing the chances of jaundice occuring. (Source)

21.  Helps Treat Jaundice

Since frequent stooling reduces bilirubin levels, frequent nursing is recommended for jaundiced babies. (Source)

22.  Prevents Post-Partum Hemorrhaging

Nursing releases oxytocin which cuts off the maternal blood supply and discourages excessive bleeding. Non-breastfeeding mothers need to be given oxytocin instead. (Source)

23.  Less Stuff to Lug Around

Breastfeeding means no carrying around bottles and packages of formula. You just need you :).

24.  More Appropriate Perception of Women’s Bodies

I think as breastfeeding becomes more prevalent, society is forced to see women’s breasts as being a functional and crucial part of babies’ health, and not just as a sexual object.

Am I the only one who is shocked at how super-scantily clad women are accepted in our culture, but breastfeeding is often considered to be indecent?

25.  Breastfeeding Prevents Breast Cancer in Mother

Source

Just to be clear–this is not meant to be a judgement against anyone who has stopped breastfeeding or finds it difficult or impossible.  It’s an encouragement to those wanting to do the best for themselves and for their baby to press ahead and try to breastfeed as long as possible.

Check out Reasons 26 – 50 at 100 Reasons Why Breast is Best -Part Two.

What Other Benefits Can You Think Of?

Photo Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/myllissa/2655516570/

*******

This gathering of breastfeeding support comes in response to the Weston A. Price Foundation’s (WAPF) continued stance on breastfeeding, which we all have a great concern with. While the WAPF does support breastfeeding as the best option for feeding babies, it does so with a caveat. Breastfeeding mothers must follow the strict tenants of the WAPF diet and mothers who are not following their nutrient dense diet recommendations would be better off feeding their babies homemade formula (based on the WAPF recipe). In addition, they are outspoken against using donor milk.

The bloggers sharing posts today are concerned with the confusion this may cause breastfeeding mothers. Not only does research support the myriad of health benefits of breast milk for babies regardless of the mother’s diet, it also outlines additional benefits of breastfeeding such as better bonding, deeper trust, and a long list of other emotional benefits. Let’s not forget the health benefits for moms!

Shared at Six Sisters’ Stuff and Frugally Sustainable.

Share the goodness...Share on Facebook207Pin on Pinterest24Tweet about this on Twitter11Share on Google+0Share on StumbleUpon0

Comments

    Speak Your Mind

    *

  1. Victoria says:

    “24. More Appropriate Perception of Women’s Bodies”

    I have never thought of that, but, in my opinion, it’s a very.good.point! Thank you, Adrienne!

    • Thanks, Victoria. I am amazed thinking of how women dressed in super skimpy outfits are considered to be appropriate, but breastfeeding is regarded as indecent. Maybe I need to add that to the post :).

  2. Great post! Very informative, very helpful.

  3. Oh, how I wish I could have breastfed my two little ones. It wasn’t that I didn’t try. I did! But, my milk never came in – never was engorged, my son went jaundice and screamed everytime I “fed” him – we did the pump and turned out I never had any milk. I was a VERY disappointed and upset Momma. My daughter I started pumping right from the start and probably produced less than an ounce – pumping every three hours. It was exhausting. My mother had the same problem as I did. But, I’m very happy for Momma’s who DO nurse. I know I would have loved it.

    Becky B.

    • Wow – no milk, Becky? That is really hard. I can only imagine how hard that must have been for you. I had tons of breastfeeding trials but that would have been much more difficult. But from reading your posts I admire what a great mom you are. Thanks for sharing.

  4. I breastfed baby 1 & 4 for 17 mths. Baby 2 & 4 for 2.5 years. I can say it was great to have that closeness with them. And when they seemed to be coming down with something I would stack my milk by downing extra vitamins and minerals.

    I am long past this stage now, but am thankful that God brought women of encouragement into my life. No one in my family ever breastfed at all.

  5. The only part of this I don’t like is your title. Breastfeeding is the biological norm, not the best, artificial feeding is substandard by definition. Watch Your Language

    While I think that mothers nutrition is very important, I support education on nutrition over the automatic jump that a mother who doesn’t have a perfect diet should use a homemade raw formula as promoted by some is wrong.

    It only makes sense that nutrition affects breastmilk. Its why I choose raw milk from grass-fed cows, meat and eggs from pastured animals. What goes in creates what comes out.

    • Megan, after reading the article it seems that the author thinks it’s a problem to say “breast is best” because it might make mothers who can’t breastfeed feel guilty, right? I hear that, but I still think we need to say what is the best choice. It’s kind of like this–if I put out there that “this kind of diet is the best kind of diet for you to eat” but a mother, for whatever reason (convenience, cost, or other reason) can’t or doesn’t choose to do that, she can still know that she is doing the “best” that she can at that moment. I think to just call breastfeeding a biological norm doesn’t buck against the culture that basically has been saying “give the kid a bottle” since when I was born.

      Just my thoughts, but I really appreciate your chiming in.

  6. I learned something awesome about breastfeeding at my hospitol childbirth class… when your baby latches on your body reacts as if you and your baby are one.. so when they are sick and latch on, your body treats them as it would you and gives them a perfect healing and whole dose of antibiotics if you have already had the illness or it makes them antibodies if you have not… illness made simple. perfect ” you dont have to worry with age and weight measuring” dose and perfect “you dont have to count hours” daily dosages… what a life and time saver.. lol

  7. On your comment about the proper perspective on women’s bodies: My oldest baby will turn 40 this year. I was in a bedroom feeding him when his great-grandfather started chatting with me. He said he didn’t understand the fuss over seeing someone nurse. When he was a boy women didn’t show their ankles in public, but didn’t think anything about breastfeeding in church! Loved and have shared that perspective many times as a childbirth educator.
    There wasn’t support for breastfeeding and I stopped with that child at 6 weeks. He was allergic to milk. His brothers nursed to 18 and 24 months.

  8. I am still nursing my 4th child who turned 3 y.o last February. I never thought I would nurse this long but I am enjoying it and i have noticed she hasn’t been as sick as the others who nursed up to 2 y.o.

    A few weeks ago I noticed she had an inflamed gum because something got caught between 2 teeth. I got the inflicting piece of food out and rinsed her mouth. She nursed as usual before going to sleep. The next morning the inflammation was gone!

  9. Re point #1: I did a research paper on this once. Learned that a newborn can see to about 7 inches; the same distance between a mother’s face and her breast. How beautiful!

  10. Great post! About jaundice, I think it’s crucial for expectant parents to know that a mother with blood type O is more likely to have a baby with jaundice. I am Type O, but I swear my midwife never mentioned this, and neither did any of the several books about pregnancy and baby care that I read!! My son was fine after treatment, but it would have been nice to be prepared for the possibility of jaundice. I guess I thought it was caused by malnourishment or something and wouldn’t happen to my baby.

    I breastfed my son past 2 years old even though I went back to work outside the home when he was only 12 weeks old. Breastfeeding is a GREAT way to maintain a bond between mom and baby despite being separated on a regular basis. Here’s my advice on breastfeeding while working outside the home.

  11. Thanks for the list. I’m pregnant with my fourth and looking forward to breastfeeding again.

    However, I wonder if the statistic on “breastfeeding prevents breast cancer” may have changed in more recent years? I noticed your source was from 2005, and I’m just thinking of my own personal experience.

    I’ve nursed two babies, and was nursing my third, my two week old baby, when I found a breast lump they thought was just milk duct problems on ultrasound. However, two months later I was diagnosed with an aggressive breast cancer at age 31 (about a year ago). However, the Lord Jesus healed me, because when I went for surgery in July, the pathology showed NO cancer! So praise the Lord! And now I am pregnant again.

    Just wanted to mention my experience, and wondering if this trend is changing because of our diets, environmental toxins, carcinogens, the effects of the birth control pill, the effects of things our mothers did to their bodies, etc.

    Thanks again for the list!

  12. I really appreciate #14 Helps Moms Rest now that I am pregnant and breastfeeding my toddler.

  13. I’m about to start weaning my fourth breastfed child. It is nice not to have to fuss with bottles and such. I hadn’t heard about the MS link. Nice.

    Question though: Any advice for how to wean a child with milk protein intolerance (MSPI)? I was thinking of making dairy-free pudding for her to try, which would be creamy, but it wouldn’t have probiotics.

    • Well, my personal feeling would be not to until you have to. It gets harder from here on out. You could add probiotics to her diet. I guess there are a lot of puddings you could do. There’s a nice coconut one and chia ones on my site you could check out.

  14. This is a great list! I am so happy that I have been breastfeeding for almost 8 years, the benefits are awesome :)

  15. Adrienne, the article, Watch Your Language, isn’t so much about not making mothers who can’t successfully breastfeed feel guilty. It really has more to do with how saying breast is best puts breastfeeding up on a pedestal and gives the perception that it’s “perfection” and therefore, if it’s too hard formula is acceptable. The formula companies love this! It plays right into their marketing. In fact they’re actually quite happy to encourage mothers to start breastfeeding and then set them up to fail by giving slightly inaccurate information, talking about leaving company to nurse along (making it an isolating activity), emphasizing how often breastfed babies need to eat, even making the pictures of mothers nursing darker and less appealing. They know that moms who start breastfeeding and fail are more likely to use formula for a longer time than mothers who use formula from the start. Breast isn’t best, it’s normal. It’s what mom and baby’s bodies expect at birth. So just shifting our language allows for better acceptance of breastfeeding and having a more accurate view of formula as really a last resort and not just an acceptable alternative.

    • I think this is just a semantics issue, kind of akin to giving all kids a trophy. I understand the sentiment, but really, saying something is the “best” choice is different than saying it is perfection. I don’t know about all the other women out there, but I am more motivated to breastfeed my kids if I am told it is the best choice than by just being told it is normal. I am motivated by a really good goal more than just giving my kids the typical thing. But after that, I want to be told what I should do if I can’t achieve that goal for some reason.

      Getting more info out about the perils of formula and how a mom can augment her supply, and also about great organizations like La Leche League would, I think, be more helpful than just resorting to calling breastfeeding “normative.” But adding that it is natural behavior in addition to it being the “best” choice adds a definite comfort in our culture that views it as something to be hidden in public. Thanks and I hope you understand where I am coming from.

  16. Jacqueline says:

    I’m wondering if in the next couple of posts you could post an actual link to the Weston Foundation pages? While I’m not disagreeing with anything you’re saying here, I’d like to know exactly what their recommendations are, if just for the comparison factor. I thought I found it, but I’m not sure. And if I did find it-is there anyone who can actually follow that diet?

    • I linked to them in the 2nd post. Did you read that one? Some folks do follow it but my guess is very few do it perfectly.

      • Jacqueline says:

        I did read the other post, and I found a link in some of the other posts linked to at the end of this one. Personally, I don’t know how anyone could afford that diet-I’d probably spend as much on that as I’d spend on formula, especially since we keep kosher.

  17. Thanks for sharing! I always enjoy reading posts on the benefits of breastfeeding. I’ve breastfed my first 2 and am looking forward to nursing baby #3 when she arrives. Stopping by from Skip to My Lou :)

    RamblingReed.blogspot.com

  18. Hi…..i don’t have much time these days…….but i do NOT believe the article from Japan, rather the study, that says that breast feeding can perhaps prevent autism…..i am 63 and in my day Dr. Spock told all mothers not to breast feed along with lots of other horrendous advice……yet my generation does not in any way have the rates of autism that there are today……
    i totally believe in breast feeding…….but i do not think that it can in anyway prevent autism…..it can prevent hosts of other problems for example La Leche league in my day did studies that addiction was so prevalent because of lack of breast feeding……..lack of the solid connection between mother and child…..
    lack of feeling filled by love…..
    but this about autism holds no water in my book……
    just breast feed and eat properly …….. do what God meant us to do……most of the formulars out there are at risk for all kinds of problems…….
    why do we need reasons for the way we are created?…….science and big business money too …… don’t get fooled by them……
    Peace and light everyone…..

    • It’s not just an article from Japan. There is more info out there. One of the most prevalent docs in this thinking is Jay Gordon. You can see his book Preventing Autism here (it’s an affiliate link). He says that while a breastfeeding baby might get more toxins in milk (fat soluble ones), the breastfeeding baby is getting prevention from toxins as well and he advocates breastfeeding as long as you can.

      Maybe you could check it out of the library, or buy it, and come back and let me know what you think. I think there is a definite link about autism. I think it’s more of a perfect storm issue though….there’s not one thing causing autism but less breastfeeding is one of the factors.

  19. I am still breastfeeding my 18 month old daughter. I can tell you right now it is really helping with her teething issues. It usually comforts her when nothing else will. There is just nothing like cuddling up to your baby and sharing that special intimacy.

  20. I find the mention of jaundice interesting. I never heard of that correlation. In fact, my child had breast milk jaundice. Not breast feeding jaundice (if they aren’t eating enough) or physiological jaundice (premature, blood type, etc) but it was specifically from my breast milk – it lasted 3 months and went away which is typical for this type. My doctor encouraged me to keep breast feeding and we just monitored the bilirubin levels.