Mothers can agree that bringing a baby into the world is one of the most incredible feelings, but having the opportunity to be the No. 1 source of nutrition for your child is even more amazing. While breastfeeding is a choice that not everyone decides to take, it's an advantageous option for both you and your baby.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, mothers who decide to breastfeed should exclusively do so for at least the first six months of the baby's life. That being said, no mom and baby are identical to the next, so those who breastfeed less shouldn't feel defeated. Any amount of breast milk fed to your child counts as an incredible source of nutrition.
So what else gives breastfeeding its great reputation? Here are some of the many benefits of breastfeeding your baby:
The nutritional content
As stated earlier, breastfeeding is nutritional gold for infants. For starters, it's loaded with the vitamins, protein and fat your baby needs to grow. It also contains antibodies that allow your baby to fight off viruses and bacteria, and it has been shown to reduce risk for ear infection, respiratory illness and more.
"There's something empowering about watching your baby grow and thrive on milk that you supplied."
The mother-to-baby bond
For many mothers, creating a bond with your baby as soon as possible is a huge priority. Breastfeeding offers a simple way to strengthen the bond between you and your child. Skin-to-skin touching and close eye contact offer your baby a sense of security after leaving the womb.
The postpartum weight loss
Because breast milk is loaded with calories and fat to nourish your baby, you're ultimately burning those calories and fat every time you nurse! In fact, according to what infant-nutrition expert Ruth A. Lawrence, M.D. shared with lifestyle blog Fit Pregnancy, you burn dozens of calories during every solid breastfeeding session.
"Breast milk contains 20 calories per ounce," Lawrence said. "If you feed your baby 20 ounces a day, that's 400 calories you've swept out of your body."
This also counts for mothers who exclusively pump breast milk. Burning those calories can help you lose those pounds you gained during your pregnancy.
The feeling of empowerment
There's something ever-so empowering about watching your baby grow and thrive on milk that you supplied. So on top of losing pregnancy weight and developing a strong bond with your loved one, you may feel liberated – and let's be honest, it's well deserved.
If you're not so comfortable breastfeeding in public, you can try the NuRoo Multi-Use Cover. Created with breathable fabric that prevents overheating and provides coverage and protection from germs, the cover can be used while nursing and pumping. It can also be used over car seats, shopping carts and high chairs.
Anyone who has breastfed in the past or currently nurses knows how taxing it can be, from a physical, mental and emotional standpoint. It's common to feel overwhelmed during this time, but these benefits can push you to the end! However long you choose to breastfeed, just remember how truly advantageous it can be for both you and your little one.