Benefits Of Breastfeeding Checklist

The Sister Lilian Centre ticks off some of the most important benefits of breastfeeding.

Breastfeeding and breast milk truly are remarkable – as well as being perfectly balanced and easy to digest, breast milk adapts as Baby grows, to meet Baby’s needs at every stage of development? We’ve compiled a list of some of breastfeeding’s top benefits!

Health benefits

Breastfeeding is the healthiest option for Baby:

  • The rich pre-milk fluid of the first few days, colostrum, provides immunity to a wide range of diseases – and its protection lasts for months!
  • Colostrum is so nutrient rich that one teaspoonful is the equivalent of 50ml of milk.
  • Colostrum contains vitamin K, which protects baby against bleeding.
  • Breast milk decreases the likelihood of digestive problems like constipation and colic.
  • Continued breastfeeding reduces risk of infection and illnesses like asthma, eczema, ear infections and diarrhoea due to the anti-bodies it contains.

Long-term benefits

The longer you nurse your child, the greater the overall benefits will be – some of which are lifelong!

  • Eating disorders, which can contribute to heart disease later in life, are less likely.
  • Baby has better jaw development.
  • Economically, breastfeeding costs more-or-less nothing.
  • There are no concerns about hygiene, warming feeds, and whether Baby will be hungry before you have been able to prepare a feed – food is always on tap, at the correct temperature and hygienically packaged!
  • Breastfed babies often experience better health, so you will likely spend less time tending an ill baby, consulting doctors and missing work.

True, breastfed babies often wake more at night, but, to be fair, you need to weigh this against how easily nursing settles them and the hours spent preparing formula bottles, cleaning and sterilising, and pacing with ill children at night.

Emotional benefits

  • Breast milk’s individual flavour and aroma ensure that Baby recognises and bonds with Mom.
  • Nursing is a wonderful form of communication between you and Baby; you bond deeply and intimately as you gaze lovingly into each other’s eyes.
  • Nursing is a very special ‘feel good’ experience; the ‘love hormone’, oxytocin, is produced during breastfeeding, filling most moms with a glow difficult to describe. Baby experiences it too!

5 Breastfeeding benefits for Mom

Breastfeeding isn’t only good for Baby; there are lots of benefits for Mom too:

  • It helps the uterus to contract after birth, to prevent bleeding and to restore your figure sooner!
  • It reduces risk of breast and ovarian cancer.
  • It’s natural and convenient, no preparation needed.
  • It can provide physiological and emotional healing if you had a traumatic birth experience.
  • It builds mothering confidence, as you are meeting Baby’s emotional and physical needs.