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5 Powerful Benefits of Breastfeeding

You have everything to gain…

1) Health 

Breastfeeding is the most natural way to feed your newborn, recuperate faster and foster your baby’s growth, immune system and brain.  This is your life and your baby’s future.  You have chosen to feed your breastmilk to your baby because you know it contains every nutrient your full term baby needs for optimal health.

2) Happiness

Thank you oxytocin, your “feel good” hormone.  Released by your brain in response to your baby’s sucking at your breast, a feeling of pleasure, contentment, satisfaction, joy and well-being washes over you. Breastfeeding benefits both you and your baby, increasing bonding time, stimulation time and enjoying the pleasures of a private, face-to-face conversation with your baby. You can extend this breastfeeding benefit for years. Oxytocin, this natural stress reducer, is yours for as long as you choose to breastfeed.

3) Empowerment

Defined as the process of becoming stronger and more confident, especially in controlling one's life and claiming one’s rights.

This is breastfeeding.  Be seen.  Be heard. Claim your biologic woman-power, your ability to nourish and foster another human being. Show the world that you are educated and strong in the face of the barriers that might be blocking your breastfeeding journey; well-intentioned, yet scientifically incorrect words of advice…an unsupportive employer or workplace.  When you breastfeed openly and discuss the benefits of breastfeeding with others you are supporting your baby and the future of your family.

4) Self-Esteem 

You have a growing, healthy baby. You are reaping the benefits of breastfeeding.  Your body is fit from maintaining a low fat, high fiber diet and you drink lots of water to avoid dehydration. You are reaping the benefits of breastfeeding.  You feel great!  

You have made use of the support systems around you; lactation consultants…family and friends...mother’s groups. Figuring out what works for you, and what doesn’t, has led to your success. You should feel good about your efforts and accept the reward of increased self-esteem. Feel proud of your self-experimentation and continue to build on this powerful foundation throughout your breastfeeding journey.

5) Sisterhood  

A powerful benefit of breastfeeding is your connection with the breastfeeding mothers in your town, state, and the world. Your voice and your actions can support your breastfeeding sisters in your community.

In August, 2017, The Global Breastfeeding Scorecard was created which evaluated 194 nations. Researchers found that only 40 per cent of children younger than six months are breastfed exclusively and only 23 countries have exclusive breastfeeding rates above 60 per cent. In an effort to improve these rates, you and other breastfeeding mothers need continuing education, guidance and sympathetic listeners.

Attend a support group for new mothers or start one of your own through your town’s community house or your place of worship. Speak up if you see a mother being harassed by an ignorant onlooker in a public place. Stand between her and the shamer. Better yet, sit beside her and breastfeed your own baby.  There’s strength in numbers.

The positive benefits of breastfeeding for you and your baby are numerous.  Indisputable evidence exists for the benefits of breastmilk vs. formula. Consider the benefits beyond the health implications. Consider yourself a stronger and more powerful woman because you breastfeed.

Paula Zindler
RN IBCLC

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