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"Ouch", But What are the Benefits of Breastfeeding for Moms?

Deciding whether to breastfeed baby is a personal choice, often guided by a maternal desire to ensure your baby's healthy development. But, formula has advanced to such a degree that there are options that mimic the nutrient composition of breastmilk and may make you wonder if breast is genuinely the best. Yes! The benefits of breastfeeding don't end with baby; they extend to mom. These five benefits of breastfeeding make embracing the "ouch" worth it.

Reduces Your Health Risks

Pregnancy and delivery can open a mother up to various health risks; breastfeeding reduces those risks. For example, breastfeeding moms are less likely to develop high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, breast cancer, endometrial cancer, ovarian cancer, thyroid cancer, and high cholesterol. Reducing the risk of these conditions makes breastfeeding a beacon of preventative medication.

Lowers Postpartum Depression Risk

Another benefit of breastfeeding your baby is the lowered risk of postpartum depression. Often mothers able to make a connection with their babies through breastfeeding don't experience postpartum depression, as breastfeeding typically elevates your mood. Some studies also suggest breastfeeding can bring postpartum depression to an end sooner rather than later.

Expedite Your Recovery After Birth

The hormone released by breastfeeding — oxytocin — helps the uterus contract after delivery. As a result, your uterus returns to its normal size faster, and vaginal bleeding ends.

Build Trust with Your Baby

The physical and emotional bonding that occurs when you're breastfeeding helps baby develop trust with you as a caregiver. But it also helps you learn to understand their cues. This trust and bond dictate your baby's early behavior, often making your baby calmer in your presence.

Save Money on Formula

No one discusses the cost of formula, which can be upward of $10 a day depending on the brand and baby's consumption. Breast milk costs pennies. The initial costs — buying a nursing bra and nipple cream — are inconsequential long term.

There are other anecdotal breastfeeding benefits, like weight loss. But losing weight while breastfeeding isn't a science, and researchers haven't pinpointed why some moms do, and others don't. Yet, the evidence that does exist means breast is best for mom and baby.

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