Each time I sit and nurse my 10-month-old baby boy, I am in awe of the whole process that is breastfeeding. As one who has been blessed with the ability to nurse all six of her children for the first year of their life, I have seen so many benefits of this wonderful thing that mothers are able to do.
And while I love seeing each of my children grow up, it saddens me to watch this stage in my life go away.There are so many benefits of breastfeeding, for both mother and baby, that may or may not be scientifically proven, but that I have seen in my years of doing this wonderful and natural thing.
Here are seven unscientific benefits of breastfeeding:
1. It provides a bond between baby and mom that is unmatched. After that first feeding, it is very apparent that you need each other to get through this. He needs you to provide the him with physical nourishment, and you will soon find that you need him, too.
2. Breastfeeding puts things back in its place. You don’t need a scientist to tell you that each time a new mother nurses her baby, things inside her body are starting to move back. Albeit painful, nursing shrinks that uterus back down to size, helping to fit everything back where it belongs.
3. It helps with post-pregnancy weight loss and a healthier you. Simple math (not science) tells us that burning more calories than you are taking in will cause you to lose weight. Along those same lines, the healthier you eat, the more nutrients you can pass on to your baby.
4. It makes you feel important. Being mom of a new baby is difficult. Many moms (myself included) get overwhelmed and stressed. With a new and often difficult body image, confidence begins to shrink. I have found, though that being needed, and being the one who can only provide that particular need, helps restore that confidence.
5. It gives you a sense of accomplishment. There is nothing quite like looking at a growing, thriving baby and knowing that your body was able to provide the nourishment he needed. It is really quite remarkable, if you think about it.
6. Breast milk makes for sweeter-smelling diapers. As silly as this may sound, I've learned this through experience. Whether it is the natural sugars in breast milk or what (I may need to ask a scientist on this one), it is true … Trust me (or not). This may be a main reason I hold off introducing solids until I absolutely must.
7. It forces you to sit. Let’s face it, being a mom is hard work. Between diaper changes, laundry, cleaning the house — not to mention if you are a working mom and/or have multiple kids — sitting is not always a viable option. Nursing your baby forces you to sit and relax without feeling guilty for doing so. After all, you are doing one of the most important and unselfish things of all: You are nursing your baby.