1. Health

Pros and Cons of Breastfeeding

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Updated January 31, 2008

How does breastfeeding benefit the mother?

  • Eat more and lose weight faster: A breastfeeding mother needs 500 extra calories a day because the body burns that amount while breastfeeding. She'll be back in her pre-pregnancy shape quickly.

  • It's easy and convenient: There's nothing to buy or prepare so it gives the mother much more freedom. Breasts are always there and the milk is always warm and ready.

  • The mother can snooze during night feedings

  • There's a very special bond between Mother and Baby and it's the natural way to feed

  • There's less spitting up, no stains and the poop doesn't smell!

  • Protects against some breast and ovarian cancers: While breastfeeding, estrogen levels are very low. Research has shown that the longer you breastfeed, the risks for these cancers goes down

  • MAY delay menstrual period: Again, estrogen levels are low and many women think they're well protected from conceiving, but ovulation may still occur

  • It's an amazing confidence booster: Mothers are really able to use their natural ability

  • Believe it or not, there is very little embarrassment: It's easy to nurse discreetly and modestly

  • Feels awesome

How does breastfeeding benefit the baby?

  • Protects against ear infections, colds, and viruses: If the child does have any of the above, the severity will most likely be lessened because of the protection from the breastmilk

  • Helps brain to grow and develop

  • Less learning and behavior difficulties

  • Less diaper rash and other skin problems

  • Less colic, less crying

  • Easy to digest: It is almost impossible to have a constipated breastfed baby!

  • Less diarrhea

  • Protects against Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, leukemia, some childhood cancers, and juvenile-onset diabetes

  • Benefits heart health

  • Fewer trips to the doctor and hospitalizations

  • Babies LOVE the taste

Are there any cons to breastfeeding?

  • Nursing is definitely time-consuming: Newborn babies typically feed every 2 to 3 hours during the day and may awaken frequently at night.

  • If someone else wants to feed the baby with a bottle of breast milk the mother still has to pump.

  • Breastfeeding takes a lot of energy for your body to make milk, so the mother can often feel quite fatigued.

  • There can be a certain amount of anxiety and frustration while a mother is learning the process.

  • Sometimes mothers have physical problems like mastitis, plugged milk ducts and engorgement if the baby is not feeding frequently or properly.

  • Working mothers can find it challenging to schedule nursings. It is necessary to pump at work and some jobs may not allow for such breaks (they should, but some do not comply.)
Related Video
Breastfeeding: Sore Nipple Remedies
Breastfeeding Positions

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