When you’re breastfeeding, you’re not just strengthening your baby’s immune system, but you’re also improving your own health as well. It’s a win-win for both you and your baby, Mama. So, no matter how challenging the breastfeeding journey may be at times, always know that the benefits will be worth it! Here are four amazing ways in which breastfeeding boosts your health.
While you’re breastfeeding, hormonal changes occur and you will experience months without menstruating. This state of amenorrhea (absence of menstruation) also reduces your exposure to certain reproductive hormones and lowers risks of breast cancer as a result. Some studies also say that the longer you breastfeed, you also lower your risk of acquiring ovarian cancer because of the longer period of time without ovulation.
Breastfeeding can help you lose around 500 calories a day, which will help you shed some of that pregnancy weight. But in order to fully reap the benefits of losing excess calories, you must be breastfeeding for six months or longer. This will just take some patience, Mom!
When you’re breastfeeding, you also experience a surge of oxytocin or the love hormone which builds feelings of affection and a strong bond between you and your baby. Your mood and happiness levels therefore improve while you breastfeed your baby. For some moms, breastfeeding may even help prevent Postpartum depression.
Experts have found that breastfeeding moms have a decreased risk of developing type 2 diabetes. This is because insulin sensitivity improves upon lactation, and this effect may last even after your baby weans. During pregnancy, the body will also tend to store excess fat which could cause cholesterol levels to increase. However, once you are lactating, research has observed that fatty acids in the blood are better regulated. This could also mean a reduced risk of hypertension or heart problems.
Breastfeeding may be tough and tiring, but you’re certainly winning with all these health benefits, Mom! If you have further questions with regards to breastfeeding, check out some of the information we have about common breastfeeding problems, breastfeeding preparations, and so much more. If you’re experiencing any issues, be sure to consult your doctor. We’re rooting for you, Mom!
Dieterich, Christine., Felice, Julia., et al. Breastfeeding and Health Outcomes for the Mother-Infant Dyad. February 2013.
Anstey, Erica., Kincaid, Ginny. Breastfeeding for Cancer Prevention. August 2019.
American Institute for Cancer Research. Lactation and the Risk of Cancer.
Cleveland Clinic. The Benefits of Breastfeeding for Baby & for Mom.
healthychildren.org. Benefits of Breastfeeding for Mom.
Perrine, Cria., Nelson, Jennifer., et al. Lactation and Maternal Cardio-Metabolic Health. July 2016.