Any parent can appreciate the wonder of a mother's body. From growing new life in the womb to giving birth, the path to parenthood is an amazing journey.
But even after a baby arrives, a mother's body continues to be a source of comfort for her child, and breastfeeding is just one of the amazing ways it can nurture her baby outside of the womb.
"From offering perfectly personalized nutrition to boosting a developing immune system, the benefits to her child are likely the first things a mother considers when making the choice to breastfeed," said Crystal Zimmerman, lactation consultant at Monroe Clinic. "However, many moms may not realize breastfeeding can also benefit them."
In addition to supporting a strong mother-baby bond, breastfeeding provides moms with a wide range of practical benefits, from better health to better budgets. Here are five advantages breastfeeding offers moms:
1) Breastfeeding speeds recovery after child birth by releasing oxytocin, a hormone that prompts the uterus to return to its pre-baby size and reduce postpartum bleeding. Oxytocin also offers an emotional benefit and hormonal facilitation of bonding between mother and baby.
2) Breastfeeding lowers the risk of some cancers and other diseases. Studies show connections between breastfeeding and reduced rates of breast cancer, ovarian cancer, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, high blood pressure and high cholesterol .
3) Breastfeeding makes economical sense... and cents. Those cents add up when one considers that formula costs range from $4 to $10 a day, so six months of formula would cost somewhere between $700 and $1,800.
4) Breastfeeding simplifies feedings. Considerable time goes into mixing formula, sterilizing and preparing bottles, and even packing all the supplies when leaving the house. All the tools of breastfeeding automatically go where mom and baby go.
5) Breastfeeding supports a healthier environment for mom, baby and the community. Think how much waste would be avoided if there were no bottles to wash or formula cans to toss in the trash.