The Advantages and Disadvantages of Breastfeeding

The Advantages and Disadvantages of Breastfeeding

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The advantages and disadvantages of breastfeeding your little ones, a guest post by Thrifty Brittany

Breastfeeding is hard! As new moms, we have to learn everything about breastfeeding in a short amount of time. My only motivation for getting through that first month of pain, sleep deprivation, and anxiety was the amazing benefits of breastfeeding for my baby and me.

This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase through my links. For more information please read my disclosure policy here.

Advantages of Breastfeeding

Medical Disclosure: I am not a doctor or a lactation consultant. This is my personal experience, experiences from other moms, and online research of breastfeeding. I have been exclusively breastfeeding my daughter from one month old to 14 months and plan to make it to 2 years.

The World Health Organization recommends exclusive breastfeeding (no other fluids or solids) for at least six months and “…continued breastfeeding combined with solid foods for 2 years or as long as mother and baby desire.

Try not to feel guilty if you can’t or don’t want to breastfeed. Breastfeeding is an important personal decision for each family to make. Like all things in life, there are pros and cons to breastfeeding. For me, the benefits of breastfeeding outweighed the struggle I experienced in the first few weeks.

If you can afford it I suggest taking a breastfeeding class. You can also join a breastfeeding support group on Facebook for FREE to get answers to all your breastfeeding question from moms all over the world.

Related: 5 Alarming Signs Your Baby Isn’t Getting Enough

Disadvantages of Breastfeeding

Many breastfeeding moms experience sleep deprivation because they have to nurse every few hours. It’s very hard to get sleep when you have to nurse all day and all night. Once your baby begins gets older, eats solids, and you find a good routine your baby will sleep longer between feedings.

Breastfeeding moms may experience anxiety because they fear their baby isn’t getting enough breast milk. It’s hard to tell how much breast milk your baby is getting through the breast. As long as your baby is gaining weight and looks healthy you shouldn’t be concerned.

Being the only person to feed your baby (unless you pump) can be very stressful for new moms but it can also be comforting knowing you have such a strong connection to your baby that no one else will have.

You may have to stop eating dairy products or other items that you enjoy if they cause a reaction. My daughter had gas pain when I would eat Dairy so I eliminated dairy from my diet it resolved her gas pain. As she got older I slowly introduced dairy back into my diet and now she eats dairy without any issues.

I also lost 50 lbs after pregnancy and think that eliminating dairy had a lot to due with it. Breastfeeding moms also need to limit or eliminate the use of alcohol, nicotine, medications, and other harmful substances that can pass through your breast milk.

Related: How to Store Breast Milk Properly

Benefits of Breastfeeding

There are many physical and emotional benefits of breastfeeding for new moms. For example, while nursing, moms release two hormones that make them feel physical and emotional happiness.

  • Prolactin: Produces a peaceful, nurturing sensation that allows you to relax and focus on your child.
  • Oxytocin: Promotes a strong sense of love and attachment between the two of you. 

Breastfeeding provides a unique emotional experience for the nursing mother and the baby. It is the only parenting behavior that only the mother can do for her baby, creating a unique and powerful physical and emotional connection.

Advantages of Breastfeeding

Health Benefits

Breastfeeding provides many health benefits for mothers.

  • Breastfeeding mothers may recover from childbirth more quickly and easily. 
  • You may lose weight while breastfeeding due to the extra 400-500 calories you burn daily while nursing. (I lost over 50 pounds while breastfeeding!)
  • Breastfeeding returns the uterus to its regular size quicker and can reduce postpartum bleeding. 
  • Studies show that breastfeeding moms experience lower rates of breast and ovarian cancer later in life. 
  • Some studies have found that breastfeeding may reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and cardiovascular disease, including high blood pressure and high cholesterol. 
  • Exclusive breastfeeding can delay the return of your menstrual period, which can help extend the time between pregnancies. My period returned after 14 months postpartum!
  • Exclusive breastfeeding can also provide a natural form of contraception if your period hasn’t returned, the baby is breastfeeding day and night, and the baby is less than six months old.
Advantages of Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding Benefits for your Baby

  • Breast milk provides vitamins, protein, and fat — everything your baby needs and easier for your baby to digest than formula. 
  • Breast milk contains antibodies that help your baby fight off viruses and bacteria and lowers your baby’s risk of having asthma or allergies. 
  • Babies who are breastfed exclusively for the first 6 months, without any formula, have fewer ear infections, respiratory illnesses, and bouts of diarrhea. They also have fewer hospitalizations and trips to the doctor. My daughter is currently 14 months old and has only been sick once!
  • Studies show Breastfeeding has been linked to higher IQ scores in later childhood. 
  • The AAP says breastfeeding also plays a role in the prevention of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome). 
  • Breastfeeding may lower your baby’s risk of diabetes, obesity, and certain cancers as well.

Family Benefits of Breastfeeding

  • Breast milk is much less expensive than formula saving you loads of money!
  • At night, nursing your baby to sleep is easier and faster than getting up to prepare or warm a bottle of formula.
  • No need to carry a heavy bag full of bottles and other feeding equipment.
  • Breastfeeding is great for the environment since there are no plastic bottles to wash or formula cans to throw away.

My Final Thoughts

Breastfeeding is ultimately your choice as a mom. If you want to breastfeed but you are struggling, you are not alone! There are many breastfeeding support Groups!

Also remember, fed is best!

What did you enjoy most about your breastfeeding journey? What was your least favorite?

Save this as a reference later!

The Advantages and Disadvantages of Breastfeeding

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