Taking time to nurse your baby can seem like a task that interrupts your daily routine, but it’s actually one of the most important ways you can bond with your little one and help them grow healthy and strong. The benefits of breastfeeding are numerous, but not many people know about them all. Here are seven surprising benefits of breastfeeding you didn’t know about, plus some tips to help make it even easier!
1) Contributes to a healthier immune system
A baby’s immune system is still developing and needs all the help it can get. When a mother breastfeeds, she passes on antibodies to her baby which can help protect them from infections and illnesses. Studies have shown that babies who are breastfed have a lower risk of developing allergies, asthma, and certain types of cancer.
2) Decreases colic symptoms
Believe it or not, one of the benefits of breastfeeding is that it can actually help decrease colic symptoms in babies. Studies have shown that breastfed babies have less gas and are less fussy than those who are bottle-fed. So if you’re struggling with a colicky baby, breastfeeding may be worth a try!
3) Develops mother-child bond
The benefits of breastfeeding are well-documented, but did you know that it can also help develop a strong bond between mother and child? Breastfeeding releases oxytocin, which is sometimes called the love hormone because it promotes bonding and attachment. In fact, studies have shown that mothers who breastfeed are more likely to report higher levels of satisfaction with their parenting experience.
4) Early bonding helps in long-term relationships
When a baby is born, they are only able to see things that are close to their face. This is why early bonding and skin-to-skin contact is so important. It helps the baby feel safe and loved, and can even help in reducing the risk of SIDS.
5) Promotes earlier sleep patterns
One of the benefits of breastfeeding that you may not know about is that it can help promote earlier sleep patterns. In a study, researchers found that infants who were breastfed were more likely to settle down and sleep for longer periods of time than those who were not. Additionally, the quality of sleep was also better in the breastfed group. So if you’re struggling to get your little one to sleep through the night, breastfeeding may be worth a try!
6) Decreases risk of cancer for both baby and mother
It’s well-known that breastfeeding decreases a baby’s risk of developing obesity and diabetes later in life, but did you know that it can also lower the child’s risk of developing cancer? That’s right – according to a 2016 study published in the journal Pediatrics, infants who were breastfed for at least six months had a lower risk of developing leukemia than those who were never breastfed.
7) Lowers risk of allergies for babies
Most people are aware that breastfeeding lowers the risk of SIDS, but did you know that it can also lower the risk of allergies for babies? Allergies are becoming more and more common, so this is a great benefit. Additionally, breastfeeding has been shown to reduce the risk of ear infections, eczema, and respiratory illnesses.