Our bodies are amazing.
Really bloody amazing. Whether or not we bothered to pay attention in biology at school, we can still create real people with tiny lungs and brains and toes and noses, it really is incredible. The truly amazing bit happens after we have our babies and are able to provide them tailor made nutrition that we make ourselves. Read on to find out why the liquid gold that is breastmilk really is miraculous.
Protection For Baby
The whole breastfeeding process is like a miracle protection system for babies. The mother builds up antibodies to germs and diseases that she comes across in her environment and passes these on to her baby through the breastmilk. This means that these tiny breast fed babies have bespoke protection to the bugs and nasties that they are likely to come into contact with, providing them with an amazing defence system direct from Mummy.
Victoria Catherine, a first year Biosciences student doing her microbiology research project, posted this photo on Facebook that quickly went viral. As you can see from the photo, breastmilk samples were places in the Petri dishes along with various strains of bacteria. The breastmilk proceeded to repel the bacteria, demonstrating how cleverly it can fight to protect your baby as you feed.
Long Term Protection For Baby
Studies have shown that breastmilk not only protects your baby from illness while they are breastfed, but continues to have health benefits into later life. Babies who are breastfed go on to have a lower risk of type 2 diabetes, obesity and heart disease in later life.
Your Body Produces Exactly What Your Baby Needs
The supply and demand nature of breastfeeding means that the more your baby demands, the more that your clever body will produce. Mother Nature even gives you a reminder to keep your fluid levels topped up so that you can keep your supply plentiful. How does she do this? Anyone who has ever breastfed will tell you it is done by creating a thirst that can be compared to waking up with a hang over, pretty much as soon as your baby latches on. This leave you with no choice but to drink plenty of water which in turn helps you have plenty for your baby. It’s genius really.
On Tap Around The Clock
One thing that has always put me off bottle feeding is the hassle. It seems like a lot of hard work. If you follow the NHS’s 13 step guidelines for safely making up a bottle, (including using freshly, once boiled water, that was boiled within the last 30 minutes, then cool the bottle enough to give to your baby) there is a fair amount of time between beginning to prepare the bottle and the bottle being ready at the correct temperature for your baby. I don’t know about you, but I have never fancied getting out of my warm bed and traipsing down to the kitchen in the middle of the night to go through a lengthly process of making up bottles, all while the baby is screaming for a feed. No thanks. Power to all of you Mums who have had to do this, it does not sound fun.
With breastfed babies, instead of having to politely ask your hungry baby to wait while you sort out their bottle, you can just pick them up (without even getting out of bed initially, as their cot will probably be next to your bed for at least the first 6 months) and stick them on the boob. Easy peasy.
Helps Mummy Fall Asleep Quickly
Have you ever noticed how easy it is to fall asleep as a breastfeeding mother? It is not just because you have been awake feeding through the night (although I will admit, that will help), but it’s to do with your hormones. Oxytocin, which is also known as the “love hormone”, which is released while breastfeeding to ensure the milk let down and to increase the bond between Mother and baby.
So, thanks to this awesome little hormone, when your baby is fed and you are finally allowed to go back to sleep, you won’t waste any time staring at the ceiling waiting for slumber. Thanks to breastfeeding, as soon as you’re allowed to sleep, you’ll be out like a light.
Think Of The Savings!
Babies can be super expensive little creatures, so I most parents will agree that saving money wherever possible is certainly welcomed. Although there are no officially published statistics to tell us exactly how expensive it is to exclusively formula feed a baby, there is an undeniable cost attached to it. Breastmilk, on the other hand, comes at a much better price – free.
Health Benefits For Mum
Breastfeeding not only has health benefits for baby, but for Mum too. Breastfeeding can lower the risk of ovarian cancer, breast cancer, heart disease, osteoporosis and obesity.
Helps You Shift The Baby Weight
As well as having fantastic long term health benefits, breast-feeding is like a miracle weight loss fat stripper too. The exact number of calories that you will burn will depend upon the amount your baby is feeding, but studies have shown that you will burn between 300 and 600 calories per day breasting your baby, all while sitting down, cuddling your baby and watching Netflix.
One of the most wonderful elements of breastfeeding has got to be the bond that it strengthens between Mummy and baby. I am not suggesting for a second that babies cannot have a bond with parents or other care givers that do not breastfeed them, but most breastfeeding Mums will testify that nursing can be a special time. It is an instant and magical way that you can nurture, nourish and comfort your baby whenever they need it and I feel very lucky to have been able to do this for my children.
What do you think is the best thing about breastfeeding?