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Benefits that Last a Lifetime
A few days
Nursing helps you relax. When a mother nurses her body releases a hormone called prolactin, which is often referred to as "the mothering hormone." When researchers feed it to laboratory mice, (even males), they start building nests and doing motherly things.
Breastfeeding helps your body adjust to the many changes that occur after giving birth. As your baby nurses, your body releases another hormone called oxytocin, which helps your uterus contract and return to its pre-pregnant size more quickly. This hormone also helps to reduce post-partum bleeding.
Breastfeeding helps you develop a special closeness as you get to know your baby. By breastfeeding you are helping your body recover from childbirth. As you are nursing your child your body is working to restore your body back to its pre-pregnancy size.
4 to 6 Weeks
The "mothering hormone," prolactin, is produced every time you nurse, relaxing you and helping you and your baby form a special bond. One study shows that a one-month, breastfeeding mothers were less anxious and felt closer to their babies than those who were not breastfeeding.
Breastfeeding for one month can save between $75 and $200 on formula costs, not including the cost of bottles, artificial nipples and other feeding supplies.
3 to 4 Months
Mothers who breastfeed lose more weight by the time their babies are 3-6 months old than formula-feeding mothers who consumed fewer calories. Breast milk production burns up to 600 calories a day. Double that for twins!
By four months, the family of the exclusively breastfed baby will save formula costs of between $300 and $720.
Breastfeeding suppresses ovulation and delays the return of fertility. In mothers who exclusively breastfeed, breastfeeding is about 95%-98% effective as a birth control method.
At six months, the family of the exclusively breastfed baby will save formula costs of between $450 and $1080.
Although the health benefits of breastfeeding continue as baby grows, the emotional benefits of nursing for comfort and security become more evident around this age.
At nine months, the family of the exclusively breastfed baby will save between $600 and $1440 on formula cost.
Not breastfeeding increases mother's risk of developing ovarian cancer. Based on the research, breastfeeding for a total of 12-24 months can reduce your risk of ovarian cancer by about one-third.
A World Health Organization study has shown that the longer a woman breastfeeds, the less likely she is to get endometrial cancer.
By one year, the family of the exclusively breastfed baby will save on formula costs between $900 and $2,160.
Over a Year
Studies have found that the longer a woman breastfeeds over her lifetime, the lower her risk of breast cancer.
Mothers who breastfeed past a year often talk of the emotional benefits gained: the comfort and security it gives their little ones, the ease it brings to naptimes and bedtimes, and the opportunities it offers to relax and tune in to each other during a hectic day.
Why is breastfeeding so good for moms? Because it's:
Good for your uterus.
Breastfeeding causes normal contractions that help the mother's uterus return to its pre-pregnant state.
Good for reducing risk of disease.
Mom is less likely to get heart disease, breast cancer, ovarian cancer, and diabetes. For each 12 months of breastfeeding, the mother's risk for breast cancer is reduced by 4.3% and 7% for each pregnancy.
Good for losing the baby weight.
The breastfeeding woman burns about 600 calories per day.
Good for getting more sleep.
Night time feedings do not require preparation or warming of bottles.