There is nothing quite like the connection between mother and child. That connection is only deepened by breastfeeding your newborn into infancy. While many people talk about the benefits of breast milk for babies, there are health benefits for moms as well. Let’s take a look at some of the ways that breastfeeding now can do wonders for the health of mother and baby in the long run.
Lower Rates of Infant Mortality
Research has found that infants who are breastfed are less likely to succumb to tragic circumstances like sudden infant death syndrome, or SIDS. For mothers, having the right maternity bra allows moms to pump whenever they need to do so comfortably if they don’t want to wake up baby; they’ll want to be able to prioritize pumping while assuring they are comfortable while getting milk ready for their child.
Nursing bras are also needed to allow for a child to comfortably receive milk directly from the breast, and make sure that a mother is not feeling any unnecessary pain in those moments. Breast milk has been shown to reduce the overall chance of illness and hospitalization in the early stages of infancy, as well as combat bacterial infections.
Protecting Mom Against Alzheimer’s
Research has found that breastfeeding is actually beneficial to the cognitive health of a mother, as it reduces the risk of high blood pressure, anemia, and other health conditions that are commonly tied to Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. There are differences in Alzheimer’s vs dementia. For one, with Alzheimer’s, the brain may show signs of the disease before the person experiences any symptoms. With dementia, symptoms impact a person’s ability to perform everyday activities independently.
By lowering the risks associated with Alzheimer’s and dementia cases, there is reduced fear over a progressive disease in which patients of all ages can show a steady or sudden cognitive decline and behavior changes. However, these cognitive problems should be addressed immediately if you have a family history of these ailments.
Building Immune Systems for Babies
One of the main motivators for breastfeeding is to boost a baby’s immune system. Breast milk provides abundant and easily absorbed nutritional components, including live antibodies from mom to newborn. A mother’s more mature immune system makes antibodies to the germs she and her baby have been exposed to. These antibodies enter her milk to help protect her baby from certain illnesses.
Breastfeeding has been shown to reduce the chance of certain allergies, as well as symptoms of asthma. With a greater immunity to infection, there’s greater peace of mind for mothers. A baby may interact with a number of people on a given day, and it’s important to know that their immune system is ready for whoever they face. This will protect infants against respiratory illnesses, and even ailments as simple as a common cold.
Better for Mom’s Emotional Health
Researchers have found there is a lesser chance of postpartum depression in new mothers when breastfeeding takes place. Pumping and nursing produce the naturally soothing hormones oxytocin and prolactin that promote stress reduction and positive feelings in the nursing mother. This increased calmness from mom carries over to the baby, as they pick up on the emotional cues and find themselves remaining calm.
Skin-to-skin contact also provides babies and mothers alike with extra support and a bond that can only be achieved in those moments of feeding or nursing. If you have any questions about nursing before or after the baby arrives, don’t hesitate to ask your OB/GYN or primary care physician for some insight. This will help you understand the fluctuation that comes with pumping and learn a little bit more about what it will take to keep your baby fed and growing.