Time and time again, soon-to-be moms are informed about the impressive nursing benefits breast milk offers our babies. What might be surprising, however, is that moms are just as benefitted by the process!
If you don’t have time for a HIPAA-compliant online lactation consultation with one of our experts right now, the MamaNatal team can help you understand the 8 most surprising short and long-term breastfeeding benefits for moms.
From increased weight loss to a lower risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes, it’s incredible how much a simple feeding session can play a role in a woman’s maternal health.
1. Postpartum Recovery
When it comes to the short-term effects of exclusive breastfeeding, postpartum recovery is one of the most significant nursing benefits.
A woman’s body goes through extreme changes and developments during the pregnancy, labor, and delivery processes. While many women might assume these go back to normal right away, this isn’t usually the case.
By choosing to breastfeed, however, a woman can speed up her postpartum recovery and help her body return to its pre-pregnancy state sooner than if she was formula-feeding.
The two most important health benefits from nursing after delivery are reduced bleeding and enhanced involution of the mother’s uterus.
Reduced Maternal Bleeding
Studies have shown women who begin to breastfeed right after their child’s birth have a smaller risk of developing severe postpartum bleeding. As postpartum hemorrhage is the leading cause of maternal death in women (it accounts for 27.1% of deaths), this is a critical benefit for any woman who’s just delivered a baby.
This is thought to be because breastfeeding causes a woman to produce oxytocin, a hormone which causes muscle contractions, especially in the uterus.
With these contractions, less bleeding usually occurs.
Involution of Uterus
The phrase “involution of uterus,” is a fancy way of describing the process a woman’s uterus goes through after birth as it returns to its pre-baby state.
Thanks to the oxytocin-induced uterine contractions from nursing previously mentioned, a woman’s uterus becomes smoother and more toned faster than if the contractions did not occur.
2. Enhanced Metabolic Changes
One of the most important breastfeeding benefits for many women is the metabolic shift that can occur in their bodies while nursing. Not only can this lead to increased postpartum weight loss, but it can also benefit insulin response.
In fact, women who have Type 1 Diabetes often require less insulin while lactating.
3. Increased Postpartum Weight Loss
There’s no denying the weight gain and body changes which occur throughout pregnancy. After a baby is born, many women begin to wonder when their bodies will return to their pre-baby condition.
If you’re interested in a reliable way to handle your postpartum weight loss, nursing could be an optimal solution.
Not only do nursing moms drop their post-baby weight more quickly than those who choose to use formula, but they typically lose more overall weight in the long-run. Studies have shown women with breastfed babies can expect to lose approximately 1-2 lbs per month.
Breastfeeding can also help reduce the appearance of abdominal belly fat, which is common after delivery.
4. Lower Stress Levels
Becoming a new parent is bound to come with its own set of stressors. By choosing to breastfeed, however, research has shown that a woman’s body can handle those difficult situations better.
A group of women, some bottle feeding and breastfeeding, were given a standard stress test. The results showed that in most circumstances, the nursing moms showed lower cortisol levels and ACTH (two common stress hormones) than the women who were formula feeding.
Not only does this show the positive effect breastfeeding has on stress, but it’s also been determined that nursing can reduce anxiety symptoms, as well.
5. Delayed Ovulation
If you’re hoping to avoid getting pregnant again, you’ll be thrilled to know that exclusive breastfeeding protects against conception.
While it’s not impossible to get pregnant while nursing, breastfeeding has been shown to delay ovulation, which is a necessary component in the conception process. In fact, it’s been noted that in the first 3 months after birth, breastfeeding is a more effective option for preventing pregnancy than most contraceptives.
6. Reduced Risk of Developing Cancer and Other Diseases
One of the most exciting nursing benefits is the long-term effect it has on preventing many diseases. Some of these include:
- Ovarian Cancer
- Breast Cancer
- Type 2 Diabetes
- Rheumatoid Arthritis
In fact, breastfeeding is so effective in helping women avoid breast cancer, it’s even been proven to reduce the risk of cancer-prone women with the BRCA1 genetic mutation from developing the disease by one-third.
7. Improved Cardiovascular Health
In addition to the previously mentioned diseases, breastfeeding has also been found to be good for a mother’s heart.
A 2017 study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association explains that there’s less chance of cardiovascular problems such as heart disease, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and stroke.
8. Best of the Nursing Benefits – Bonding Between Mother & Baby
We often picture breastfeeding as a way to help a newborn baby bond with its mother. However, the nursing experience is just as beneficial in assisting new moms in building a connection with their child.
Learn More About the Breastfeeding Benefits You Can Receive from Nursing Your Baby
As an industry-leading organization on the benefits of breastfeeding, the certified lactation consultants at MamaNatal are here to help nursing moms gain as much knowledge about their breastfeeding experience as possible.
If you’re interested in learning more about any of the nursing benefits mentioned in this article, it might be worth your while to set-up a HIPAA-compliant online lactation consultation with one of our resident maternal health experts.