Benefits You May Not Know About Breastfeeding
October 12, 2022
Breastfeeding is an amazing ability that allows you to bond with your baby in an instinctive and personal way. While breastfeeding is a natural way to connect and feed your baby, it doesn’t always come easily. It can be a challenging journey, especially in the first few weeks. There may also be a lot of details you might not know about when it comes to breastfeeding. Regardless of your choice, Women’s Care wants you to remember that you are not alone in your journey and provide you with all of the information you need to help you and your baby thrive.
What is happening to my body?
After delivering a baby, your body will continue to change in a variety of ways. Breastfeeding can be a part of these changes as it contributes to hormonal and physical changes in your body. Some benefits include improved bonding, reduced postpartum depression, ideal nutrition and immunity for your infant, and postpartum weight loss. It suppresses ovarian activity, making estrogen levels low and reducing the reliability of ovulation. This can exacerbate low libido, hot flashes, constipation, and vaginal dryness. However, once a regular menstrual cycle returns, you should notice these symptoms improving over time.
Breastfeeding also affects your bones. Studies have shown that postpartum individuals lose three to five percent of bone mass while breastfeeding, but after weaning your baby, it rapidly recovers. This is caused by your baby’s increased need for calcium, which is drawn from your bones. Our bodies are miraculous!
Will breastfeeding prevent pregnancy?
Even though breastfeeding will suppress ovulation, it should not be your only source of birth control. Ovarian suppression is not absolute, and there is no way to predict when your body will start ovulating again. Your period happens a couple of weeks after ovulation, which can result in a surprise pregnancy if other birth control methods aren’t in place. Be sure to speak with your provider about the best options to prevent pregnancy while breastfeeding.
What are the benefits of breastfeeding for your baby?
There are countless advantages breastfeeding has for your baby. Breastfed babies tend to have stronger immune systems, better vision, less constipation, and are at lower rate of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). But, what about you? People who breastfeed have a reduced risk of breast and ovarian cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease. It can also lessen postpartum bleeding and help stimulate the uterus to contract to return it to its normal size.
Not only does breastfeeding have a positive effect on your body and health, but it can also affect your mental health. Breastfeeding produces oxytocin and prolactin, which are naturally soothing hormones that promote stress reduction and increase positive feelings. This helps lessen the risk of postpartum depression.
Breastfeeding is a unique process for you and your baby. It is different for each patient and can vary with each pregnancy. Whether you choose to breastfeed or not, your physical and mental health is our highest priority. The staff and providers at Women’s Care are here for you without question or judgment.