How breastfeeding makes life easier for mom

July 27, 2011. Posted in: Preparing to Breastfeed

By Kelly Bonyata, BS, IBCLC

 Going Out

Breastfed babies are incredibly portable, particularly in the first six months or so before they become mobile and before they are eating solids.

Breastfeeding moms can travel light. It will take less time to pack the diaper bag – all you need is a diaper & wipes, and perhaps a change of clothes for baby. I keep a couple of diapers, wipes and a change of clothes for baby in a backpack or hip pack (which doubles as my purse), but I don’t even take these with me if I’m going on a short shopping trip. I leave the bag in the car, put money and keys in my pocket and baby in the sling, and we’re off. For longer trips we’ll take the bag and sometimes a stroller.

You can go places on the spur of the moment, or stay out longer than you planned without worrying about what baby will eat.

No need to find a place to heat a bottle or a safe water source.

You will also cancel fewer social events and miss less work due to a sick baby.

Nervous about nursing in public? Read more here about Breastfeeding in Public.

 Need an extra hand?

With breastfeeding, you have an extra hand free (if you use a sling, you might have both hands free). With a little practice (once breastfeeding is going well), mom can breastfeed and eat at the same time, breastfeed and talk on the phone at the same time, etc. You can also breastfeed while you shop, care for other children or read.

 Save Time

Breastfeeding allows you to feed or calm your baby immediately, which leads to a happier baby who cries less.

With breastfeeding, there is nothing to prepare, buy or clean. No shopping for formula, measuring, mixing, warming or sterilizing. No time washing bottles and other feeding equipment.

If you work and pump or exclusively pump, you lose some of the timesaving benefits, but pumping moms have found that it is worth the extra time to provide baby with breastmilk.

 Rest & Relax

Nursing hormones help mom to feel relaxed and peaceful. Nursing your child can be a relaxing break, and can help a postpartum mom get enough rest. The calming hormones can also be really helpful when dealing with your older children!

Once mom and baby get the hang of it, mom can nurse and sleep at the same time. Being able to nurse immediately means that it’s easier to nurse baby as soon as he cues hunger and before baby gets upset – this way, mom and baby can both go back to sleep faster.

 Soothe illness

Nursing provides both superior nutrition, hydration and comfort when your baby is sick. Many times, nursing is the only way a sick child will be willing to eat or drink – breastfeeding children are much less likely to be hospitalized for dehydration. Nursing is extremely comforting to an ill baby and a major part of the healing process.

 Get your body back

Breastfeeding helps the uterus return to its regular size more quickly, so mom can get her tummy back into shape quicker.

Breastfeeding uses extra calories. Many moms have an easier time losing weight even without restricting calories. Research shows that exclusively breastfeeding mothers tend to have a greater loss of weight, body fat percentage, and hip and upper thigh circumference.

Don’t forget the many health benefits that mom gets by breastfeeding.

 Increase self esteem

Breastfeeding builds mom’s self-esteem.

 Space babies

Breastfeeding moms often go many months without a period. Exclusive breastfeeding delays fertility and helps with child spacing.

 Save Money

You can breastfeed without buying anything extra whatsoever: no formula costs; save money on birth control and menstrual supplies; save money on doctor bills, medications and future orthodontist bills; fewer missed work days.

No waste is involved in breastfeeding. You don’t have to throw out milk that baby doesn’t drink in a sitting. Even if you pump, the antibacterial qualities of breastmilk allow you to keep milk that baby doesn’t drink for the next feeding. In addition, no packaging materials are generated by breastfeeding.

More here on the cost benefits of breastfeeding.

 Other perks

Baby’s diapers smell better. Spit up doesn’t stain or smell bad. Breastfed babies tend to be less gassy, spit up less, don’t get constipated, and have fewer diaper rashes.

The frequency and closeness of nursing and attention to baby’s cues helps mom to bond with baby and learn baby’s cues more quickly.

 Enjoy peace of mind

Mom can be certain that baby is getting the absolute best in nutrition and immunities.

If your electricity or water goes out, no need to worry about baby’s food. Snowed in? No need to worry about getting to the store to buy formula. During natural disasters such as hurricanes, tornadoes and floods, breastmilk is available and safe.

 

Additional information

Cost benefits of breastfeeding @

Breastfeeding, Natural and Cheap: Frugal Advantages to Breast Feeding from Frugal Living at About.com

Testament to Breastfeeding by Patricia Lynn Janes

The Easy Way by Wendy Merron Goldenthal, Certified Breastfeeding Counselor

Yes, Busy Moms Can Keep Breastfeeding (WIC brochure)

A Well-Kept Secret: Breastfeeding’s Benefits to Mothers by Alicia Dermer, MD, IBCLC

Links: Dads and Breastfeeding @ has information on how breastfeeding can benefit Dad and other family members