The advantages of breastfeeding are numerous. Many working women are under the impression that breastfeeding their baby will be too difficult. We are here to tell you that not only is breastfeeding EASIER than formula feeding, but there are numerous benefits for both you and your baby.
One of the primary advantages of breastfeeding is that breastmilk is the perfect food for your baby. Not only is it the perfect food for your baby when it is first born, but the components in your breast milk change over time to support baby in each stage of baby’s development. Your breast milk is the only food your baby needs for the first 6-9 months of life.
Unlike formula – which is heavily processed—breast milk is a live fluid that baby can digest easily and rapidly. It includes all of the known vitamins, minerals and enzymes that baby needs to develop optimally as well as all of the yet unknown ones.
If you doubt me, check out the ingredients on a box of formula. How many do you actually recognize? There are no whole foods there, just highly processed chemicals. For more fun, enter some of the ingredients on a site like Skin Deep the Cosmetic Safety Database by Environmental Working Group which reports on the safety of chemicals applied to the skin. You will find that many of the chemicals in formula are toxic if applied to the skin, much less ingested by your baby!
Babies who are breastfed smell better. They are less likely to experience digestive upsets, diaper rashes or respiratory infections. Your breast milk includes live enzymes that are necessary for your baby’s immature intestines to absorb the vitamins and minerals necessary for proper growth and development. This is the main reason that babies that are breastfed have higher IQ’s than bottle fed babies.
This is one of the biggest advantages of breastfeeding. Babies are not born with a mature immune system. They have virtually no immunity at all when they are born. Instead, their immune system will develop over their first two years of life. Colostrum and breast milk supply your baby with important immune factors during this vulnerable period. When you hear reports about babies dying of flu during the first year of life, you need to understand that those babies were not breastfed.
Breastfeeding ensures that you baby will be sick less of the time, allowing more time for baby to explore physically and mature mentally. For working women, this means you can take more vacation days instead of sick days. It also means more sleep.
Not only is baby healthier, but your chances of getting breast cancer are much lower if you breastfeed.
Nothing is nicer than being able to lie down and nurse your baby when you return from a long day’s work. It is a great way to immediately reconnect with your baby after being away for an extended time. Breastfeeding causes the secretion of prolactin and oxytocin, the “mothering hormones”.
One of the biggest advantages of breastfeeding is that it is nature’s way of ensuring that mothers can do the best for their babies. We think it is responsible for our mother’s “intuition”…allowing us to stay calm and relaxed so we can best respond to our baby needs.
Another of the big advantages of breastfeeding is that breast milk is always available, properly mixed and heated to the correct temperature. Most babies are able to empty a breast in less than five minutes once they are three months old. That means that preparing formula alone can take as much time as an entire nursing. With nursing you don’t have to worry about all the preparation and cleanup necessary with bottle feeding.
This means a lot, especially in the middle of the night. Would you rather grab baby and lie down in bed together tummy to tummy -- for a fifteen minute nursing—or would you rather get up, go downstairs, get the formula, measure, mix and then sit in a chair for 15 minutes while baby has a bottle before returning baby to bed and cleaning everything up?
Now imagine a family outing. If you bottle feed you will need to make sure you assemble bottles, formula and filtered water for before your trip. Upon return, you will need to clean all those dirty bottles. If you are nursing, the only thing you may need to remember is to bring some filtered water - so you stay hydrated! Air travel and longer trips are even easier when you are nursing.
We hope we have convinced you that there are numerous advantages to breastfeeding. Please check out our Working and Breastfeeding page for advice on how to breastfeed after returning to work. For example, you will see that the amount of work necessary to maintain your milk production is greatly reduced if you keep one middle-of-the-night feeding.
When you consider all of the advantages of breastfeeding, especially the health and bonding benefits, you will see breastfeeding really is easier for working moms in the long run.