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8 Reasons Breastfeeding Is Great for Your Health

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We've all heard that "breast is best" when it comes to feeding your baby, but what about the effects it has on mom? From lowering the risk of certain cancers to reducing stress, it turns out that breastfeeding has many health benefits for mom too.

1. Breastfeeding Burns Calories

How many of us spend a long part of our pregnancy and post-birth time wishing we could fit back into our favorite pair of jeans? Most of us, for sure. Well, if you've opted to breastfeed, the good news is  Makbib Diro, M.D. told Women's Health that breastfeeding burns between 300 and 500 calories per day. That'll help you fit into those jeans a bit faster.

2. Oxytocin Helps Your Uterus Heal

Oxytocin is a hormone that is released while breastfeeding. One of the side effects of oxytocin production is uterine contraction. The contractions help to shrink your uterus back it its original size. Oxytocin is also known as the "love hormone" so if you feel extra lovey toward your baby when you're nursing, you can thank hormones.

3. Breastfeeding Lowers Your Risk of Breast Cancer

Citing a pool of 47 research studies, Susan G. Komen reports that women who breastfed for a lifetime total of one year had a decreased risk of acquiring breast cancer. Women who breastfed for a total of two years showed double the benefit. The longer you can breastfeed, the more protection you'll receive.

4. It Also Lowers Your Risk of Ovarian Cancer

Much like the inverse correlation between breastfeeding and breast cancer risk, cancer.gov reports that the longer you breastfeed the lower your chances become of developing ovarian cancer. While nothing in life is guaranteed, breastfeeding certainly seems to be an excellent cancer prevention plan.

5. Breastfeeding Lowers Your Risk of Osteoporosis

While breastfeeding does temporarily decrease calcium stores in your body, La Leche League cited a report that shows after weaning a woman's bone density returns to pre-pregnancy, or higher, levels. This means that your risk of fractures when you're post-menopausal will be lower than non-breastfeeding moms the same age.

6. Breastfeeding Lowers Your Risk of Type 2 Diabetes

A decade-long study at Kaiser-Permanente was reported on by WebMD. The study again showed that the longer you breastfeed, the higher level of protection you receive. Breastfeeding for nine months showed a 56% reduction in risk of developing metabolic syndrome, which is linked to Type 2 Diabetes.

7. Saving Money Reduces Stress

Finances are a major stressor for most people. Navigating motherhood is challenging for the best of us, and worrying about money on top of adjusting to being a new mom is more than most of us can handle. Using Enfamil's formula calculator we found that a six-month-old baby would need 10 cartons of formula per month, at a cost of almost $260. Breastfeeding for a year could save you around $3000.

8. It's a Great Excuse to Relax and Bond with Baby

One of the best things about breastfeeding your baby is that only you can provide the nutrition your baby needs. Taking time to appreciate just sitting, relaxing, catching up on your favorite TV show, or reading a book are all tasks you can easily accomplish while nursing. Don't be afraid to occasionally time dinner with a long nursing session and have your partner take care of cooking for you. Enjoy this time, it doesn't last forever.

 
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