When you’re a mom-to-be, one of the big decisions to make is whether or not to breastfeed. While many moms choose to breastfeed, others choose not to for a variety of reasons, such as not producing enough milk, pain when breastfeeding or a work schedule that makes it difficult to pump and nurse on a regular basis.

While making sure your baby is well fed is obviously most important, if breastfeeding is an option, it definitely has benefits for baby and mom! Read on for some very good reasons to breastfeed your baby for an extended period of time.

  1. A Stronger Bond Between Mom and Baby

    happy mother read a book to baby girl indoors

    Science Daily reports that, “Women who breastfeed their children longer exhibit more maternal sensitivity well past the infant and toddler years, according to a 10-year longitudinal study published by the American Psychological Association.”

  2. Baby Sleeps Better at Night

    According to NCBI, “Melatonin is secreted during the night in adults but not in infants.” Breastmilk contains melatonin. Babies who are exclusively breastfed have a tendency to be less irritable and to sleep better at night.

  3. Improved Brain Function

    The results of 20 different studies found that, “Significantly higher levels of cognitive function were seen in breast-fed than in formula-fed children at 6-23 mo of age and these differences were stable across successive ages.” What’s even more interesting and important to note is that low-birthweight babies showed an even bigger benefit from breastmilk. Also, the longer the babies were breastfed, the greater the benefits.

  4. Great Source of Nutrition

    One study found that mothers who breastfed their babies for longer than a year had increased fat and energy levels in their milk composition.

  5. Diverse, Beneficial Microbes

    Researchers have found that breastmilk contains 700+ different microbes. “The breast milk received from the mother is one of the factors determining how the bacterial flora will develop in the newborn baby.”

  6. Stronger Immune System

    Breastmilk contains white blood cells, and it actually changes as needed when mom or baby get sick.

  7. Improved Health

    We’re talking about the mother’s health here. It’s been found that when moms breastfeed for longer than a year, they have a reduced risk of getting “breast cancer, ovarian cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes.”

  8. Lose the Baby Weight

    One study found that women who breastfeed for at least 6 months drop the baby weight as opposed to gaining more weight.

Are you surprised by all the benefits of breastfeeding for mom and baby?