Breastfeeding is the most natural way of nursing an infant. In the early 1900s, the numerous health benefits of human milk were not known; but today we are aware of all its health promoting properties, not just for baby but also for mother.
o Nursing baby requires a lot of energy, especially when baby experiences a growth spurt and demands very frequent feeding. As such, breastfeeding is nature's easiest diet because it uses an extra 500 to 1,000 calories a day. If the mother eats healthily this is the chance to shed those unwanted pounds.
o By feeding baby, the body releases the hormone oxytocin which helps contract the uterus during the first few days after birth. This is extremely helpful as it stops residual bleeding and the uterus regains its former shape much quicker.
o Several studies have shown that breastfeeding is related to developing breast cancer; if a woman has breastfed she is at lower risk for pre-menopausal breast cancer.
o Continuous infant feeding prevents contraception by stopping ovulation. This phenomenon has been called "exogestation" - gestation outside the womb - because the female fertility system is programmed as if it was still pregnant. Baby's suckling sends a message to the body which indicates the baby's developmental stage: the more baby feeds the higher is the contraceptive protection; however, if baby is breastfed less frequently (less than every two hours), contraceptive protection may be much lower.
o The risk of developing ovarian cancer, osteoporosis and hip fractures in later life has also been shown to be significantly lower when breastfeeding.
o Women who have breastfed are less likely to develop heart disease too, as they tend to have higher levels of good cholesterol (HDL) in their blood.
o Mild forms of postnatal depression may be reduced or even prevented because the body's hormones make mothers feel more positive overall.
o Breastfeeding is cheaper: it does not require you to buy a lot of equipment and the savings in formula milk can add up significantly.
Most importantly, nursing mothers all agree that feeding baby is accompanied by an extremely warm, comforting feeling which helps strengthen a deep rooted bond. While baby suckles hormones are released into the mother's body which calm and relax her in order to make it a very positive experience, especially when she feels tired or stressed.