I recently read a very funny take on some of the “shallow” benefits of breastfeeding: http://www.scarymommy.com/reasons-to-breastfeed/
Then I read a super-involved discussion of breastfeeding benefits and debunking of naysayers:
Here’s my version – The Top 5 Lifestyle Benefits of Breastfeeding:
1. It’s Convenient – My breasts are with me all the time, for instant-access, anywhere, anytime, fuss-and-mess-free feedings. No supplies, no measuring, no washing, no prepping, no-nonsense.
2. It’s Cheap – Infant formula costs between $700-$1500 per year. Gasp. That’s not counting all the bottles, cleaning products, and other accessories. Don’t know about you, but that’s just plain out of my budget. Some companies are sure getting rich off feeding babies, at the expense of exhausted, often financially-stressed Moms.
3. It’s Calming – Screaming baby, *glump*, no screaming baby. Before your child can communicate, being at Momma’s breast is the perfect, instant answer to any upset. I truly don’t know how formula feeding Moms do it, but I suspect that lack-of-the-all-pacifying-breast may be the reason people in public places shudder when they see a baby coming – they’re waiting for the infamous scream-that-never-ends, something that doesn’t exist in my house.
4. It’s Carefree – A breastfeeding Mom really doesn’t have to over-think anything. For the first year of my baby’s life I ate what I wanted, when I wanted, fed my baby whenever he needed, napped with him when I could, bathed with him, slept with him, cuddled him, rocked him at night – I was able to go purely on parenting instinct and had the joy of watching my little one’s struggles and smiles without constantly wondering if I was doing the right thing. I didn’t have to wonder – I could feel the right thing.
5. It’s Bliss – Postpartum depression, is that really a thing? Sadly, it is, but breastfeeding Moms are treated to an instant cure-all, being bombarded with Nature’s Best Drugs every time baby nurses. The flood of fantastic happy-making hormones has all kinds of benefits: lower blood pressure, better sleep, and just a nifty good mood. It doesn’t make breastfeeding Moms immune to stress and depression, but it sure helps. And if you take it a step further to that spiritual side, there’s just nothing more right in the world than a happy, sleepy baby at Momma’s breast. Best. Feeling. Ever.
Summary: If you’re currently breastfeeding or thinking of starting, consider that it doesn’t have to be a huge undertaking . Don’t try to be perfect, just remember that this is what the species has been doing for thousands of years. If it was so hard to accomplish, we wouldn’t have survived! It’s a natural, instinctive, often fun, always rewarding way to parent and bond with your baby.
–Elizabeth B. , LLL Mom, 2013