Breastmilk or liquid gold, as many women often refer to it, is one of the most precious, lifelong gifts a mother can give to her newborn, yet, many mothers are still not aware of the health benefits breastfeeding affords them. According to a survey1 conducted by David Burnett & Associates for Lansinoh Laboratories®, 100 percent of new moms (first-time and experienced) cite health benefits for baby as the number one reason for choosing to breastfeed, but less than half, 44 percent, made the decision to breastfeed based on the health benefits it offers for themselves.
“The extent to which breastfeeding affects a mother’s health is rarely emphasized,” says noted pediatrician James Sears, M.D., co-author of The Baby Book, and a member of the Lansinoh® Breastfeeding Advisory Board. “Choosing to breastfeed or offering pumped breastmilk gives a baby a healthy start in life and provides a variety of health benefits for mothers, too.” These include:
• Lowering the Risk of Certain Diseases:
Decreasing the risk of breast cancer is one of the more important health benefits of breastfeeding. “It is becoming well documented that breastfeeding decreases a mother’s chances of developing pre- or post-menopausal breast cancer and this benefit is strongly connected with the length of time a woman breastfeeds,” explains Dr. Sears. “Any amount of breastfeeding is beneficial to mom and baby, research shows – two weeks is good, four months is even better, and more than six months is best as far as protection against breast cancer goes.” However, he notes that nothing can completely eliminate this risk and family history is always an important factor in developing breast cancer.
Some studies have also shown a decrease in ovarian and uterine cancers in women who breastfeed. “While breastfeeding full-time, most mothers do not ovulate and do not have menstrual periods; less menstrual cycles overall means less estrogen exposure, which may explain the reduced cancer risk,” says Dr. Sears.
Another known benefit of breastfeeding for mothers is a lower risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. Researchers say breastfeeding may change mothers’ metabolism in ways that make the possible connection plausible.
Lastly, breastfeeding mothers may develop strong bones. Studies show that after weaning their children, breastfeeding mothers’ bone density returns to a pre-pregnancy or possibly even a higher level; in the long-term, breastfeeding may actually result in stronger bones and reduced risk of osteoporosis.
Being a mother can be very stressful, particularly for first-time moms in the early months when babies may not be sleeping for long stretches of time, causing sleep deprivation. Breastfeeding or pumping breastmilk triggers and releases oxytocin (sometimes called the “love hormone”) that can help moms relax and feel less stressed. Also, breastfeeding requires a mother to take some quiet time for herself and her baby – something that may seem elusive in the hectic first months after giving birth. Breastfeeding can also help a mother bond with her baby, which is key, considering that physical contact is so important to a newborn to help him feel more secure, comforted and loved. Further, this bonding may result in a mother’s increased self-confidence due to the feeling of closeness she has developed with her infant.
• Shedding Pregnancy Pounds:
Another well-documented benefit of breastfeeding is more rapid and sustained weight loss. Nursing mothers burn extra calories, making it easier to lose the pounds put on during pregnancy. “Breastfeeding also helps the uterus to go back to its normal size and lessen the bleeding a woman may have after giving birth,” explains Dr. Sears. Milk production burns 200 to 500 calories a day: to burn off an equivalent number of calories, a formula-feeding mother would need to swim 30 laps or ride a bicycle for more than an hour.
“Breastfeeding mothers only need to consume 300 to 500 additional calories a day in order to produce adequate milk,” says Dr. Sears. “Cutting calories or dieting while nursing is not recommended as it will likely affect your milk supply.”
• Save Money & Time:
Breastfeeding saves time and money. You do not have to purchase, measure and mix formula and there are no bottles to warm in the middle of the night! And, because breastfed babies are generally healthier and get sick less often than formula-fed babies, mothers don’t spend as much on doctor visits and medicine. “Today, many mothers are working outside of the home, trying to balance work and family,” explains Dr. Sears. “Because breastfed babies are less likely to be as sick as often as non-breastfed babies, mothers tend to miss less work. Many working mothers also appreciate the closeness of nursing their baby after a long day at work,” he adds.
And, breastfeeding is free! Even if a baby is fed expressed breastmilk and moms need to purchase a breast pump, the new Lansinoh Manual Breast Pump, Lansinoh Double Electric Breast Pump and feeding accessories are far less expensive than what she would spend on formula over the long term. In fact, research shows the average non-nursing mother can spend close to $2,000 a year on formula and feeding accessories, while a quality electric breast pump, such as the one now offered from Lansinoh, costs under $200.
New and expecting moms can visit www.lansinoh.com to:
• Enter to win the “Lansinoh Win A Dream Nursery” Sweepstakes (winner to be announced December 4, 2007)
• Register for a chance to win a free new Lansinoh Manual Breast Pump (three pumps will be awarded each month)
• Learn more about Lansinoh breastfeeding products and “where to buy” information
• Sign up for the new Pre-Natal Nurture Notes™, special e-messages received twice a month during the last trimester that focus on preparing for the baby’s birth and breastfeeding, or, the popular Nurture Notes™, e-messages that provide breastfeeding tips, encouragement and support until the baby’s first birthday
Lansinoh Laboratories was founded by a breastfeeding mother more than 20 years ago to support families who choose to nurture and nourish their children naturally with breastmilk. Lansinoh offers a complete line of premium breastfeeding products, including the safest and purest form of lanolin designed for use by breastfeeding mothers to relieve nipple soreness, nursing pads, breastmilk storage bags and bottles, clean and condition cloths for babies, and double electric and manual breast pumps. Lansinoh products can be found at mass merchandisers and drug stores nationwide and at select online retailers. For a complete listing of retailers, visit www.lansinoh.com.