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11 Benefits Of Breastfeeding Every Parent Needs To Know

11 Benefits Of Breastfeeding Every Parent Needs To Know

Deciding whether to breastfeed your child or not is a personal matter, one only you and your spouse can make. However, there are many scientifically proven benefits that suggest breastfeeding is the way to go—even if you can only manage to do it for a few months. Before you decide either way, make sure you know all the facts. Here are 11 benefits of breastfeeding that every parent needs to know.

1. Breastfeeding protects your baby from illnesses.

Breast milk not only contains all the vitamins and nutrients your baby needs to live, it also has qualities to protect your child from illnesses. Studies have shown that stomach viruses, ear infections, lower respiratory illnesses, and meningitis occur less often in babies who are fed breast milk, and instances of these illnesses are less severe when they do happen. The benefits last long beyond infancy to protect against type 1 and type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, and inflammatory bowel disease.

2. Breastfeeding can keep your baby from developing allergies.

Your body produces a substance called secretory immunoglobulin A (IgA) that forms a protective layer over the mucous membranes in your baby’s intestines, nose, and throat. This is what protects against illnesses, but it also helps prevent allergic reactions to food. Because your baby has this protective layer over his or her intestines as a result of ingesting breast milk, there is a lower risk of the inflammation that leads to allergic reactions and other health problems.

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3. Breastfeeding may boost your baby’s intelligence.

Scientific studies have shown that babies who were breastfed until later in infancy had higher scores on IQ and vocabulary tests. These scores increased relative to how long the baby had been breastfed! The fatty acids in breast milk more than likely play the biggest role in contributing to brainpower benefits.

4. Breastfeeding may protect your child from obesity.

It might seem too early to worry about obesity, but breastfeeding your baby now can prevent childhood and teenage obesity! Studies show breastfeeding helps prevent obesity because breastfed babies are better at eating until they’re satisfied, which sets the stage for healthier eating patterns when they’re older. Breast milk contains less insulin, which stimulates the creation of fat, than formula. Breastfed babies also have more leptin in their system, which is a hormone that regulates appetite and fat.

5. Breastfeeding may lower your baby’s risk of SIDS.

The link isn’t clear, but a study done in Germany in 2009 showed that breastfed babies were less likely to die from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Feeding a baby exclusively breast milk at one month of age cuts the risk of SIDS in half. Since it’s a mysterious occurrence anyway, it’s good to know that there’s a natural way to prevent this happening.

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6. Breastfeeding can reduce your stress level and your risk of postpartum depression.

Nursing triggers the release of oxytocin, a hormone that relaxes you and promotes the nurturing feeling you need to feel towards your baby. Higher levels of oxytocin lead to lower blood pressure, which reduces your stress and likelihood of depression.

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    7. Breastfeeding may reduce your risk of certain types of cancer.

    The longer you breastfeed, the more you’re protected against breast and ovarian cancer. It seems that nursing for at least a year has the most protective effect, especially in the case of breast cancer. Lactation suppresses the amount of estrogen your body produces, which is of benefit in preventing breast and ovarian cancer.

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    8. Breastfeeding may reduce your risk of osteoporosis.

    Mothers might experience a bone-mineral loss while they’re breastfeeding their baby, but the mineral density is replenished after lactation. It even increases, which helps reduce your risk of osteoporosis later on.

    9. Breastfeeding helps you lose your baby weight faster.

    Breastfeeding burns extra calories, so all that weight you gained during pregnancy can come off faster! Actually, some of the weight you gain during pregnancy is used as an energy source for lactation.

    10. Breastfeeding saves money.

    It’s estimated to cost about $1,200 a year to formula feed your baby, but mothers who breastfeed save about $400 a year! Even if you use a breast pump and bottles instead of feeding your baby personally each time, you’re buying fewer supplies than mothers who exclusively use formula. Giving your baby breast milk doesn’t require you to run to the store, so there’s an added bonus of ease of feeding.

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    11. Breastfeeding gives you time to bond with your baby.

    It was stated above that breastfeeding releases oxytocin, which relaxes you and makes you feel nurturing towards your baby. Factor this in with the time you’ll take out of your day just to sit with your baby and enjoy this short but sweet time of their life.

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    Last Updated on January 21, 2020

    The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

    The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

    Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

    your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

      Why You Need a Vision

      Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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      How to Create Your Life Vision

      Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

      What Do You Want?

      The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

      It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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      Some tips to guide you:

      • Remember to ask why you want certain things
      • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
      • Give yourself permission to dream.
      • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
      • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

      Some questions to start your exploration:

      • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
      • What would you like to have more of in your life?
      • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
      • What are your secret passions and dreams?
      • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
      • What do you want your relationships to be like?
      • What qualities would you like to develop?
      • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
      • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
      • What would you most like to accomplish?
      • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

      It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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      What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

      Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

      A few prompts to get you started:

      • What will you have accomplished already?
      • How will you feel about yourself?
      • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
      • What does your ideal day look like?
      • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
      • What would you be doing?
      • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
      • How are you dressed?
      • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
      • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
      • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

      It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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      Plan Backwards

      It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

      • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
      • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
      • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
      • What important actions would you have had to take?
      • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
      • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
      • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
      • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
      • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

      Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

      It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

      Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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