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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 September 18, 2020

    7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

    7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

    Learning how to get in shape and set goals is important if you’re looking to live a healthier lifestyle and get closer to your goal weight. While this does require changes to your daily routine, you’ll find that you are able to look and feel better in only two weeks.

    Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to get in shape. Although anyone can cover the basics (eat right and exercise), there are some things that I could only learn through trial and error. Let’s cover some of the most important points for how to get in shape in two weeks.

    1. Exercise Daily

    It is far easier to make exercise a habit if it is a daily one. If you aren’t exercising at all, I recommend starting by exercising a half hour every day. When you only exercise a couple times per week, it is much easier to turn one day off into three days off, a week off, or a month off.

    If you are already used to exercising, switching to three or four times a week to fit your schedule may be preferable, but it is a lot harder to maintain a workout program you don’t do every day.

    Be careful to not repeat the same exercise routine each day. If you do an intense ab workout one day, try switching it up to general cardio the next. You can also squeeze in a day of light walking to break up the intensity.

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    If you’re a morning person, check out these morning exercises that will start your day off right.

    2. Duration Doesn’t Substitute for Intensity

    Once you get into the habit of regular exercise, where do you go if you still aren’t reaching your goals? Most people will solve the problem by exercising for longer periods of time, turning forty-minute workouts into two hour stretches. Not only does this drain your time, but it doesn’t work particularly well.

    One study shows that “exercising for a whole hour instead of a half does not provide any additional loss in either body weight or fat”[1].

    This is great news for both your schedule and your levels of motivation. You’ll likely find it much easier to exercise for 30 minutes a day instead of an hour. In those 30 minutes, do your best to up the intensity to your appropriate edge to get the most out of the time.

    3. Acknowledge Your Limits

    Many people get frustrated when they plateau in their weight loss or muscle gaining goals as they’re learning how to get in shape. Everyone has an equilibrium and genetic set point where their body wants to remain. This doesn’t mean that you can’t achieve your fitness goals, but don’t be too hard on yourself if you are struggling to lose weight or put on muscle.

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    Acknowledging a set point doesn’t mean giving up, but it does mean realizing the obstacles you face.

    Expect to hit a plateau in your own fitness results[2]. When you expect a plateau, you can manage around it so you can continue your progress at a more realistic rate. When expectations meet reality, you can avoid dietary crashes.

    4. Eat Healthy, Not Just Food That Looks Healthy

    Know what you eat. Don’t fuss over minutia like whether you’re getting enough Omega 3’s or tryptophan, but be aware of the big things. Look at the foods you eat regularly and figure out whether they are healthy or not. Don’t get fooled by the deceptively healthy snacks just pretending to be good for you.

    The basic nutritional advice includes:

    • Eat unprocessed foods
    • Eat more veggies
    • Use meat as a side dish, not a main course
    • Eat whole grains, not refined grains[3]

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    Eat whole grains when you want to learn how to get in shape.

      5. Watch Out for Travel

      Don’t let a four-day holiday interfere with your attempts when you’re learning how to get in shape. I don’t mean that you need to follow your diet and exercise plan without any excursion, but when you are in the first few weeks, still forming habits, be careful that a week long break doesn’t terminate your progress.

      This is also true of schedule changes that leave you suddenly busy or make it difficult to exercise. Have a backup plan so you can be consistent, at least for the first month when you are forming habits.

      If travel is on your schedule and can’t be avoided, make an exercise plan before you go[4], and make sure to pack exercise clothes and an exercise mat as motivation to keep you on track.

      6. Start Slow

      Ever start an exercise plan by running ten miles and then puking your guts out? Maybe you aren’t that extreme, but burnout is common early on when learning how to get in shape. You have a lifetime to be healthy, so don’t try to go from couch potato to athletic superstar in a week.

      If you are starting a running regime, for example, run less than you can to start. Starting strength training? Work with less weight than you could theoretically lift. Increasing intensity and pushing yourself can come later when your body becomes comfortable with regular exercise.

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      7. Be Careful When Choosing a Workout Partner

      Should you have a workout partner? That depends. Workout partners can help you stay motivated and make exercising more fun. But they can also stop you from reaching your goals.

      My suggestion would be to have a workout partner, but when you start to plateau (either in physical ability, weight loss/gain, or overall health) and you haven’t reached your goals, consider mixing things up a bit.

      If you plateau, you may need to make changes to continue improving. In this case it’s important to talk to your workout partner about the changes you want to make, and if they don’t seem motivated to continue, offer a thirty day break where you both try different activities.

      I notice that guys working out together tend to match strength after a brief adjustment phase. Even if both are trying to improve, something seems to stall improvement once they reach a certain point. I found that I was able to lift as much as 30-50% more after taking a short break from my regular workout partner.

      Final Thoughts

      Learning how to get in shape in as little as two weeks sounds daunting, but if you’re motivated and have the time and energy to devote to it, it’s certainly possible.

      Find an exercise routine that works for you, eat healthy, drink lots of water, and watch as the transformation begins.

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      Featured photo credit: Alexander Redl via unsplash.com

      Reference

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