The pediatrician discussed numerous topics with us during my son’s recent one-year checkup, including which foods to introduce, which skills to focus on, and which vaccines may be necessary for the future. The fact that you can find these details in any baby book made none of them surprising to me.
However, while we were wrapping up our session, the pediatrician reminded me how important it is to continue breastfeeding for at least another year, or four times a day. Hold on a sec… I thought it was recommended that nursing be ceased once a child reached the end of the infancy stage.
After doing some research, I discovered the following to be the most widely accepted advice for breastfeeding mothers.
Recommendations for Breastfeeding Today
The World Health Organization and the American Academy of Family Physicians both advocate breastfeeding for at least two years, which I found shocking. In fact, there is no evidence of psychological harm from extended breastfeeding, thus it should be continued as long as desired by both the mother and the baby.
As I learned more about nursing after the first year, I began to reflect on the many advantages it offers. Although these advantages get stronger the longer a mother breastfeeds, even those who do so for only a short time might enjoy many of them. The benefits of breastfeeding to both you and your kid are listed below.
Advantages of Breastfeeding for Health
There are several, well-documented advantages to breastfeeding, particularly for the health of the mother and child. When deciding whether or not to breastfeed, keep the following in mind:
Advantages for Babies
1. Offers immunity to diseases.
Children who have been breastfed for less than two years have a higher risk of sickness, according to the American Association of Family Physicians. Furthermore, toddlers who are breastfed recover from illness more quickly than those who are not.
The World Health Organization also suggests that if more mothers chose to breastfeed their infants, it would reduce the number of infant mortality rates.
2. Offers immunity against allergies
Breastfeeding has been found effective in reducing the risk of asthma and allergies in children. This may have long-lasting repercussions for the kid’s health and bank account.
3. The ideal food source
About 250 breast milk components are still a mystery. The nutritional value is mind-bogglingly immense. Even more of these nutrients are absorbed throughout the second year of life.
A youngster only needs 16 ounces of breast milk every day to receive:
- 29% of energy requirements
- 43% of protein requirements
- 36% of calcium requirements
- 75% of vitamin A requirements
- 76% of folate requirements
- 94% of vitamin B12 requirements
- 60% of vitamin C requirements
It’s important to remember that breast milk does not provide enough vitamin D for a developing infant, so you’ll need to make sure your baby gets enough in other ways.
4. Might lessen the chance of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)
Safe sleeping environments for infants are a top priority for most parents because sudden infant death syndrome is everyone’s biggest fear. Protecting your infant in different ways includes nursing.
Studies have found that the risk of sudden infant death syndrome is significantly reduced in breastfed infants, while other factors, like socioeconomic status and maternal smoking, may be at play.
5. Might boost intelligence
In addition to a relationship between the two, research has also found that the longer a baby was breastfed, the smarter they turned out to be as an adult.
There are many confounding issues here, as there were in the SIDS study, but the evidence continues to point to the superiority of breast milk for the developing brain of an infant.
6. Can help prevent obesity
It’s interesting to see how breastfed infants tend to be smaller than their formula-fed counterparts. Breastfeeding is a fantastic first step toward helping your child avoid a future battle with weight issues.
7. Facilitates social adjustment
The link between mother and child is strengthened through breastfeeding, according to studies. Your infant will develop a deep feeling of trust in you as you tend to his or her needs. Babies who feel safe and loved eventually develop into strong, capable children.
Advantages for Mothers
1. May lower stress and Postpartum Depression (PPD) risk
Being a mother is challenging and can evoke a wide range of feelings, some of them unpleasant. Breastfeeding not only gives a period of calm for mom and baby, but it also triggers the production of chemicals that make you feel good and help you unwind.
2. Could lower the incidence of certain malignancies
Cancers of the breast, ovaries, uterus, and cervix are all represented here. Breastfeeding is associated with a reduced risk of breast cancer, thus continuing to do so well into the child’s second year is an excellent idea.
In addition to improving quality of life, avoiding serious diseases may have a positive impact on one’s financial security in old age (i.e. saving on medical expenses).
3. Aids in shedding baby weight
Feeding a baby consumes 600 calories each day for the average mom. Sitting and interacting with your infant burns 600 calories every day. While it’s true that not every woman can attribute her postpartum weight loss to breastfeeding, many can, including me and a few of my friends.
4. Might lower the risk of contracting various diseases
The risk of osteoporosis in later life is lowered in women who breastfeed. While nursing, the baby receives many of the mother’s nutrients.
Her body will immediately begin working to restore her bone density to pre-nursing levels once she weans. Similarly, breastfeeding is associated with a lower chance of developing rheumatoid arthritis.
5. Postpones the reemergence of fertility
Large natural family size is something I strongly support. However, a woman’s physical health can be negatively affected by having multiple children in rapid succession and her sanity.
Breastfeeding causes a delay in fertility, which is helpful for most families because it allows for a more manageable number of children. However, it’s important to bear in mind that nursing is no guarantee against becoming pregnant.
For new mothers, health advantages are perhaps the most pressing issue. But how about the cash? Is breast milk truly more economical than formula? If it does save money, how much is it?
Advantages of Breastfeeding Financially
Breastfeeding saves money in the most obvious way: the milk is free. However, there are some expenses that come with breastfeeding. Remember, they’re all optional based on your family’s needs.
A mother might theoretically breastfeed her child for years without incurring any costs. How much money have I spent on being a stay-at-home parent for a year and nursing my child? I haven’t made many of the extra purchases, so the final tally is probably under $100.
In order to have a sense of how much these charges could affect your life, it’s a good idea to take a look at some of the possibilities.
Disadvantages Fees Associated with Breastfeeding
1. Breast pumps and related equipment
If you’re a working mother who can’t nurse your child during the day, a breast pump — one of the most expensive items you’ll buy for your infant — may be a must. HealthCareInsider reports that breast pumps are frequently covered by insurance, and they are a popular baby shower gift.
If you must make the purchase on your own, give serious consideration to your own requirements. The price of a pump can vary from $45 to $400. It is recommended to inquire with a lactation counselor at the hospital about rental or payment plan options if you discover you require one of the more powerful and costly models.
As can be seen below, the Medela Pump in Style Advanced Breast Pump with Backpack may be purchased for roughly $250.
2. Bottles and Accessories for Bottles
The infant will need to be breastfed or given bottles if you will be away for long periods of time. And since infants are notoriously picky eaters, you might need to try a few different brands before finding the one that hits the mark. Even if you receive financial assistance in the form of a baby shower, you can expect to spend money on this.
The going rate for a high-quality 3-bottle bundle is $15. You may easily spend an extra $100 on extras like a bottle sterilizer, warmer, and brush. You shouldn’t go into debt buying goods you won’t use, so evaluate your needs carefully. Bottles manufactured of BPA-free plastic are recommended.
An affordable choice (three for $15) is Dr. Brown’s BPA-free polypropylene Natural Flow wide-neck bottle.
3. Nursing Garments
Absolutely nothing forces you to do this. A mother on a tight budget need not spend money on nursing bras and tops because she can get by without them. Prices for nursing bras and tops can range from $15 to $25 per item. As with most things, you get what you pay for. For $16, here is the Mandela Women’s Sleep Nursing Bra.
For the mother, lanolin cream is a barrier against dryness and cracking. Make use of this before you leave the hospital, as it is provided free of charge assuming you choose a hospital birth.
In all likelihood, you will never have to buy any because a little goes a long way. You can acquire a large container of lanolin for less than $10 (like the Now Foods Lanolin Pure, 7-Ounce for $8) if you really have to buy some.
5. Nursing Pillows
These are meant to provide mom and baby a helping hand and make nursing more pleasant for everyone involved. Another item that is likely to turn up at your baby shower is this. If you don’t have one, you may always substitute a standard pillow.
Nursing pillows with covers are an extra $15 each and typically cost around $25. See the Leachco Cuddle-U Nursing Pillow, on sale for $25, down below.
Breastfeeding mothers should take prenatal vitamins because their milk will contain many of the vitamins and minerals they consume. Luckily, there are a ton of wonderful places to stock up on vitamins on the cheap, so the overall price is relatively low. I
f you buy your vitamins without a prescription, you should expect to spend roughly $10 for 60 pills, whereas if you need a doctor’s note, you’ll need to budget $20 monthly. New Chapter Perfect Prenatal contains 192 vitamin and mineral pills and costs roughly $46 or $15 for 48 tablets.
What do nursing mothers and expectant mothers have in common? Both of them have really large appetites. Nursing mothers have a higher caloric need, at about 500 per day, compared to the additional 300 needed by pregnant women.
If you previously spent more than usual on food during your pregnancy, you might not see much of a difference after the baby is born. Don’t forget to stock up on grocery coupons and utilize them frequently.
8. Different Accessories
Additional breastfeeding essentials include feeding covers (about $30) and milk storage bags (around $10 for a box of 25).
If you don’t require a pump and don’t buy the extra supplies, the cost of nursing care is $0. If you do require a pump, however, it might cost you upwards of $1,000. A lot of these items will be featured prominently on your baby registry, so you probably won’t spend more than a thousand dollars total.
Breastfeeding Cost Savings
Given the aforementioned costs, you may be asking whether or not breastfeeding is more cost-effective than bottle feeding. You can save a lot of money by choosing to breastfeed your kid, and this is true regardless of whether or not you spend a lot of money on nursing accessories.
Get a rundown of the money you might save below:
The cost of the formula might be quite high. It’s true that this is the most costly part of raising a formula-fed infant in the first year. Depending on your child’s dietary needs and the brand of formula you choose, I would say that the annual cost of the formula would be roughly $1,800.
2. Bottles and Bottle Accessory
You might not need bottles if you’re nursing, but you’ll want to stock up if you aren’t. Actually, you’ll want a lot more of these. Bottles and extras will get you close to $200.
3. Whole Milk
If you continue breastfeeding your child into their second year, you’ll save money on whole milk, which is typically used instead of formula after a baby reaches one year of age. This may save families hundreds of dollars a year, given the escalating cost of milk and the difficulty of finding coupons for it.
For illustration, if you need two gallons of milk every week and it costs $3 per gallon, you will spend over $300 per year on milk alone!
4. Price of Illness Treatment and Prevention
The costs of treating a sick child, both in terms of medical care and medicine, can pile up quickly. As a result, it stands to reason that if your child gets sick less often and for shorter periods of time, you will be able to save money.
Costs associated with seeing a doctor range from $20 to $40, while pediatric medications range from $5 to $10. With a child who gets sick every other month, you’ll spend over $200 annually on medical care.
Bottle-feeding expenses totaled $2,700 during a two-year period. Nursing savings; Two years of nursing could result in savings of up to $2,700!Even if you get every bottle and accessory as a present, nobody is going to purchase your formula, whole milk, or cover your medical expenses.
These expenses will pile up over the course of two years and have a bigger impact on your budget than you might anticipate.
It’s true that not everyone should breastfeed. For some families, a mother who must return to work could find it challenging to balance work and home life. If a mother is physically unable to breastfeed, that is also acceptable. A great and healthy substitute is the formula.
However, there is really no rivalry when it comes to nursing vs. formula feeding. Even though it can be challenging at times, especially in the beginning, it will be worthwhile for the mother and the child throughout their lives.
The strongest benefit of nursing is that it forges a link between a mother and child that is unbreakable and unreplaceable. I would still choose to breastfeed even if it did cost more than formula since I consider myself to be fairly economical.