We can share study after study after study about the benefits of breastfeeding, and we often do. But we all know there is more to breastfeeding than just what science says about it. Nursing your baby is an emotional labor of love that many consider one of the most sacred things they do with and for their babies.
So, what are some of those additional perks that science may gloss over? Let us just name a few…
1. Looking in your baby’s eyes. All too soon she’ll be looking around and taking all the world in, even when nursing, so soak up that time where you can make that contact.
2. Holding your sweet little one. Of course, you can do this whether you’re breastfeeding or bottle-feeding. Nursing is not exclusive to intimacy with your baby, and we know that. But, when he’s solely depending on your breast for sustenance, the holds vary and are precious.
3. Getting a BREAK to sit down with a super good excuse.
4. Makes you feel relaxed.
6. Even after a busy, crazy, day with a baby and a bunch of other kids, you can look back and know that you held your baby a few times that day.
7. Getting an extra hour of sleep after the morning wake up when you nurse them back to sleep.
8. Being the person who feeds your baby skin to skin is a good feeling. It is like you and only you fed somebody and helped them grow. Amazing.
9. You know when you are nursing a baby that you were productive that day even if the dishes need doing. You helped a human grow, birthed them and sustain them. Pretty impressive, mama.
10. It magically makes them stay babies. For real. Or at least it sure feels like it does.
11. Babies and toddlers are quiet when they nurse. They move around, sure…but they’re quiet!
12. Fixing sadness.
13. Portable. Have milk, will travel.
14. I wouldn’t recommend camping with kids. But if you do choose such a thing, nursing makes it easier.
15. No runs to the store.
16. Breasts are easy to clean, and don’t usually need to be sanitized. (I am just kidding. I never sanitize mine.)
17. La Leche League- cool ladies, great friends.
18. It just makes sense.
20. On the other hand, you can easily nurse in the middle of church so you don’t distract all the other kids that would want to follow you out!
21. No getting up to prep anything in the middle of the night- it is a self-serve system! And in the middle of the night, that is so nice.
22. Lactating breasts are like a free pharmacy for the whole family! Ear infection, gooey eye, runny nose- NO PROBLEM! A little milk can fix it up. Seriously, try it.
23. Unoffensive poo. That cleans up off cloth diapers like magic. No, really, it does!
24. Liquid diet for sickies means they still get nourishment when they are sick.
25. Milk sharing. It just makes a mama feel like she is helping someone when she can share milk with a friend who really needs it for their baby.
26. One less thing to buy.
27. Seems to magically calm the whole house.
28. Helps you sit and reconnect with the other kids.
29. Gives you time to read a little (before they are grabby) which is just so NICE when you are a busy mom.
30. A meal that requires NO DISHES!!!!
31. A meal that requires no preparation!
32. A meal that requires no shopping!
33. One less thing in the diaper bag.
34. Happy baby on the plane! Just nurse them and they don’t scream. Not that we care if they scream–they’re babies and that air travel is different on their bodies. But, nursing certainly seems to be a fix.
35. Less hassle when they frisk you in security when you are getting ON the plane.
36. MONEY- it is saved. And again, we know that everyone can’t nurse their baby for various reasons, but the financial aspect of breastfeeding is quite significant.
37. No plastic.
38. The little games they play that only you see while they nurse.
39. Sweet nursing noises. Nothing like a slurping baby.
40. Getting thin faster.
41. Of course, there is also the added bonus of being able to say, “I’m nursing, I need the extra calories,” as you mainline donuts. Though admittedly, this may interfere with 40.
42. Firm breasts for a few months again! It is like being a teenager all over! Only this time, you know how to accentuate!
43. Perspective. It teaches you what your body is capable of and how little some of the sag matters. When the nursing journey is done, you’ll remember what those breasts really did.
44. Milk drunk babies.
45. Milky drool. Cute.
46. Sleepy milky smiles.
47. Putting a baby to sleep with your body is really pretty special.
48. Legal protection to nurse most anywhere.
49. It pissed off Barbra Walters.
50. Such HEALTHY babies! The nursing baby is the healthiest person in the house. Doctors can’t get over it.
51. Toddler calmer. Yes, you should still nurse your toddler if they are not ready to wean and you want to continue nursing. Society doesn’t get to tell you when to stop.
52. You can travel light! Baby, mama, diaper- GO!
53. It is fabulous to do something for your baby that nobody else can do.
54. Feeling fabulous about something after you just had a baby can be a big bonus when your hormones are going wacko.
55. Breastfeeding can help heal a birth that didn’t go as you planned.
56. NO AUNT FLOW!!!!!!!!! Okay, mostly. We know, sometimes it does come back even before you’ve stopped nursing, but generally speaking, it gives you a break.
57. A quiet phone call (while they nurse.)
58. Makes you love them more. Then again, so does every little thing they do.
59. Slows you down for a minute.
60. Gives you a chance to cuddle with a toddler, either one you are nursing or one who is no longer the baby and needs somebody warm to sit with.
61. Getting away with public nudity. Come on, you know it is fun. (I’m just kidding! It isn’t sexual.)
62. Oxytocin. It’s pretty freaking fabulous.
63. Builds confidence.
64. Hello- you grew a baby- and now you are feeding one!
65. Bonding. And yes, we know you bond with your baby no matter what, but there breastfeeding definitely gives a unique bonding.
66. Night feedings don’t get much easier than rolling over.
67. Never forget a snack.
68. It is nice to be somebodies favorite person for a while.
69. The original COMFORT food.
70. Guilt-free comfort food.
71. At the end of the day, after all the mistakes, I know at least I did one thing right.
72. Teaches you about your baby.
73. Gives you your first chance to teach your baby and work together towards a common goal.
74. Builds a relationship without words.
75. Strangely makes me feel like a feminist.
76. Feels very feminine also.
77. Snuggles. Oh, the skin-to-skin snuggles!
78. A little person who loves you and doesn’t see chub or fluff, they just see a warm, soft, pillow.
79. Memories for later.
80. No leftovers.
82. No waste.
83. The self-satisfaction of knowing you did your part to save the ozone.
84. Nursing- always a good answer/excuse/privilege!
85. All of a sudden, breasts are multipurpose for real.
87. It is just cool when your milk lets down and then the baby wakes up. Being totally in sync with another human is amazing.
88. Increases and decreases as needed. Because your baby tells your body all it needs to know. Pretty incredible.
89. Healthier mama.
90. Happier mama.
92. Being needed.
93. Needing somebody else.
94. Dad can do so many things I can’t do, it is nice to have something that I can do special for the kids.
95. Breastfed baby smell.
96. Breastfed baby skin.
97. I might not look that good in tights, but making milk is a superpower!
98. Chatting with moms about nursing- it just is awesome to be able to share and learn and teach each other.
99. Sometimes you just need a good reason to buy a new bra.