The Benefits of Breast-Feeding

The Baby
Breast-feeding is very healthy for both the mother and the baby. While breast-feeding protects the baby against various illnesses and provides excellent nutrition, it also has many benefits for the mother.

The Mother
One of the most important benefits for breast feeding mothers is the emotional bond that it creates with the baby. In terms of medical benefits, women who breast-feed have a lower incidence of breast cancer and ovarian cancer. Breast feeding mothers are also less likely to become obese or to develop calcium problems later in life. There is new evidence that suggests that breast feeding mothers also help to lower their blood pressure.

During breast-feeding, the mother's body produced a hormone called oxytocin. A recent study correlated higher levels of oxytocin with lower blood pressures. It appears that oxytocin, in addition to having a role in the release of milk, may also interact with the stress response systems of the body. Oxytocin is also thought to put women in a better mood and increase their pain tolerance. This may explain why many women report feeling more relaxed after nursing. It may be the oxytocin talking. Just one more reason to breast-feed your baby. Of course, there's less formula and bottles to deal with. That will decrease a new mom's stress levels too.

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