Breastfeeding Benefits for Mothers
From helping with recovery after giving birth to possible long-term health benefits, breast-feeding can be beneficial to the health and wellbeing of mothers, too.
Faster Recovery After Childbirth
After giving birth, when you are breastfeeding, you secrete a particular hormone, oxytocin, which causes the uterus to contract and return to its original size more quickly. These contractions are generally not very painful, and usually last three to four days.
Helping To Take Off “Baby Weight”
There’s more good news: breastfeeding can help you lose some unwanted pounds you took on during your pregnancy, although the significance of this weight loss is debated by health care professionals. This is a natural process that happens over several months. When your body produces breast milk for your baby it is burning extra calories and helping you lose the weight gained during pregnancy.
Possible Protection Against Certain Diseases
Some studies show that long-term breastfeeding (between six and 12 months) might also have a positive effect on the health of the mother. It can reduce the risk of developing breast cancer, ovarian or uterine cancer.*
Oxytocin also allows for better bone remineralization postpartum, reducing your risk of osteoporosis after your body goes through menopause. This bone disease affects one in three women over the age of 50.
The Happiness Effect
Oxytocin promotes relaxation when released in the body. While breastfeeding, you also secrete endorphins, the famous "happy hormone".
* Breast-feeding: ESPGHAN Committee on Nutrition, Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition, 2009, ESPGHAN.