This week, we’re featuring an amazing infographic created by Jenny at MomLovesBest. This is the ultimate breastfeeding resource – 111 benefits of breastfeeding! Look no further for motivation to breastfeed and answers to any question you might have about breastfeeding your baby.
111 Benefits of Breastfeeding and Why We Need to Know Them
It should be simple, right? But for something that is so natural, breastfeeding throws one curveball after another to new moms. Just when you think you may be getting the hang of it, a new problem or challenge presents itself.
Because breastfeeding isn’t as simple or straightforward as we would expect it to be, moms like us need help and encouragement for when we feel like giving up. If you have moments when you feel like buying a can of formula and calling it a day, it helps to remember why you chose to breastfeed in the first place.
MomLovesBest.com has created a breastfeeding resource that highlights 111 benefits of breastfeeding. On rough days when your nipples feel like they might actually be on fire, this material can be enough to keep you moving forward toward your goal of exclusively breastfeeding your baby.
When you feel like giving up, you’ll be able to remind yourself of all the wonderful health benefits breastfeeding offers both you and your child. You’ll be reducing cancer risks for both of you, and safeguarding your hearts. As a new mom, the only time you want to worry about your heart is when you wonder how it can possibly contain all the love you feel when you look at your newborn baby.
In addition to health benefits, you’ll learn how breastfeeding impacts every aspect of your life — from finances to even the health of your planet. Just knowing these benefits might strengthen your commitment to breastfeeding. And sometimes a little extra motivation is all you need to reach your goals.
About Jenny from MomLovesBest
Jenny is just another Mom trying to do her Best. She loves organizing things into lists and helping others find what they are looking for. When she’s not using her powers to find her kids missing socks, you can find her blogging on everything from breastfeeding advocacy to actionable parenting tips at MomLovesBest.com
Four great breastfeeding positions, suitable for newborns and beyond.
These breastfeeding positions allow you to breastfeed comfortably. Lying down and laid back in particular are great so a mom can rest as well while nursing her baby.
Cradle Hold: Your baby’s will be on his or her side, facing your chest. His or her head will rest on your arm, and your forearm will gently support your baby’s back. A pillow is helpful, especially with smaller babies, but not a necessity.
Lying Down: Mother and baby lie down together, facing each other. This is a very restful position and can even allow mom to doze or sleep while nursing her child, so it is a particularly useful position at night (remember safe co-sleeping considerations if you will sleep with your baby).
Football Hold: An excellent alternative to the cradle hold if your baby has trouble latching, or if you had a c-section because it positions your baby away from the incision. In the football hold, the baby’s torso is tucked under your arm with his legs pointing behind you. Pillows can help bring his mouth up to the correct height to latch comfortably for a feed.
Laid Back: The laid back breastfeeding position is also referred to as Biological Nurturing. The mother lays back against pillows so she is slightly inclined. Her baby will lay against her chest. Gravity holds the baby in place so mom and baby can relax. This is a good position if you have an overactive letdown or a baby who is prone to reflux after feeding because it gives them better control over the flow of your breast milk.
What worked for you?
I hope this overview helps you find a breastfeeding position that is comfortable for you and your child. Which position is your favorite? Mine is lying down! Share your experiences or questions in the comments below.
Looking for breastfeeding tips and support? This might help!
I’ve had a few requests to share a lactation granola recipe, based on the popularity of my lactation granola bars. I’ve always loved making granola, but it wasn’t something I made specifically for lactation. So, I bought a ton of oats and got to experimenting in the kitchen!
My standard recipes were pretty lactation-friendly, with galactagogues like the oats, flaxseed meal, nuts, and wheat germ. I had not tried Brewer’s Yeast in granola before, though, so I set out to make granola that would pack a big milk-supply-boosting punch.
Experiment with ‘Mix-ins’
It took a few tries, but once I got the basic recipe down, I had fun trying different mix-ins for variety. I used mini chocolate chips in one batch and I can only say WOW. After three days of snacking I found the whole batch was gone. My milk supply was great… but not sure I needed to eat that much chocolate in just 3 days.
Below is my favorite combo that is also fairly healthy and wallet-friendly. Truth be told, pecans in granola are my absolute favorite. But pecans are more expensive than other nuts so I can’t justify eating them all the time! I’ll also note here that I really recommend using rolled oats (not instant) – this will get you the most satisfying crunch, as well as the best lactation-boosting benefit. (Disclosure: this recipe contains affiliate links.)
Lactation Granola Recipe
3 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup chopped or slivered raw almonds
1/2 cup raw walnut pieces
1/2 cup shredded coconut
3 tbsp flaxseed meal
2 tbsp Brewer’s Yeast
1 tsp salt
3/4 cup honey (or sweetener of choice)
1/2 cup vegetable or coconut oil
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1-2 cups of raisins (or dried fruit of choice)
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
Combine oats, nuts, flaxseed meal, brewer’s yeast and salt in a large bowl
Combine honey, oil and vanilla in a small bowl, heat if needed to liquefy the mixture
Pour honey mixture over oat & nut mixture and stir well until everything is evenly coated
Spread mixture on a large baking sheet and bake 30-40 minutes, stirring occasionally
When the granola is golden brown, remove from oven and stir in dried fruit
Cool completely before storing
Don’t Be Afraid to Change it Up
The recipe above is my go-to, but like I mentioned above, you can experiment with all kinds of mix-ins. Some examples… I like adding a few tablespoons of chia seeds for extra crunch. Sometimes I use maple syrup instead of honey for a different overall flavor. Of course, you can try different nuts… pecans, hazelnuts, cashews, peanuts – they’re all tasty in granola.
I hope you enjoy this recipe, or it inspires you to make your own version of lactation granola. Let me know what you think in the comments below!
Not sure where to find Brewer’s Yeast? Click the image to buy! Check out my other popular lactation recipes:
When my son was born I sought support for my breastfeeding struggles and found excellent groups on Facebook and in person through La Leche League. After participating in these groups for well over a year, I’ve seen the common breastfeeding questions come up time and again. While answers to these questions are readily available on other sites like the fantastic and all-knowing Kelly Mom, I’d like to share my perspective here along with my personal experience.
Please note I am not a medical professional, and my goal here is to share my personal experiences rather than the scientific answers that are available elsewhere. In sharing my experience I hope other women can relate and perhaps have a more successful breastfeeding experience after learning what worked for me.
So, without further ado, let’s look at the typical concerns among breastfeeding moms…
10 Common Breastfeeding Questions, Answered
Do I have enough milk?
This question plagued me early on, although nearly all women do have enough milk. The best way to measure if your baby is drinking enough is to monitor their diaper output. At first I recorded each wet and dirty diaper on paper, and then started using an app to track it. This might seem obsessive to some, but it was easy to do and gave me huge peace of mind when I could easily look and see that his diaper output was normal. Find out about normal diaper output here.
My young baby is feeding constantly! Why is he always hungry?
This is a worry I hear from so many new moms, and I was concerned myself. I called my lactation consultant because my son was feeding so frequently. And then I learned about cluster feeding. His behaviour was totally normal! Cluster feeding is actually what helps build up your milk supply and it does not mean you don’t have enough milk.
My best advice is to get comfortable in your favorite breastfeeding position and just enjoy the quiet time with your baby. I didn’t think I would miss cluster feeding, but once he was older and feeding sessions were quick 5 minute affairs I did miss the longer stretches we’d spend together when he was cluster feeding. Since he tended to cluster feed every evening, I used it as a time to watch some tv.
I have cold/ flu/ upset stomach. Can I still breastfeed?
Yes, and you should! I am writing this while recovering from the flu, and I didn’t change our breastfeeding habits at all. Breast milk is an amazing liquid – by feeding during an illness you will actually share antibodies with your baby so if they do catch your ailment, the intensity and duration should be less. You cannot transfer a cold or flu through your breastmilk! (And yes, I wrote this while recovering from a flu that only I had – my son didn’t get sick).
What medicine is safe to take while breastfeeding?
This is another question I hear all the time. And, it is an important one to ask because many physicians don’t know which medications are safe during breastfeeding so it is important to be self-informed. There is an excellent database to check – Lact Med. You can also look up over the counter drugs to see if a painkiller or other medicine you’d like to take is safe while breastfeeding.
Can I drink alcohol and breastfeed?
There are huge myths around drinking alcohol around breastfeeding and ‘pump and dump’ is a common term as a result. Good news… you do not need to pump and dump! While drinking to excess will mean it is not safe to breastfeed your baby while you are intoxicated, you do not need to pump and dump because as the alcohol is metabolized out of your bloodstream it is also metabolized out of your milk.
In addition, a drink or two while breastfeeding is perfectly safe. A rule of thumb is, if you are sober enough to drive, you are sober enough to breastfeed. I found great peace of mind by having a glass of wine during an evening feed. This way my son was fed before I had consumed even a whole glass and then I knew I had a pretty long stretch of time to digest before he would need to be fed again. Check out these myths about breastfeeding and alcohol on Slate.
My nipples are chapped/ cracked/ bleeding. How can I treat them?
I want to share my top three favorite items for nipple pain, with affiliate links for easy shopping. First, lanolin cream. Lanolin helped heal and protect my nipples when they were chapped and cracked. It is perfectly safe to apply right before a feed and it offered a lot of protection. Second, hydrogel pads. I wore these between feeds and they were incredibly soothing, plus I think they helped my nipples heal faster. Third, Silverettes. I didn’t learn about these until I had been breastfeeding for over a year. Once I heard about them I thought they sounded like an interesting product but didn’t think I needed them. However, when my period returned my nipples became incredibly sensitive so I invested in a pair and they are wonderful to wear.
Silver has antibacterial and healing properties so they can be used in place of hydrogel pads. It is a bit of up front investment, but since I wear them at least a couple weeks each month it is totally worth it. They are also a product I can use for as long as I am breastfeeding, so I don’t have any qualms about the price. I strongly recommend Silverettes for any kind of nipple pain. Interesting note about them, they are pure sterling silver and made in Italy.
How can I get started with pumping so I have mik stored for when I return to work?
Many women are comforted by a larger freezer stash. My doula pointed out that when I returned to work all I really needed was enough milk for that day’s feed, since I’d pump enough for the next day at work. I didn’t want to cut it quite that close, but her words were reassuring and I only had about two bottles worth of milk stored in the freezer.
Going back to when to start pumping, I am personally very cautions about creating an oversupply by pumping too much or too early. I pumped a bit early on, but only to replace a direct feeding session. To start storing milk for my return to work, I would pump first thing in the morning when my breasts were fullest. I only stored about 2 ounces a day, but this added up over a couple of weeks to enough milk for my son while I was at work, with some to spare in the freezer.
What do the acronyms EBM and EBF mean? What’s an EPer?
This is a simple but useful one! EMB is expressed breast milk. EBF is exclusively breastfed. EP stands for exclusively pumping, so an EPer is someone who pumps exclusively to feed breastmilk to their child. This might be due to personal choice or latch issues that prevent direct breastfeeding.
What is typical breastfed baby weight gain?
My son has always been on the smaller side. He gained weight quickly at first but then his growth tapered off and even started dipping down below his growth curve. I realized that the best growth chart to follow for breastfed babies is the WHO chart. Once his growth was compared to the WHO charts I realized it was quite normal!
My baby won’t nurse! Is he weaning or is it a nursing strike?
I have dealt with several nursing strikes, mostly when my son was sick and it hurt to swallow (or at least I assume that was the reason because he had tonsilitis). A nursing strike might also come up if your baby develops a preference for the bottle. In most cases, especially before 1 year of age, but also well past that point, your child is most likely not weaning.
Nursing strikes are frightening and can be frustrating. My first happened before my son was on solids so I was panicked about him not getting any nutrition. My doctor eventually gave advice that helped get him back to the breast – skin-to-skin. In the meantime I pumped to keep supply and managed to get him to swallow a bit of milk by cup feeding. The skin-to-skin was almost like a reset and he resumed nursing after a few sessions. The other tip that worked wonderfully was to nurse him when he was very drowsy. I would nurse him just as he was waking up or falling asleep from a nap, and in this semi-conscious state he would feed, even if he had refused 15 minutes earlier while awake.
I hope these notes are helpful in answering common breastfeeding questions. What other questions do you have about breastfeeding, or how did you find solutions to some of these common issues? Leave a note in the comments below!
Interested in natural term breastfeeding, or breastfeeding longer than 6 months or a year? You might like…
Looking for a milk-supply boost? Check out my most popular lactation recipes…
Moms who breastfeed might not see their first period for some time after giving birth. (Mine returned when my son was about 15 months old). However, I started seeing signs that I might be getting my period soon when he was only 12 months.
The symptoms that I might start menstruating again were very similar to signs of pregnancy. I didn’t think I could be pregnant but I took a pregnancy test to check anyway!
Signs Your Period is Returning After Giving Birth
Acne – I am not prone to a lot of acne, but I do tend to break out before my period. That means I was acne-free all the way up until I started returning to a monthly cycle. I got my first pimple in over a year about two months before I actually got my period. I also dealt with acne on and off for those two months.
Cramping – This is a pretty typical event when you have your period, but in the past I never experienced cramping beforehand. Post partum, I now have cramps on and off for a couple of weeks before my period. .
Bloating – I was unpleasantly bloated for almost two months before my period actually arrived. Pre-pregnancy, bloating was something that lasted a couple of days before my period. Postpartum it goes on much longer!
Tender nipples – This was the thing that most made me think I might be pregnant before my period returned. Breastfeeding suddenly became incredibly painful, as I’ve heard it can be for pregnant women. I blamed my son at first but he was latching on wonderfully. My nipples were just incredibly sensitive. Once my period came and went, the nipple sensitivity went away. .
Dip in milk supply – I wasn’t sure I would notice this since I was not pumping at the time that my period finally returned. However, a couple of weeks before my period finally arrived I noticed that my breasts didn’t feel as full and my son nursed more often and for longer than usual. I have noticed this again in subsequent months and I seem to have a supply dip when I’m ovulating. My supply bounces back before my period (and then dips again – see below).
What to Expect from Your Period After Giving Birth
Heavy flow – Ok, this is not the most pleasant thing to write about but I’m going to be honest here. My periods postpartum have been much heavier than they ever were before I had my son. In the past, super tampons were accidentally acquired in multipacks and they sat in my medicine cabinet unused. Now I have to actively buy and use the super tampons...
Cramping – I mentioned this above – not only do I get cramps well before my period now, but cramping during my period is worse than it was before I gave birth. I was always lucky to have very light cramps. Now at least one day per cycle is spent in a lot of pain! .
Lower back pain – This is closely related to cramping, but it was something I never experienced before giving birth. Now, my period brings be bad cramps and lower back pain. Having my period just makes me want to curl up around a hot water bottle for days on end.
Tender nipples – This was a sign my period might be returning – I later realized my nipples are very sensitive around the time I am ovulating. Unfortunately, the pain returns again when my period arrives. This means I spend about two weeks of every month with a lot of discomfort when I breastfeed my son. .
Dip in milk supply – I wasn’t sure I would notice this since I was not pumping at the time that my period finally returned. However, during my period I notice that my breasts don’t feel as full and my son nurses more often and for longer than usual. Once my period ends my supply seems to bounce back – my son nurses less frequently and my breasts feel fuller at the start of each feed.
I have only had my period a few times now since giving birth – I am curious to see if some of these symptoms dissipate as my body readjusts. For example, I could really do without the nipple pain! I will be sure to update this post in the future once I have more experience.
How did your body react to its first period after pregnancy? Did your period take ages to return or was it back after only a couple of months?
Thanks for reading! You may also like these articles: