* The hormone oxytocin is responsible for uterine contractions, and is stimulated by your baby sucking at your breast. Breastfeeding therefore helps your uterus to return to its normal size more quickly after the birth of your baby, and your lochia (blood loss after birth) flows faster and is completed more quickly.
* The hormone prolactin is secreted during breastfeeding making the mother feel calm and peaceful, and a baby who is growing well solely on his mother’s breastmilk gives a great sense of satisfaction and achievement for the mother.
* Again, if breastfeeding is pleasurable then a mother is more likely to be relaxed and calm – creating a pleasurable experience at home for any other siblings and partner relationships.
* Exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months (and no longer than 4 hours between each feed) provides protection against pregnancy. Many women across the world use breastfeeding as a tool for spacing children.
* Pregnancy weight is lost easily as breastfeeding uses up fats stored in the body. An amazing 500 kcal per day!
* In later life, women who have breastfed are less likely to develop cancer of the breast and ovaries and are also less likely to develop osteoporosis.
* It is more convenient to breastfeed, with no washing up and sterilising bottles and teats and no preparation of feeds. Breastmilk comes served at the right temperature!
* Breastmilk is available instantly, there’s no hungry screaming baby waiting for a bottle to warm, and a lot less stress for you!
* Holidays and travel are much easier – with a little preparation a breastfeeding mother can breastfeed anywhere without embarrassment.