Written by contributor Katie Kimball of Kitchen Stewardship.

The WHO knows it. The AAP knows it. Even the formula companies have to admit that breastmilk is the healthiest food for infants.

Choosing to nurse your baby may mean the sacrifice of many hours in the rocking chair, but studies prove many health benefits for mothers who breastfeed as well.

Breastfeeding Mothers Have a Lower Risk of:

  1. Breast Cancer
  2. Ovarian Cancer
  3. Type 2 Diabetes
  4. Postpartum Depression

The Longer a Woman Breastfeeds, Her Risk Gets Even Lower for:

  1. High Blood Pressure
  2. High Cholesterol
  3. Cardiovascular Disease

Initial Postpartum Advantages Include:

  1. Inducing Uterine Contractions (to restore uterus to proper size)
  2. Decreasing Postpartum Blood Loss

And it Just Feels Good:

  1. Breastfeeding releases oxytocin, a hormone which makes women calm, relaxed, and a little bit foggy on the details of life, which could protect from stress or could be…um…searching for the right word…um…bad. Like if you’re trying to write coherent sentences. (Did I mention I’m nursing a newborn right now?)

Who wants the prize for longest total time breastfeeding? How many years have you nursed babies?

Sources: Women’s Health, U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, U.S. Breastfeeding Committee

Disclaimer: Yes, I know, plenty of women cannot nurse for a variety of reasons. This post is not meant to make them feel badly, judge their circumstances or comment on their situation in any way.