If you're still on the fence about whether or not to breastfeed your baby, let us attempt to sway you. Sure formula-fed babies aren't as dependent on mom and both parents can share the feeding time. But nursing your little one has a serious leg up on nourishing your baby by bottle. Here are some of our favorite reasons to breastfeed:
There's a reason you see photos of newborns passed out hard after eating. It's called tryptophan, the same amino acid present in turkey that has grandpa asleep right after Thanksgiving dinner. According to research out of the University of Notre Dame, this substance spikes in the evening, just in time for lulling your little one to bed. Mother Nature sure knows what she's doing, right?
The research is in and breastfeeding moms get more hours of sleep each night than their formula-feeding counterparts. Sure, you're getting up in the middle of the night, but you won't have to pour, prep and warm a bottle. You can even pull that sweet baby of yours into bed with you while he or she eats – just be sure to pop them back into the crib before you drift off. One 2007 study claimed that breastfeeding moms got 40-45 minutes more sleep than those who formula fed. When you're rousing every two hours with baby, every minute counts!
Breastfed babies are by and large healthier than those fed by formula. A study by the National Institute of Environmental Health Services found that breastfed babies have a 20 percent lower risk of infant mortality. Breast milk passes antibodies on to babies, offering some protection against illness and disease.
New research is suggesting that breastfed babies have higher IQs. One such study of more than 17,000 babies studied from birth to 6.5 years found that those nourished by breast had higher intelligence scores than those fed by formula. A similar report published earlier this spring in the Lancet showed that breastfed babies had greater intelligence later in life – and even went on to earn higher incomes as a result.
When it comes down to the dollar, breastfeeding always wins. While nursing doesn't cost a penny, formula-feeding can cost parents an upwards of $1,733 for the first year.
While no one can make the decision for you – and there are plenty of reasons why you may choose to formula feed – all signs point to echoing that famous line: For new moms and their little ones, breast is most often best.