Yep, there’s more to it than a new mom’s boobs getting bigger.
Your favorite group of guys is back, and this time they’re trying to explain one of the many things women can do that they can’t: breastfeeding. Sure, they might not be able to produce milk for a little one. But they should still know the basics, so they’re prepared when the women in their lives need to do so.
The first misconception we need to bust: that a breastfed baby will grow up smarter. While there’s no link between intelligence and nursing, we have to cut the guys some slack because that is a common misconception.
The antibodies in breast milk can, however, boost a baby’s immune system, giving them additional protection from viruses, asthma, allergies, sudden death infant syndrome (SIDS), and more, says Navya Mysore, MD, primary care provider at One Medical.
Along with all of these benefits for baby comes a cheaper monthly bill for mama because she doesn’t have to buy formula. Plus, the hormones women release when they nurse may help relieve stress and be less susceptible to postpartum depression, suggests one study.
So how long should new moms breastfeed? Mysore says the recommendation is to exclusively breastfeed for six months after birth and then begin to mix solid foods into the baby’s diet following that mark. You can continue to do some breastfeeding for up to two years if it’s right for you and your baby, she adds.
Breastfeeding is different for everyone, and there’s no reason to be down on yourself if you and your baby struggle with it. You brought a bundle of magic into the world, and whether breastfeeding is in the cards for you or not, that’s the most special thing of all.