August was declared National Breastfeeding Month by the United States Breastfeeding Committee.

You may have noticed recently that breastfeeding is a controversial topic, as mothers are expressing their right to publicly breastfeed. Mothers who are able to breastfeed want to do what their bodies are intended to do rather than hide in the shadows just to satisfy others.

Of course, we recognize that not all women are able to breastfeed for a variety of reasons. Many confront lactation issues like insufficient milk supply or pain, lack of access to healthcare, insufficient maternity leave, or inflexibility in the workplace once returning from leave.

However, if breastfeeding your newborn is an option, here are a few ways you and your new baby will benefit.

It's healthy for the baby…

Breast milk contains nearly a perfect mix of vitamins, protein, and fat that aids in the growth of your baby. The antibodies that are in your breast milk also help your baby fight off viruses and bacteria that he or she might become exposed to.

It helps form a bond between mother and baby…

Nothing brings you closer than skin-to-skin contact with your mini. Physical closeness and eye contact help your baby feel secure. When you are breastfeeding, your baby is being held while feeding instead of learning how to hold their own bottle— this forms a bond early on that lasts years to come.

It releases oxytocin in your body…

Oxytocin, known as the “mothering hormone”, “anti-stress hormone”, and “love hormone” is released while breastfeeding. It is what allows your baby to get the breast milk from your breasts in the first place. This hormone increases relaxation and reduces stress and anxiety. On top of those wonderful benefits, Oxytocin helps the uterus shrink back to its normal size after childbirth.

Fun fact: Oxytocin is also released during physical intimacy or orgasm.

It may boost children’s intelligence...

There are fatty acids in breast milk that contribute to a boost in your baby’s intelligence. A study of almost 4,000 children showed that babies who were breastfed scored higher on vocabulary tests at age 5 compared to the children who were never breastfed. And the longer they had been nursed the higher scores they received.

If you still can’t see why breastfeeding is so important to our society, take a look at the list again. After all, this is about nurturing our future generations and it all starts from the second we are born.