Being pregnant is exciting, but it also comes with many uncertainties. What will your day-to-day routine look like once your little one arrives? And how will you feed your baby?

Many expecting mothers plan to breastfeed their babies. It’s not always easy at first — breastfeeding can feel a lot like a new dance, and both you and your new little partner must learn the routine. Once you’ve mastered the rhythm, there are lots of benefits for you and your baby.

5 Advantages of Breastfeeding Your Baby

1. It’s Free

From diapers to car seats, there are many expenses that come with having a baby. If you’re looking for ways to save during your newborn’s first year, breastfeeding is a great option. Families who regularly breastfeed may be able to reduce feeding expenses by up to $1,500 in the first year alone.

While feeding directly from the breast is free and requires no equipment, you may want to consider pumping if you need to be separated from your baby for an extended period of time. But this expense may be covered for you, too. Under the Affordable Care Act, health insurance plans must cover the cost of breast pumps, and provide support and counseling services if you need assistance with breastfeeding.

2. It’s Always Available

Recent formula shortages caused tremendous stress for parents relying on it to feed their babies. Many couldn’t find the right brands or types — or sometimes any at all. Even without a formula shortage however, having breast milk ready 24/7 is convenient. For parents who are able to breastfeed, the ability to do so on an ongoing basis can provide peace of mind.

Your breasts and biology will produce milk based on your baby’s needs. The more you breastfeed, the more your supply will respond to required feeding levels. Unless you have a medical issue that affects your milk supply, you should be able to provide enough milk to feed your baby consistently.

3. It Saves Time

Once you and your baby get into a consistent feeding routine and a good latch has been established, you’ll find that breastfeeding can be the quickest way to nourish them. Bottle feeding, for example, relies on the use of dishes which requires sterilization — and all of that cleaning can take time.

Since you’ll be busy caring for your new baby (and trying to rest!), it’s helpful to make your routine easier in any way that you can. Unless you’re pumping, breastfeeding requires no extra dishwashing. You also won’t need to pack bottles and formula when you go out with your baby, which saves time when you’re getting ready.

4. It May Help Reduce Breast Cancer Risk

Breastfeeding can reduce your risk of developing breast cancer, especially if you breastfeed for more than a year. Producing milk helps to reduce abnormalities in breast tissue cells. It also leads to fewer periods, which can lower estrogen levels and may help to further reduce breast cancer risk.

5. It Meets Your Baby’s Health Needs

Breastmilk can meet your baby’s complete nutritional needs for the first few months. As your baby grows, your breastmilk will change to continue to supply various powerful antibodies, vitamins, and minerals. Babies who receive breastmilk may be less likely to have ear infections, obesity, and asthma, for example.

When you’re looking for the best medical care for your baby, turn to YourTown Health. We offer personalized women’s healthcare as well as pediatric care for children of all ages. To find your nearest office, visit our locations page, or contact us online.